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post #41 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelilah View Post
Another question: Covering hair. Who does it? What do you get out of it? Any non-Orthodox wives who do it, and to what extent?
I'm the cantorial soloist at a reform congregation, and I cover my hair. In the interest of full disclosure, I do not cover all the time, and I've fallen out of it recently, though I would say I cover 75% of the time now (I was covering full-time this summer, though - not sure why it's so hard right now). I think it goes with my dressing modestly, which I've done since my conversion. Even now, when I don't cover, I still dress modestly, though in the summers I've got a few shirts that come TO the elbow but don't cover it.

I grew up orthodox Catholic, though, so covering and modesty was something I was raised with (though Jewish standards are a bit different). For me, it just meant replacing my pants with skirts, and covering whenever I was out (instead of just in Mass, which I did as a child). I transitioned gradually, and I give myself lots of leeway. The most uncomfortable part for me was how many people in my congregation comment on the way I dress - many of the older women think I'm "going backwards," and don't want to hear that I'm being a very good reform Jew - I'm taking mitzvot that have meaning to me and holding myself accountable for them. Many of our women were forced as children or young wives to do these mitzvot and have a visceral reaction to them, so it makes being a leader in the congregation interesting.
post #42 of 134
Hi Everyone,
Nice to meet you all.

I just tried posting, after writing a long message, and for some reason it disappeared into cyberspace.

Anywho, I do cover my hair. I started covering my hair when I was a little girl off and on. For no special reason, except it felt right. But, once I was married, (I'm divorced) I started covering my hair full time, which I continue to do. I even cover my hair when I sleep.

Have a wonderful day everyone, and I look forward to getting to know each of you.
post #43 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by princessoflove View Post
I even cover my hair when I sleep.
Welcome!
Can I ask what you cover with in bed? I try to cover even in bed during my "2 weeks off" but nothing stays on when I toss and turn.
post #44 of 134
Thread Starter 
I though the same thing about "polluting the mikvah" I'm glad that's not true.

I cover my head. I'm pursueing conversion in a conservative synagogue, having grown up with my secular jewish dad and non-religious mom. I'm not married yet, its more of a personal calling for me than a mitzvah at this point, I guess. I do plan to continue covering and maybe "step up" the covering when we get married, I'm not sure. I actually think part of the reason I feel this calling is because I am, for all intents and purposes, living as a married woman. all that lacks is the public commitment (vs our private commitments), and the state awknowledgement, and religious marriage. However, in my heart, I feel married, and I think this contributes to my "call" to cover my head. I do, however, hope that I will be able to "step up" my covering in some way, when we get married. I've thought about a sort of... last hurrah hair party with some girlfriends before DP puts on my wedding veil, and making a greater commitment to cover whenever I leave the house (though I do most of the time). Or perhaps making a commitment to covering all of my hair when I'm out of the house. I'm not sure what exactly, but I really want to have my wedding veil/veiling be a symbol of covering from that point on as a married woman. I'm not sure what, I have a little time to figure it out.

I also think that part of what contributes to my desire to cover has to do with history. I honestly think its a little strange that people (both genders) stopped covering their heads. It helps keep you cooler in summer, warmer in winter, and looks nice. It's easier on the hair.

I cover the top of my head in public. Sometimes at home. Always in front of strange men (and not strange men, but men who are neither DP, nor family (I don't always cover in front of my step-father. often but not always in front of cousins, uncles). Always in public. I don't worry as much about women seeing my hair (ie fixing a covering in an all women place), but I usually cover in all women places. It depends on my comfort level, and if its all women, and there is a reason to, (if it keeps falling off an impedeing my life), I'll take it off.

It is more than a thick-headband's worth of covering. I'm fine with sheer. I don't necessarily cover all my hair (rarely do I cover it all, because its too heavy when I pin it all up), nor my hairline. If it starts to slide back so that it looks like I'm not covering from the front, I'll go someplace private and redo it. My covering doesn't have to be obviously a religious covering, I wear a bandana often at work which almost everyone does (kitchen hygiene). usually I wear a large square scarf folded in half, sort of bandana style (tied in a knot under my hair). I don't usually cover my ears.

What do I get out of it? It's hard to describe what I get out of it spiritually.

