Cover our hair? Why should we, women ask

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY SANDY RASHTY

WOMEN ACROSS the re­li­gious spec­trum are now more likely to ques­tion whether they should cover their hair, ac­cord­ing to an ex­pert.

Cam­bridge-born re­searcher Tikva Blaukopf said that mar­ried women had never really asked them­selves be­fore why such an act of modesty was nec­es­sary.

Mrs Blaukopf, who now lives in Jerusalem, asked 200 Jewish women from the Re­form to Charedi move­ments, aged 19-65, about the is­sue.

She said: “I sur­veyed a huge range of peo­ple, from a con­vert in New Zealand to a Charedi woman in Stam­ford Hill.

“I learned that more Jewish women are start­ing to think about what they do.

“The older gen­er­a­tion es­pe­cially say: ‘I never really thought about it’.

“It’s a new thing for peo­ple to in­ter­ro­gate what they do.

“There were peo­ple who were adamant that they would never cover their hair, and there would be oth­ers that were adamant that they never would un­cover it.

“The ma­jor­ity had never really asked them­selves: ‘Why?’”

The 30-year-old Ox­ford graduate, who now teaches Greek at Bar Ilan Univer­sity in Is­rael, said the sur­vey re­vealed that: “Women’s de­ci­sions to cover or not cover their hair is guided by so­cial stan­dards, pro­fes­sional per­cep­tions at work, what their spouse thinks of them — not their own fem­i­nin­ity.”

She added: “I hope t hi s re­search brings about dis­cus­sions.”

Giv­ing a sess i o n a t L i mmud on Sun­day, Mrs Blaukopf ex­plained the sig­nif­i­cance of hair in the Bible, clas­sic lit­er­a­ture and fairy tales.

She told her au­di­ence that it rep­re­sented a range of per­son­al­ity traits from a man or woman’s sex­u­al­ity to modesty.

“I would say the Jewish in­ter­pre­ta­tion of hair is in­flu­enced by the clas­sics,” she added.

Sur­vey re­veals new ques­tion­ing at­ti­tude over act of modesty

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