Jewish Face-Covering Women Request New School

Photo via Hadrei Haredim

Jewish women with veil pushes strollerI had hoped that with the arrest of Bruria Keren, the trend of face-covering among Jewish women would die out. But according to the website Hadrei Haredim, a growing group of women consider face-covering to be halacha (Jewish law) and convince others to follow. These women can be found in Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem and Elad.

Hadrei Haredim also reported that the religious court of the Edah Charedit in Jerusalem has received several requests by husbands to rule against the veils, which the wives wear without their approval.

It appears that at least some of the husbands  support their wives on this issue, because twenty families in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet have threatened to pull their children out of the cheder (charedi boys’ elementary yeshiva) because the wives of the rebbes (rabbi-teachers) do not wear veils and presumably set a bad example.

There are reports of girls not able to attend high school because they are harassed over the veils, and of very young girls with their faces covered.

Hat tip: Rafi of Life in Israel.


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  1. This is getting more than worrying. How can these women justify such insanity?

  2. Ilana-Davita,
    When men stretch the halachic parameters of tsnius far beyond anything that is required, there will be women who are pushed over the edge, and in their freefall this type of face covering seems perfectly “normal” to them rather than insane. Why should this be considered any more insane than the rabbi here in the NY region who was pondering whether or not women should be allowed to answer the phone as a matter of tsnius?

  3. observer says

    Are these reports substantiated? I have no way to know what goes on in Israel, so if you tell me that this is not speculation and rumor, I will believe it.

    But, I can tell you that there is no Rabbi in the NY area who has been trying to asser women answering the telephone. (Just because someone puts “Rabbi” in front of his name does not make him a Rabbi, so if some lunatic did bring this up, it proves nothing, not that I’ve heard this one.)

    • observer, good point. The article may have been edited, or even translated, by TT.

    • observer, I know a teen in NY who won’t answer the phone in case his sister’s friend calls. I don’t know if a rabbi told him to do it or not. At any rate, no one can possibly know what is happening in every shteibel in NY.
      You ask, “Are these reports substantiated?” I have no way of knowing whether this particular story is true. A reporter put his name to it on Hadrei Haredim. My impression is that we on the outside learn only a portion of some of the things that happen in the very closed communities.
      People were skeptical about Bruria Keren, and the story turned out to be even worse than was reported.

  4. MIL – is that a real photo from Israel in the post?

  5. I actually thought to check my calendar when I read this one — are you SURE it isn’t really from Rosh Chodesh Adar? 🙁

    Somehow, though, I think this has as much chance of catching on as the “burka women” fad.

    By the way, didn’t the Torah tell us that Yehuda had no idea how his daughter-in-law looked because she put on a veil as the prostitutes did? In other words, it was prostitutes and not nice Jewish girls who wore veils. Hmmmm.

    • Prostitutes wore veils. This is correct. They covered themselves for two reasons. One, for anonymity and two, to look like a bride – as in “a bride for hire”. These foolish women who cover themselves like this are not being modest – they are dressing like Biblical prostitutes.

  6. If wives wear these burkas without their husbands’approval, and the husbands are against this practice, shouldn’t some compromise be made in the name of shlom bayit? Do these women hold tzniyut higher than a happy relationship with their husbands?

    As for the shunning of schools and families because the wives will not adopt this practice, shame on them! If you yourself want to dress a certain me’al u’me’ever (above and beyond) way, and your family is in agreement, go right ahead. But don’t coerce your neighbor into doing so.

  7. I thought there were clearly defined halachic rules of modesty which have not changed for at least a couple of centuries… please feel welcome to correct me if I’m wrong. As far as I know there has never been even a custom for Jewish women to cover their faces. To me this sounds like a dangerous, exaggerated and legalistic trend.

    • I had never heard of Jewish women covering faces… but i saw a movie one time called ‘King David’ ? i think it was based off the old testiment.. anyways i saw a women wearing a face cover there … so maybe it was a custom at one point. there is also a verse in the old testiment where a women veils herself… something like that … but i cant find it anymore…

  8. That’s very strange and worrying. I’m not sure how I missed that update. Thanks for sharing.

  9. observer says

    MII wrote “observer, I know a teen in NY who won’t answer the phone in case his sister’s friend calls.”