Mundane side effects wise: my part never gets sunburned, I can easily cover a bad hair day, I look a little dressier (in my usual scarf, not a bandana), men don't cat-call, stare uncomfortably, or whistle at me. DP tells me they still stare, and notice my attractiveness, however, it is always more respectful, and not intruding or making me feel uncomfortable (even if I am in otherwise fairly immodest/sexy dress). Also, people in general treat me with more respect. It has started many an interesting conversation. To those "in the know" it marks me as Jewish.

To try to talk about what I get out of it spiritually... I feel more comfortable in my own skin, I feel more confidant, and adult, (I guess all these things aren't really spiritual that much). I feel like I'm doing what I should be. I feel self-concious about my uncovered head when I'm not covering, and at ease when I am. Therefore, I cover.

I hope that wasn't too long winded or boring.
post #45 of 134
That's really interesting and enlightening. Thank you!

I've been saying for ages that I need some hats. I have some bandanas. I think I'm going to make an effort to start covering my hair when I go out. I did it briefly in my first marriage and it was much like you say, Magelet. I really should get back into it. I've already cut out pants for the most part and am working on a more ladylike appearance, so this would be part of the same endeavor.
post #46 of 134
Thread Starter 
come join us over on the cover-ed girls or covering mamas or something like that tribe, a few pages back in spirituality.

and definitely get yourself some cute hats or scarves. It is SO much more fun to cover your hair when you have some cute things to choose from.
post #47 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by npl View Post
Welcome!
Can I ask what you cover with in bed? I try to cover even in bed during my "2 weeks off" but nothing stays on when I toss and turn.
A tikhel can stay on, if it's cotton or some other "clingy" fabric. Or a cotton beret-like thingy. I mean, it'll come off in the night, but it's right there, you can put it back on if you wake up and notice.

If it's a tikhel, just do a single half-knot at the nape of the neck.

I'd made DH a "sleep kipa" a long time ago, huge, really long on the sides and really loose, soft yarn (chenille, to be exact), but the kids sleep in regular (okay, "regular" to them is really big LOL) kipas.



Covering isn't so simple as it sounds, Mag. I cover, but have gone through a phase where I'm not so makhmir (strict) about every single part of my hair being covered (like, the scarf slides back, and I don't stress about the nape of the neck part being covered, like particularly nowadays, when I've cut my hair really short again and it's too much of a project to try and keep it all in). Am entirely sure that I'll get past this phase and go back to being neurotic about keeping it all under cover someday ... it feels more a spiritual choice the stricter I am about it, as opposed to an "identification" choice (and here it's all about labels and who/how you identify, unfortunately) as it feels when I let the sides and edges hang out.

If your soon-to-be-DH is really not interested in Judaism, you may find he's really not interested in your covering your hair, too. Unless he particularly likes to see you with stuff on your head.


Hoping it all becomes clear to you someday ...
post #48 of 134
*accidental double-post
post #49 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelilah View Post
Thank you so much, all of you, really. That was so helpful and enlightening!

I had no idea that a non-Jewish husband affected the issue. That's very interesting. I also didn't know there was so much flexibility; I figured that I *had* to do the full 12 days or I was, I don't know, polluting the mikvah or something. The trick with our situation is that my husband travels a lot for work, and we spend a lot of time apart already, so when we're together it's really precious and we can't do without it. We don't get too intimate anyway when I'm bleeding though, so if I could just immerse when I stop bleeding that would be a great step.

I think it would help me emotionally as well since any period I have now in my post-miscarriage life is going to feel like a painful failure and I'll need to be renewed. So yeah. I'm very interested. We're traveling back home now and I'll look up the local Chabad when I get there. Thanks again!

Another question: Covering hair. Who does it? What do you get out of it? Any non-Orthodox wives who do it, and to what extent?
Jewish women cover their hair when they are married. There is no halachic reason to cover before then.

If a Jewish woman becomes divorced, they should check with their rabbi (again, I recommend Chabad House) to determine the halacha about how they should hold according to their specific situation and why.

If you would like to contact my rebbitzin, her name is Hinda Langer and she is married to Rabbi Yosef Langer of S. Francisco. They run a CHABAD center there.

Again, if you are married to a non-jew, the status of hair covering may be affected. You will want to take this up with your local rabbi.

