Jewish Women and Hair Covering Edited by Lynne Schreiber (224 Pages)Publisher: Urim Publications, 2003
Traditional Judaism considers the hair of a married woman erotic. As a result, married Jewish women are generally expected to cover their hair, except in front of her husbands, and sometimes in the company of other women. For most of Jewish history this practice was not disputed - mainly because society at large also considered it immodest for women to let their hair down in its city streets.
However, as the general definition of modesty has changed in the last two centuries, Jewish women have followed suit, debating the necessity of covering their hair in a world that remains "uncovered." Today, most observant, married Jewish women cover their hair in some way although a vocal minority declines to do so at all. Hair covering has, therefore, become the bellwether for religiosity, turning practice into politics.
Sources dispute the when, why, and how of hair covering, but nearly all agree on one thing: it is the obligation of married Jewish women to cover their hair in some manner. To be frank, it is not always an easy observance. It can, in fact, change the very nature of a woman's identity when her reflection oman's reflection fails to display what she once considered an identifying trait.
This collection of essays explains the law, considers the customs, and includes the voices of women from around the world who are very much moved by the nature of this challenging observance.
The traditional Jewish community has long been silent on the very personal, yet also public, matter of married women covering their hair with hats, scarves, and even wigs. Hide and Seek is the first book to discuss this topic, and includes legal and sociological perspectives of this observance, citing relevant texts and rabbinic discourse, as well as the history, tradition, and customs of Jewish communities from around the world. The book also includes 24 personal essays from women regarding this sensitive issue.