I was walking near Columbia University one morning, and saw a woman wearing a T-shirt that said “Real Men Marry Doctors.” I said to myself, “I need to make that for rabbis!”…so I did!
I wanted to soil them for $15, and in order to do that, I needed to sell at least 15 of them. I passed an email around just to friends, and asked them to send it to people that they thought would be interested. For the first round, we sold 29 shirts. When people saw them, the idea spread like wildfire. Within days, I sold another 47! Now it has been posted on listservs around the country.
Of course the shirt is empowering to young female rabbis (and rabbinical students), particularly single ones, who feel that even though their schools welcome them with open arms, they’re still breaking into a male-dominated profession. The slogan helps to normalize the idea of marrying a woman who also happens to be a rabbi, If she’s an already-married female rabbi, the slogan on the shirt validates the choice her husband has made.
The shirt was intended for heterosexual women, but i love that it also works for gay men. I’ve heard jokes about making a spin-off that says “real rabbis marry men” (changing the use of the verb “marry,” and the message of the T-shirt), but that’s another story.