Jewish Wigs For Women

It is nice to get some MSM coverage of Orthodox Jewish life that isn’t sneering.

From the LAT:

Sheitels are the wigs that married Orthodox Jewish women of the most devout, or Hasidic, communities wear in public. It would be a surprise to the other patrons of the Studio City coffee shop where we’ve met that the women’s hair is not their own and that not so much as a strand of their real hair is visible.

…Covering their hair is part of tzniut, a spiritual path of modesty and humility. The word also is a general term for the group of Jewish laws that pertain to personal conduct, which includes dress. The application of tzniut to women’s hair is so important that some Hasidic communities offer low-cost loans for sheitel purchases and collect used sheitels to donate as charity.

When asked about the belief among some Hasidic Jews that a sheitel should be ugly, Lipskier is quick to explain.

“Judaism doesn’t equate modesty with unattractiveness,” she says. “A sheitel allows a woman the ability to look good without compromising her privacy. Even if someone else doesn’t know it’s a wig, wearing a sheitel has a profound psychological affect on the woman wearing it. She is saying, ‘I am not available to you. You can see me but you may not see my most obvious feature, which is my hair.’ By wearing the sheitel, a woman invests her true appearance and real self in the most important place in her life, her marriage.”

Another mistaken belief is that Hasidic women shave off their hair when they marry. An infinitesimal number of women shave, and they usually belong to insular communities.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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