Jewish Sisters Must Be Modest - Poem by gershon hepner
SOME JEWISH SISTERS ARE TOO MODEST
Sisters ought to keep their piety
as modest as the chance
of pleasing all in their society,
which they cannot enhance
by dressing in a way that only prudes
approve of when there are
so many eligible kosher dudes
who keep their distance far
from girls who are too nice because they dress
just as their bubbas did.
More, when it comes to women's clothes, is less.
It's shver zu zayn a yid,
but even shverer for a Jewish gal
who's told that she must cover
all parts that lead to entente cordiale
with a potential lover,
except, of course, for the variety
of those with hat and beard
proclaiming their immodest piety,
who're mostly somewhat weird.
Jewish sisters must wear tights that squeeze
if they want guys who're normal.
The frum dudes they desire they will please
far more if nonconformal.
The choice of Jews by God, dear sisters,
was not at all the oddest,
far odder is the choice, say many misters,
tsnius that's too modest.
"Walk modestly with God, " in verse six eight
of Micah was addressed
to us not so we could pontificate
about how gals are dressed.
Avital Chizhik writes in Tablet,3/14/12, about the Orthodox girls' obsession about skirt length and hosiery choices:
Back in high school, when we girls would ask our teachers for the source of the laws of modesty, the classic answer was to turn to Micah 6: 8. Yet now it dawns on me that the same text has been misread, poorly taught. When Micah enjoins Israel to "do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk modestly with thy God, " his final verb is to walk with God. Modestly is simply the adverb. He essentially is asking that our piety, our walks with God, be done modestly—he's not asking us to hide our women. Nor to confine them to specific streets, nor to the back of the bus. Perhaps, rather, he is asking us to keep our piety modest. No one needs to know how many pages of Talmud you've learned today, what kosher certification you don't trust, how intensely you sway during prayer—or how thick your tights are.
Interestingly, Dan Bilefsky in the NYT on 3/29/12 writes about the prohibition on the mandate to cover skin on Turkish women ("A Fashion Magazine Unshy About Baring a Bit of Piety") :
Ala (called the "Vogue of the veiled" in the Turkish news media) adheres to strict Islam-inspired sartorial guidelines: arms and heads must be covered; tight pants and skirts above the ankle are forbidden. But, Mr. Birer said, the Koran has no prohibition on five-inch stiletto heels. "You can be elegant and sophisticated, " he said. "Female beauty is O.K. as long as it's not seductive."
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