Kelilah, you are NOT polluting the mikvah by going before the min 5 days allotted for bleedign and the 7 days of no bleeding that follow. A woman may go to the mikvah for a variety of reasons at various times in her cycle, though she is commonly discouraged from going when she is bleeding for obvious reasons, both sanitary and halachic. But for you, you are not required to go at all. It is NOT a MITZVAH for a jewish woman married to a non-jewish man. Mitzvah meaning "commandment". So you will want to think about what you would like to do and then consult your local rabbi about how to do this in accordance with halacha.

For example, saying the prayer for immersion would be incorrect, and even, according to some, a blasphemy. So you may wish to avoid that. But that doesn't mean you can't compose your own prayer, on your own or with the help of your rabbi/rebbitzin that you can say upon immersion.

I do cover my hair. I also wear pants. I do not wear shirts to my elbow in the summer...I wear typical short sleeve shirts and dont' give it much of a second thought. I wouldn't show my shoulders, for example.

I do not dress in proacative ways, basically. I dress modestly and carry myself as a woman who is not interested in having an affair on my husband (which, obviously, I'm not). I find that this basically covers what is "right behavior" in my book and by my (and people much more learned that myself) interpretation of the halacha. I've found that a woman can be wearing a skirt past her knees and a shirt past her elbows, but if she is carrying herself in a flirtatious way or in a way where she obviously is looking for masculine attention, well then, it all kind of defeats the purpose. /shrug. And I've seen this a LOT!

As far as hair covering, I do not cover when I sleep. Nor do I cover at home, unless my home becomes a "public place" and this specifically means men coming over. People hold differently and some are more machmir, but this is the halacha. There are many books written about the subject and I highly recommend checking out one or more of them to get an understanding about the subject. Just so you know, I also feel that NOT covering is a totally valid ruling (which many prominent rabbis have made) interpretation of the law, as well. Though this is not how I have chosen to hold at this time. One of the reasons for that is that I feel I DO get so much out of covering my hair. It's a daily reminder of the dignity and responsibility I have as a Jewish woman to myself, my husband, my family and HaShem. But that is personal and may or may not feel the same for you. That's fine too.
post #50 of 134
Oops - I just realized, reading Jul's post, that I didn't clarify WHY I cover all the time, even at home.
It's logistics! Too many times when the doorbell rang when I was nursing, with my long hair loose, and I couldn't struggle it into a hat/tichel and cover baby, etc.
Now, I just consider it part of getting dressed!
As for covering at night, it's something I'm working on as I develop my observance of hilchos nidda, with an emphasis on the "working on". We hold (I don't think everyone does) that whilst nidda your dh shouldn't see anything another man shouldn't see. Wearing long pjs isn't hard, but the haircovering is, for some reason. But, being that the mitzva of tznius is one that I was drawn to, I try to be extra-careful.
I wish some other important mitzvos were as easy for me!
post #51 of 134
Hi all!

NPL, there are those tight-ish snoods that they sell for wearing under hats, etc. I think some of those coveryourhair.com type places have them. Maybe that would work? They're cotton with a bit of stretch but also less material. I think paulayoung.com also has 'turbans' which are basically tight cotton snoods. That might work for nighttime.

I do cover my hair, always out of the house. Mostly in the house, although not overnight. Here (we just moved to a very far-flung place) no one comes over to visit, so I don't really worry about that too much. 95% of the time I wear Israeli tichels (mitpachot). 4% of the time I wear baseball caps (I get the size M/L from The Gap so there's enough room for my big head and curly hair) and on the pony, I braid it and wrap a couple big scrunchies around, so you really can't see any hair. 1% of the time I wear my sheitel (wig) if I have something professional or social to go to and can't get away with anything else.

As for dressing, I do dress 'by the rules' although not some peoples' rules! (isn't that always the case?!). Long-ish skirts (past the knees), 3/4 or long sleeved shirts (although in the heat of summer here, over 90 farenheit, I have been known to wear an XL t shirt whose sleeves float around the elbow).

When I run, I wear a longer running skirt and a tech-t shirt (not cotton), and a baseball cap.

I find it's a constant process of re-evaluating, especially when the heat hits me like a brick wall and I am broiling hot. Then I do it because it's a mitzvah, not because it feels good, that's for sure.
post #52 of 134
Kelilah - Since you asked specifically for the experiences of non-orthodox women covering their hair I'm going to jump in here. For a long time (sometimes even now) I have felt uncomfortable on this thread because I do not hold to an orthodox interpretation of the halacha.

