Thursday, December 8, 2011

Not everyone is a "Taliban" Woman


The Israeli – haredi ” Site “Kikar Shabbat” is pointing out that our secular press is jumping onto the so - called Jewish “Taliban” Women in a way that no journalist seems to care about honesty and research anymore. Every one of them is running after headlines and wants to sell his article for as much money as he can. 

Usually the secular press tells us that the "Taliban" women are stupid, totally nuts and complete weirdoes. If not insane. But be careful: Mea Shearim has plenty of women wearing a shawl or extremely modest clothes but have nothing to do with the "Taliban" movement itself. I, for example, know such women from the Toldot Aharon, the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak, the Mishkenot Ha'Roim or the original Yerushalmim.

A young women from Mea Shearim / Jerusalem who has nothing to do with the "Taliban" Movement.

The young woman on the photo looks like a friend of mine dressing the same way. The first time we met was about three years ago through friends of mine in Mea Shearim. It turned out that A. (as I am calling her here) comes from South America, converted to Judaism and now lives with her husband and son in Mea Shearim. The couple joined one of the old Yerushalmi groups. Not an extreme group but a moderate split - off.  With friends and A., I went to the house of the Toldot Aharon Rebbitzen and, from time to time, we meet A. when she is returning to her home from the Synagogue on Shabbat.

For a long time, I have been planning an interview with A. because I am curious how a young woman from the outside is able to undergo such a change. Not a conversion but joining such a chassidic group and especially dressing in such a modest way. I need to add that A.'s group doesn't demand that kind of dress at all but A. does it because she wants to dress this way.  However, A. has left a great impression on us. She seems to be so happy with her life and lifestyle. It amazes us and because we can hardly believe it, we are curious how she is able to do manage all that.

So far, I haven't had the guts asking A. for an interview. Once I phoned her and asked her another question and the answer included the sentence that she has to ask her husband first. This was it: Ask her husband first. What if she, again, has to ask her husband first ? I guess I know his answer, as I spoke to him on the phone once where he left an extremely religious impression on me. Nevertheless, I will find an opportunity asking A. and hope she agrees. I would never mention her real name nor the chassidic group the small family joined but just ask how she deals with the daily Mea Shearim life.

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