    Oh, come on, you are trying to extrapolate trends based on what a teen-ager does?! Even perfectly healthy teens can do some pretty drastic and extreme things – and then grow out of it. And, if a kid is having issues, it can take some very strange forms.

  10. observer says

    Wrms Anna T wrote “To me this sounds like a dangerous, exaggerated and legalistic trend.”

    How can you call this “legalistic” when there is absolutely no legal basis for such a thing? That there is no legal / halachik basis is not just my opinion, you know. In every substantiated case that I know of, where a halachik opinion was sought, the Rabbis involved came down completely against it.

  11. observer, I wasn’t trying to extrapolate anything. Like I said, I have no idea whether a rabbi told him to do it–of course he could have come up with it himself. Maybe it’s not relevant. My point was that there are a lot of extreme positions out there and one can’t say that it’s impossible that a rabbi said such a thing.

  12. observer says

    MII No one said that it’s impossible that a “Rabbi” said such a thing. But, the original claim is that there IS someone saying this in a general way – and this story does not show that at all. In addition, just because someone with the title “Rabbi” says something does not mean that this is anything that is anywhere close to the mainstream, or even the edges.

  13. I agree with you that this seems crazy. But let me just say, look at the modesty standards in the “National Religious” camp. Yes, the girls are wearing sleeves, but I don’t think we wore our shirts that tight in my non-Jewish high school in the 1970’s. I do think it’s fine to show your face, but if high school girls need to “fix” their eyebrows, something is going wrong. Modesty is becoming a byword for meeting social dress standards and is losing it’s meaning of downplaying the external beauty and not putting yourself forward. So maybe we should think about what these people are reacting to.

  14. ChanaRivka, no question that these woman, and the haredi leadership that focuses so much on dress, are reacting to the large number of women who don’t dress according to minimal haredi standards. Like I mentioned in the “Burka” post, they emphasize it so much that it’s no surprise that some women take it to an extreme.

  15. This is ridiculous and I dare say has no biblical basis. It seems like something acquired from one’s more conservative muslim neighbours. What’s next? A call for whipping women who wear pants? Modesty is indeed becoming a byword for increasingly trying to make women vanish from the public sphere. Women’s faces are no more obscene than those of men. If you think women should be reduced to mindless shadows, become a Wahhabi muslim.

  16. Errikkaa says

    Groups who perpetuate such fanatic & drastic modesty “laws” are way-way-way in the minority… It’s my humble opinion that they are a cult and should not be considered Torah-observant Jews. Non of the Gdolim had wives that wore burqkas… this trend is new craziness and not based on halacha or even minhag (tradition).

  17. Milhouse says

    The insanity is your dishonest coverage. You claim that “twenty families in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet have threatened to pull their children out of the cheder because the wives of the rebbes do not wear veils”, and yet anyone who follows the link will see that there’s not a word there about veils. (You actually link to that same page twice, which isn’t exactly honest either, because it implies that there are two separate sources for your claims.)

    • Milhouse–the source mentions veils –re’alot–throughout the article. I stand by my translation.
      As for linking twice, perhaps it was messy but I by no means intended to imply two separate sources. That’s not the way I do things. I’ll remove one of the links.

      • After rereading I’m going to leave the links as they are. I referred to two different articles, and I want it to be clear which information is from which.

  18. Dangerous, not Jewish, but many things in chareidi life aren’t really Jewish.

  19. It is against the halach for a woman to cover her face as these woman do. A woman with a covered face could use this covering to go and do the most terible things as no one can see who she is.

    • I’ve gone n record here with my statement that there is nothing whatsoever in Halacha to encourage this practice. But on what basis do you claim that this is AGAINST halacha (other than a case where the husband objects, which could create a different situation)?

      Your complaint (which I understand) does not provide a halachik basis to prohibit the practice. Far from it, in fact.

  20. yes. Iam from Saudi Arabia and an Arab.I think Arabs and Jewish get mixed up in many ways. They are cousins that is why they have many things in common.Monothelists and they have similar traditions that have almost nothing to do with religeon.


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