07 April 2016

On Haredi Jews and Tzniut

Within Orthodox Jewry, the practice of respecting tzniut (modesty), is nearly omnipresent. Across Jerusalem, scattered among tour groups and secular residents are flocks of orthodox or haredi (ultra-orthodox) Jewish women and men, often segregated by gender, each donning specific attire for their activities: The men often wear suits with tzitzit (fringes) hanging from the front and back on each side of their plain-white button-downs, so that they may be prepared for the frequently recurring religious services, song sessions, and meals; whereas, the women wear comparatively simple, long, black dresses and sheitels (head-coverings), so that they may keep their bodies to themselves while they venture outside the home.

Of course, it may be simple to note the mere rigidity of Jewish gender roles (Still noteworthy: My discussion will address gender as binary, as it is often seen in these religious communities.), given my quest to discuss a religious and/or cultural belief and/or practice contrary to Western—often individualist—conceptions of human rights, but I will choose to focus on the female hair-coverings, and the reasoning behind them.