Tag Archives: modesty

Heinous or Harmless?

Read: Fury at Hasidic dress codes.

Do you think store owners have the right to go above and beyond the standard “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service”? Or is it totally their call – if they don’t want business from people wearing clothes that do not adhere to their own modesty standards, should that be their choice?


Swimwear for the modest woman

This week is my start to get back in shape week. Back to the gym, set up physiotherapy and start up at the pool. I joked on FB that it’s time to get out the shvimkleid. You know, those long sleeved and beskirted full cover swimsuits. I don’t own one, nor do I wish to. When I swim I will be swimming at my gym during ladies only swim times. Some women are strict even at such times, and will be covered head to toe and then some. If I am in the pool, and the lifeguard is female, and the other swimmers are female, I personally don’t feel the need to cover up. My black one piece is fine.

Will I cover my hair in the pool? If I do, it will be so that the chlorine doesn’t destroy the color.

Is there a need, in your opinion, to cover up in front of other women?

Modesty – for the entire family?

From the mailbox:

Dear HSM

I was at a Canadian indoor water park and saw a number of frum families where dads and sons were shirtless and in shorts frolicking while mom and daughters were in long sleeves, ankle length skirts, etc roasting and just wading their feet with shoes on.  Shouldn’t modesty be for the entire family?  The one family where the girls got wet, they were toddlers and fully dressed down to thick tights.

A Reader

I fully agree with you that modesty should apply to everyone in the family. This scenario is one I have come across myself a few times too. I cannot adequately explain what appears to be a double standard here – perhaps one of my learned readers can.

Being Shomer Negiah

We have discussed this subject on the blog many times, but Chaviva just posted on her blog the most amazing personal account of her acceptance of this mitzvah –it is well worth a read. Modesty, Shomer Negiah and Me.

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Posted for a reader.

You are a baal/at teshuvah (returnee to Judaism), and the rest of your immediate family are secular. You are the only religious Jew they know, and they see you as different and a little strange. Your little niece loves to spend time with you and your family at your house. She is 10.

How do you teach her about modesty and how to dress when she comes to visit you? How do you explain to her to bring clothing that covers her up at all times, without hurting her feelings? That it isn’t appropriate for her to be running around the house in short shorts and tank tops, especially when you are trying to raise your children to dress modestly?

Speaking to her parents apparently does no good as they have not been around religious people much and really think this whole religious idea about dressing modest is cultish and strange.

Your niece loves to visit, she enjoys the vibe in your home, and loves the ritual of Judaism that she sees. It is quite possible that due to her visits a spark could be ignited within her and she could follow your path towards observance.

Is this worth addressing, or will the child, as she grows older, learn that at her aunt and uncle’s house we dress differently, and she will do that in her own time?


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What is wrong with people?

Why do they have to stare? Truth is – you do feel different if it’s a member of your own sex staring at you, rather than the opposite sex. I was on the bus coming home from a fruitless shopping trip (I walked for 2 hours there, and around, and I caved and took the bus home. So sue me). I was dressed in my funkified way – ok fine, let me take a pic….the picture doesn’t show the pigtails so well, but they are there. I am actually wearing leggings as well as a skirt, pink Betty Boop socks and good sneakers. Everything that is supposed to be covered is covered.

This Jewish woman comes on the bus, and by the way she is dressed she looks outwardly more religious than I am. I caught her looking at me, and I chose not to notice. I looked up perhaps 40 seconds later and she is still staring at me. Why? Obviously because I am cute, right, and totally dressed tzanuah, and she is so impressed by the way I combine my modesty with my sense of flair…. Yeah. Right. Somehow, that just doesn’t ring true.

I stared back at her to make her look away. She didn’t. I raised my eyebrow at her, shook my head, and just ignored her. Staring is so darn rude. I wanted to be rude back and stick my tongue out at her. But I was brought up better than that! What does she think, that she is better than me? I really wanted to ask her why she was staring….but chickened out.

What would you have done / said?

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Minhag HaMakom – Modest Dress and Hair Covering

Literally “the custom of the place”. I think this is the Jewish equivalent of “when in Rome do as the Romans do”.

Can we apply this to dressing modestly and hair covering? If you are married and don’t cover your hair, and perhaps dress more modern that your chareidi (ultra religious) cousins – if you go to a chareidi  event like a barmitzvah or wedding – will you make an extra effort to blend in by dressing appropriately? If you know that 95% of the women there are wearing hats or wigs, will you cover you hair too out of respect? Do you think this is asking too much?

When I go to the boys’ yeshiva I always dress more covered up than I usually do. I make sure I have sleeves to my wrists, my skirt is way past my knees and I don’t go in bare legged. Even though I might dress differently outside, when I visit the school I am respectful of their sensibilities. Some people say this is hypocritical. I say it is common courtesy. What do you say?

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Tznius Question

Why is it that it seems more tzanuah (modest) to wear thin tights / pantyhose under a skirt, than to wear jeans or sweat pants under the same skirt? I would be so much warmer wearing my jeans underneath and they don’t cling quite as much as panty hose does. Up here on the frozen tundra we need to stay warm.

I know, it’s probably the whole begged ish (men’s clothing) thing with the trousers, which personally I do not completely agree with especially as these days women’s trousers are made specifically for them which in my opinion totally negates the begged ish argument. I won’t wear pants by themselves out of the house due to tznius (modesty) issues, but why can I not wear them under my skirt to walk to the local store?

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Oh Hush Your Mouth!

I know that having a blog under my own name is a double edged sword. I know that including my email address on my blog is sometimes a blessing and sometimes a curse. It gives people the ability to moralize at me at will. My twitter page leads to my blog, so if someone wants to find me after seeing a tweet, they can.

I tweeted this morning – “I wish there was a way to get all my make up [on] in 30 seconds….I so cannot be bothered this morning BUT i look like drek warmed over.”

Cue email. Apparently this person has been following my life thru twitter and the blog. She (he?) seems to think that when I am not in the same city as my KoD it is wrong for me to wear make up and make myself look pretty. It’s acceptable for me to get ausgepitzed (tarted up) when he is around because he will benefit. Furthermore, the fact that I want to look nice when he isn’t around apparently is a reflection on my terrible morals – that I want other men to look at me. I guess I should be thankful I didn’t mention the stiletto heeled boots and short skirt I was planning to wear.

So let me get this straight. When our husbands are out of town we have to look awful. We only wear make up and nice clothing for our husbands. We don’t do it for ourselves. We don’t do it so that we can have good self esteem and feel positive about who we are. No. We belong to our husbands and have to bend to their will. Every breath we take is sanctioned by them. Wait, am I even allowed to breathe when KoD isn’t around, or do I have to ask him first? Hang on a sec, where the heck did I put my burka?!

Do me a lemon!!

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Dressing to teach in religious schools

In my boys’ school there is a dress code for the teachers. The female teachers have to cover elbows and collarbones, and knees. No trousers / only skirts etc. I have no problem with that, I have no clue how they enforce it if they do. But that’s what it is.

Some other schools insist that the Jewish female teachers who are married have to cover their hair on school property during school hours even if it is not their personal custom to do so. The non-Jewish married female teachers do not have to. Is this taking things too far?

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