Of course, women should dress modestly. That’s the wish of their orthodox husbands. As soon as they have been chosen by a „matchmaker“, or found their groom in one of the „shidduch“ online portals or had been successful in courtship displays, or stood under the chuppa, they must cover their hair. Because if not, it could attract delirious glimpses. Which is strictly granted for their husbands only.
But women like to be attractive, with hair or without it.
To make the best out of it, there are two options: to cover their own hair, or the shaved head with a wig, or to choose the „tichel“.
Wigs are expensive, if made of genuine hair. But they fulfill all personal perceptions of the owner. Black as Rihannas hair, fair as Helene Fischer, red as Milva, brown or ice-grey as Dalia Lavi was once and is now. It can be short or long, curly or straight. Wigs made of genuine hair are expensive, up to € 2.000. They require regular care and last about four years. Artificial wigs cost much less, are easier to care and long-lasting.
Most of them look so authentic, that male desires remain unchanged. Perhaps (orthodox?) men should change, to control their lowly desires? Instead of glimpsing through fingers, when they see an attractive woman passing by?
The late sephardic chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, s.l., put a ban on wigs, explaining that substituting own hair with a wig would not solve the problem. Sephardic women nowadays prefer the „Tichel“, a hat or any other hair cover which suits modesty. Ashkenasi women rather prefer wigs.
Women in publicity should not sing, not raise their voice, not talk to men. Preferably they are invisible.
Also the shape of the body must be hidden from curious glances. Neck, throat, elbows, as well as legs must be hidden. In Mea Shearim, the quarter of the Ultra Orthodox Jews, all entrances to the neighborhood, give warnings how women, especially female tourists, must be dressed, if they want to stroll through the former picturesque and now completely slummed streets.
A group of ultra orthodox radical women tries to obey all requests from their husbands and even more: to refuse all fashion frenzy, by strictly upgrade it to a pseudo halachic needs.
You see them scamper through the streets like bodiless shadows, sometimes along with one or more little copies, you might believe being in Afghanistan or in Saudi Arabia. Shapeless creatures, trying to make themselves invisible but attract attention by doing so.
Women in those Islamic states are forced into this disguise by sharia, the de facto law. While People around the world fight for their rights and for the equality of men and women.
But women in Israel, in this wonderful democratic country, with full equality of men and women since the very first day of the state, where most of single women serve in the IDF, a country with the same wages for women and men, with cultural and ethnical diversity and many beautiful women. What made them to disfigure themselves?
They are called „Taliban women“ and belong to a small, radical and anti-Zionist sect, which spread from Beit Shemesh to Jerusalem and Sfad.
2008 a mother of 12 children from Beit Shemesh became well known, when she was brought to court. She was punished with four years after being convicted of child abuse and child neglect. Her husband was convicted of denial of assistance. The fact that 11 of the 12 children went to court to get a better verdict for her mother proves a high grade of psychological addiction.
During the last years more and more cases of mistreatments of children and incest have been discovered. Children did not receive any medical treatment needed to survive. Task forces have been formed in Beit Shemesh and Jerusalem to survey the small group of the Taliban women after the number of complaints increased.
Should one of this women, which rarely happens, leave home, they dress up with several layers of clothes, to make sure not a single, tiny piece of skin might be seen. Their clothes include several full-length robes, a „shawl“ down to the hips and wide as a tent, covering head and shoulders and a veil, covering their faces. The shawl is called „Frumka“ due to its likeness to a „Burqa“.
Who wants to get an impression how it feels to be limited in movement when dressed up like this, should pull a big table cloth over his head. When walking straight on, one feels more or less secure, but when it comes to walk on steps or cross a road it is dangerous, every single step will be a challenge. And those women risk it on their little daughters as well!
Some days ago a Ynet journalist managed to live undercover with those women for some days. When she was detected, she had to call for the police to rescue her.
A real interesting glimpse inside the daily life of a Taliban woman was documented some years ago by the German online weekly „Spiegel online“ Please listen to the comment of her husband and read the last information in the video.
Husbands oft the Taliban women might not always be too happy with this kind of religious masquerade. They wish their wives to dress up in the modest way as they did for ages. These women achieve the contrary: whenever they are seen outside their home, they receive a high level of depersonalized attention.
Another aspect, which must not be neglected is the danger of terrorists hiding under this huge pile of clothes. In 2014 a Taliban woman walked toward the Kotel and was asked by border police to stop. As she went on walking they shot her in her legs and moderately wounded. She was harmless, but what, if she had been a terrorist?
It’s odd that this trend is based on the very same ideas and body of thoughts as the radical Islam and the Sharia. There is no connection with Thora and Judaism. Taliban women step back from Judaism, which is only committed to the laws of Tora and Halacha.
I wish to insist that the Taliban women are not members oft he mainstream orthodox Jews. On the contrary, they are strictly rejected by them.
Bracha Benhaim, a young haredi lady just finished her studies at an ultra orthodox seminary in Jerusalem and started a home-sale with self designed fresh, stylish and strictly according to Jewish law fashion. That’s exactly the way it can be!!
© esther scheiner, israel