The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture


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Judaism | ReOrienting the Veil

Ultimately, his point is that your hair should neither be let down [ parah ] nor exposed. Both the Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmud are concerned with "public spaces" in these rulings. Wig-wearing became popular among non-Jews before it did among observant Jews. Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson , the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, believed that a wig was the best possible hair covering for a woman because it wasn't as easily removed as a scarf or hat. On the other hand, former Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel Ovadiah Yosef called wigs a "leprous plague," going so far as to say that "she who goes out with a wig, the law is as if she goes out with her head [uncovered].

Share Flipboard Email. Chaviva Gordon-Bennett holds an M. Updated February 18, And the Holy Priest will bring her near and set her before God and the Holy Priest will take holy water in an earthen vessel and of the dust that is on the floor from the offering the Holy Priest will put it into the water. And she will be put under oath by the Holy Priest, saying, "If no man has laid with you and you haven't become unclean or impure with another beside your husband, you will be immune from this water of bitterness.

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But if you have turned astray and are unclean or impure, the waters will cause you to waste away. Netanyahu called for a snap election in April, hoping to fortify his political standing. As his campaign came to a close, Mr. Israeli politicians — and citizens — are increasingly dismissive of the views of American Jews anyway. Evangelical Christians, ardently pro-Israel, give Jerusalem a power base in Washington that is larger and stronger than the American Jewish population. And with Orthodox American Jews aligned with evangelicals, that coalition has at least an interfaith veneer — even without Conservative and Reform Jews, the bulk of American Jewry.

The divide between American Jews and Israeli Jews goes beyond politics.

A recent law tried to reinstate the Chief Rabbinate as the only authority that can legally convert non-Orthodox Jews in Israel. Already only Orthodox Jewish weddings are legal in Israel. Reform Jews have been roughed up when praying at the Western Wall.

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Promises to Jewish women that the Israeli rabbinate would become more inclusive have largely led to disappointment. And the stalemate over Palestinian rights and autonomy has become nearly impossible to dismiss as some temporary roadblock, awaiting perhaps a new government in Jerusalem or a new leadership of the Palestinian Authority. The two-state solution is increasingly feeling like a cruel joke. Be patient, American Jews are told.

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Peace talks are coming. The Palestinians will have their state. In the meantime, the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel grows stronger on American campuses, and new voices are emerging in the Democratic Party, such as Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who are willing to speak openly about Palestinian rights and autonomy where other lawmakers have declined to do so. Of course, American Jews, like Israeli Jews, are not a monolith.

Within the American Jewish population, there is a significant generational split on Israel that goes beyond ideology. Older American Jews, more viscerally aware of the Holocaust and connected to the living history of the Jewish state, are generally willing to look past Israeli government actions that challenge their values.

Hair Covering in Judaism

Or they embrace those actions. In a historical stroke with resonance today, American Jewish leaders gathered in Pittsburgh in to produce what is known as the Pittsburgh Platform, a new theology for an American Judaism, less focused on a Messianic return to the land of Israel and more on fixing a broken world, the concept of Tikkun Olam.

For a faith that for thousands of years was insular and self-contained, its people often in mandated ghettos, praying for the Messiah to return them to the Promised Land, this was a radical notion.


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But for most American Jews, it is now accepted as a tenet of their religion: building a better, more equal, more tolerant world now, where they live. Last summer, when a Conservative rabbi in Haifa was hauled in for questioning by the Israeli police after he officiated at a non-Orthodox wedding, it was too much for Rabbi Steven Wernick, chief executive of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the umbrella organization of the Conservative movement in North America. This is not an external threat.


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  • It is an internal threat from nationalists and racists. Rabbi Zemel implored his congregation to act before it is too late, to save Israel from itself. But Israelis want nothing of the sort.

    The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture
    The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture
    The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture
    The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture
    The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture
    The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture
    The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture The Uncovered Head: Jewish Culture

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