The following is a continuation of the translation/summary of Hebrew Maariv article by Sherry Makover-Balikov where the journalist interviews Rabbanit Bruria Keren and her followers.
Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII
To view all posts on the subject at once click the label hyper-tzniut.
The reporter quotes the Rabbanit telling her followers:
A righteous teacher came to school with a shawl on her head in addition to a scarf and hat. They asked her why she is so “tzanua” (modest), and she said that a great rabbi told her, “My daughter, when you see women on the street covered from head to toe, you will know that the Messiah is at the door.”
The Rabbanit has 50 followers in Beit Shemesh, about 70 in Geulah in Jerusalem [my friend in Beit Yisrael says that she knows of three face-coverers in her neighborhood, and one in Geulah. But clearly not all of the followers cover their faces–yet.], and dozens more in Tzefat, Beitar and the Haredi section of Elad [too close to home for me]. They “speak to Hashem” each night and recite Psalms, are careful to eat healthy food and rarely go out.
They dress their daughters in “redidim” [this could mean veils, capes, or shawls, but usually means veils in this context] but only married women cover their faces. They are quiet in the presence of men and communicate with the outside world through the husband. They meet at the Rabbanit’s house once a week, a different group each time, but they all get together on Erev Rosh Hodesh (the eve of the new moon) and other holidays. They have prayer evenings.
The reporter describes how Keren’s followers congratulate a woman who put on a veil a week ago. The woman tells how her husband doesn’t approve, the neighbors point and a Haredi man, who turned out to be her small son’s rebbe, shouted and threw fruit at her. Her son, who was with her, started to cry.
The rabbanit is upset that someone would waste food, but proclaims that “insults are a gift.”
One woman’s husband’s tires were cut. Another’s neighbor wrote on her mailbox, “Expel the Taliban.” A young woman says people mistake her for an Arab.
Rabbanit Keren has ten children and works as an alternative therapist. A large number of women make a living by selling organic food and nutritional supplements. “Modest women are clean inside and out.” One woman says the Rabbanit saved her child’s through an herbal concoction she prepared him. He began to breathe on his own despite having already been connected to an oxygen tank.
“I speak to God, and He gives me the strength to help others,” explains the Rabbanit. “Once I gave a lecture in a small hall. There were a few women wearing wigs instead of scarves. I stopped speaking and privately asked Hashem to give me strength, to help them repent. I began to speak in praise of covering one’s head and face. Hashem helped and a commotion began in the hall. Women got up from their chairs, cried and threw off their wigs. One woman had brought hers in a bad and burned it in front of everyone. Women wrapped their bodies in an additional cape and shawl.”
I hope you are not expecting any brilliant comments from me. I am speechless. To be continued. . .