Friday, October 8, 2010

Burkhas in Beverly Hills

It's a sunny day here in Southern California and I just saw a woman walking down the street in Beverly Hills covered head to toe in black, the only part of her showing: her eyes. She was even wearing gloves. It was obvious that she was Muslim woman wearing the traditional garb that you see in movies and read about in the news but rarely see yourself.

It gave me a bit of a shock. I couldn't help staring and wondering about the woman underneath all that black cloth. About what makes her choose to wear it - or if she even was the one to make the choice to begin with.

And I couldn't help thinking, "For all that I complain about misogyny in the Orthodox Jewish community, these Muslim women have it so much worse."

It isn't very fashionable in the frum community to sympathize with Muslims and believe me, I have no sympathy for those of them who are evil or are terrorists, but I can't help feeling sorry for their women. They are treated worse than dirt in many (if not all) Muslim countries.

It makes me grateful that I'm a Jew. Yes, there are problems in the frum world with how women are treated and, yes, I do write this blog anonymously for fear of what it could do to my "reputation" in the frum community, but those things seem trivial next to the fears that so many Muslim women live with all their lives.

Now there are some women who need a serious dose of feminism.


  1. Hey didn't you know she was a moderate, her eyes were showing after all.

  2. Oh dear, you're right Robert! There's a frightening thought.

  3. I feel bad for any woman who has to wear something like that. Hey, at least they dont have a fashion crises when it comes time to getting dressed every morning : )
    Great blog by the way. (I actually just started my own at

  4. Checking out your blog now, Lawyer Dov!

  5. Actually, it's all about what you're used to. Just think about all the restrictions we have as Jews. As a man I have to wear this piece of fabric on my head where ever I go.

  6. I think that as much as we like putting them down, this is something we can learn from them as to how Tznius should be treated.

    I am not saying to dress like them (something which rabbonim in eretz yisroel actually say is bases for divorce and forfeit of the Kesuba), but to just realize how serious they take it and try to act likewise. (tznius is something for men too, it isnt a way of dressing but a way of acting)

    Especially in a place like LA (where I happen to be from) I think tznius is something that can use some real boosting.

  7. I would consider learning from them if I understood where it was coming from, Professor. From my perspective, it looks like a lot of men controlling the women and what they wear because of their own flaws. I wouldn't want to learn from that.

  8. I actually just watched a video on Memri tv. It was an argument between a female arab scholar and the male tv show host. Surprisingly, she was the one who was advocating for the nutty dressing.
    I am not saying our system should be like theirs. All I am saying is that Tznius is an important thing which for whatever reason finds itself by them, and that we can learn a lesson from them.

  9. You make a fair point, but I'd rather learn tznius from a holy place.