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Jewish Women and Headcoverings

Reader comment on item: Hijabs on Western Public Women

Submitted by Roger (United States), Mar 27, 2008 at 23:00

Jewish law also has its demands on a woman's modesty. It is considered part of the modesty laws for women in Orthodox Judaism to wear a head covering over her hair. Either a simple scarf or a wig is worn, covering a women's hair. The scarf was sometines referred to as a "shmatte'" in Yiddish and the wig referred to as a "shaitle".

Moslems are hardly original in their adoption of a Jewish custom, but as usual they take it to an extreme. There was never the demand in Jewish law to force a woman to cover herself from head to toe. This is the total body garment that muslim women sometimes wear called the "niqab". Also, the Chador, the traditional head-only covering muslim women wear, covers their entire head and neck up to the chin.

It might be a legitimate question to ask how women would fare if Israel became a theocracy. However, in any event, there was never a "modesty police" in Jewish history, even during the 400 years of the existence of the ancient "land of Israel", which was both a kingdom and a theocracy. Jewish law was noted for its leniency, not Sharia law's violence and intolerance.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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