*Warning: personal experience here and I might be a little touchy*
I have felt that women coming from orthodox orientations really can't grasp how there can be any other meaning behind a mitzvah or commandment besides following the letter of the law - and by the letter I mean the letter of whichever Rav you follow.

Just because Mag or Kelilah is not halachically bound to observe, perform or keep a certain mitzvah doesn't mean it doesn't speak to her, or that she cannot find meaning in her act of performing whatever it is. Is it blasphemy? I don't know. For full disclosure, I am a tattooed, ex-pierced, motorcycle riding, modest dressing, kosher keeping, mikvah dunking, partially hair covered JEWISH woman. Is it blasphemy for me to go to the mikvah? Do I pollute the waters with my tattooed skin? Do I pollute the waters because the Conservative movement holds that the 7 day "minimum" is unnecessary and I consider myself to be a Conservative Jew? Is my conservative experience less valid than Sara's Reform experience because she holds more strictly than I do regarding covering? Or even less valid than an Orthodox woman's?

If you're interested, here's the PDF article from Rabbi Susan Grossman regarding the Conservative Rabbi's position on Taharat HaMishpacha.

Back to hair covering: I currently only cover for shul and home rituals (shabbat, etc). I do prefer that Jewish married women visiting my house for shabbat cover as well so I keep tichels and scarves around for them to cover while saying brachot. DH covers and we provide kippot for men who may be visiting. For a while I was covering on a more full time basis, but never 100% of my hair and never at home. I wear hats and wide headbands mostly, except at home or shul where I wear scarves or hats. My mom never covered, my MIL never covered, no one I know coming from a non-O background (IRL) covers and now that we live in NY I feel like covering is much more of statement than it was in CA or WI.
post #53 of 134
I don't cover at night, either - and rarely at home (unless other people will be coming over). I've been known to use a baseball cap as well, but I prefer scarves and snoods.

I agree with Nickarolaberry - it's a constant process of growth and re-evaluation.

Still not sure WHY I do it, except that I believe I should. It's certainly not because I love the comments and the bobby pins.
post #54 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faliciagayle View Post
Is my conservative experience less valid than Sara's Reform experience because she holds more strictly than I do regarding covering?
Alicia, I'm at this one (no offense meant, of course). Don't forget that I've been converted by a reform rabbi, so in Israel and to many, many Jews I'm not even Jewish, regardless of how I immerse, look, act, dress, feel, or whatnot.

So I think most Jewish scholars would agree that your interpretation is MUCH more valid than mine.
post #55 of 134
I just want to say that sometimes covering something for others, but it's something only your husband can see can be very special for your relationship.
I know many women who decided to cover their hair sensed a positive increase in the desire their husband had for them because it was exciting for him to see that she keeps her hair ONLY for him.
post #56 of 134
Morning!

nplThank you for the welcome.
I cover my hair at night with either a tiechols, or bandana. And I do not have any problem with it staying in place.

Interesting discussion on covering. I would like to add, that there is still debate based on Torah, Rabbinic, Mishna and Talmud (Sotah) laws, regarding a single Jewish woman covering. Some argue that all daughters of Israel are required to cover our hair. But, many streams of Judaism, including Modern Orthodox does not have a ruling for women to cover.

I am a Sephardic Hassidic Woman of the Levite Tribe. We cover when we get our first period as a sign of womanhood, and modesty. Our Matriach mother Rebecca, covered before she was married to Issac.

I must say that I have received a lot criticism from non-observant Jewish woman, telling me that it is old fashion, and I do not need to cover. I do not understand why anyone, but especially another Jewish woman feel the need to insult me for how I choose to live my life. I do not judge anyone, but especially another Jewish woman on how she dresses. It is not any of my concern if she walks around naked. So, why would she be concerned for me covering my hair and dressing modesty?
post #57 of 134
Hey everyone :

Haven't been around mothering recently, but I thought I would pop in and say hello. Everyone is doing well here b'h. Hope you all are doing well also and I will try to catch up and participate more
post #58 of 134
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
Alicia, I'm at this one (no offense meant, of course). Don't forget that I've been converted by a reform rabbi, so in Israel and to many, many Jews I'm not even Jewish, regardless of how I immerse, look, act, dress, feel, or whatnot.
Oh yeah, I forgot Again, it's back to my point of validity and invalidity.

FTR, DH and I have an orthodox ketubah specifically for the reason that if our children ever become BT or Torah observant and marry into an orthodox family, we didn't want any "who is a Jew," "are your parent's really married?" pickles coming up, so I "get" holding to a strict interpretation of things...

That said, I just learned that according to some, I'm a Catholic!! My mom and dad were married in the 60s by a Reform Rabbi, and my dad officially converted at my sister's bat mitzvah - so apparently according to Catholic tradition, since my dad was still (a complete non practicing) catholic (studying and living Jewishly) at the time of my birth, I'm really Catholic since this is passed paternally. Oy.

Princessoflove - I think it's amazing and beautiful that you cover when you reach womanhood.
post #59 of 134
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smeisnotapirate View Post
Still not sure WHY I do it, except that I believe I should. It's certainly not because I love the comments and the bobby pins.
Oh I feel you on that one smei. so true. technically, covering is a total PITA, with the occasional weird looks (not too common in a city where a LOT of women wear hijab), and the falling off and the reduced number of hairdos that work and the falling off of the scarf and the falling off of the scarf. (can you tell my hair is kind of slippery? lol)

Quote:
Originally Posted by merpk View Post
Covering isn't so simple as it sounds, Mag. I cover, but have gone through a phase where I'm not so makhmir (strict) about every single part of my hair being covered (like, the scarf slides back, and I don't stress about the nape of the neck part being covered, like particularly nowadays, when I've cut my hair really short again and it's too much of a project to try and keep it all in). Am entirely sure that I'll get past this phase and go back to being neurotic about keeping it all under cover someday ... it feels more a spiritual choice the stricter I am about it, as opposed to an "identification" choice (and here it's all about labels and who/how you identify, unfortunately) as it feels when I let the sides and edges hang out.

If your soon-to-be-DH is really not interested in Judaism, you may find he's really not interested in your covering your hair, too. Unless he particularly likes to see you with stuff on your head.
Merpk, I'm a little confused by your first paragraph.

It's funny, when I first started covering, DP wasn't thrilled at the idea (it was a good 4 months between when I started occasionally and when he saw me in person covered, since we were long distance, by that point I covered almost all the time). He told me recently he was worried people would look at him like he was some crazy repressive abusive man who forced his lady to cover her hair and dress modestly and goodness knows what else. Since then, he changed his mind, and decided he likes it. I think he likes that it makes my hair more special for him (I only do it up really pretty and uncovered for him. I might take off my covering if it keeps falling off in front of family, but I only do it up for him), and that I get less obnoxious attention from men, and it's my choice regardless. He does like it though, and finds it pretty.

falicia, thank you for posting that! I'm really looking forward to reading it. I hadn't even thought about the fact that the conservative movement would have written anything about taharas mishpachas.
post #60 of 134
I'm Orthodox now but I wasn't always- and even within Orthodoxy, there's a lot of disagreements about whether or not divorced women should cover their hair. Some say that women who were ever married need to cover their hair, period. Others say that it's only necessary for women who are currently married (or married women and widows, but not divorcees.) So, basically, it's all up to me and how I feel about it. Princessoflove- that's interesting about the Sephardic women covering from puberty- I'd never heard of that with Jewish women before, only Muslms.

When I first divorced, I continued covering my hair. Then I got it cut short and let small amounts show under a hat (still covering, but showing more than I had before.) Then, after about a month or two, I reconsidered and completely stopped covering, except in shul. I honestly can't remember if I covered my hair for lighting candles during that time.

I didn't cover my hair when I was with DS' bio dad (I don't really see myself as ever being married to him, since we only had a civil wedding, and I can't even verify that he's Jewish. Technically we're still married.) I may have covered my hair for 5 minutes a week when I lit Shabbos candles, and I definitely continued wearing hats whenever I went to a Synagogue, although that was very rare.

When I moved to this town, with a sizable Orthodox population (although with many more secular Jews than religious ones, plus a nice smattering of other faiths and cultures too), I felt called to cover my hair more often. First it was only to shul, which I began attending every week. Then I'd wear baseball caps (with my long ponytail sticking out the back) during the week, especially when I was driving DS to or from his Orthodox preschool. And then it just grew from there.

Now, I feel "naked" without my head covered, and I'm embarrassed if somebody comes over and I've forgotten to put on a hat or snood. I don't feel the need to cover my hair in front of my family, but I like to keep my head covered in the house in case the doorbell rings unexpectedly.
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