How Much Cleavage Can A Good Orthodox Woman Reveal Publicly?

If an Orthodox Jewish woman is proud of her body, to what extent is she allowed to flaunt it? Is she allowed to select clothing that shows her curves off to advantage? How much cleavage can she show with the blessing of the Torah? How high can her skirt ride? To her knee? Above? I’m taken aback when I meet observant Jewish women wearing skirts above the knee but I’m an old fuddy duddy.

I’m curious how much a God-fearing, Torah-observing woman can show publicly with the blessing of her tradition and her community? I notice that Chabad women show more than other traditional Orthodox women. They dress more stylishly. They wear high heels.

In Modern Orthodox shuls, I often encounter appalling displays of wantoness. What kills me is when Orthodox women with children and thick lumpy legs go to shul in short skirts. That to me is a quadruple sin. It’s worse than murder because you are simultaneously offending God, Torah, good taste and the community.

I notice many traditional Orthodox women (outside of Chabad) get all righteously upset if another frumie in their community dresses in bright colors. Red is not tznious. It’s hookerdic. If you’re not 30 pounds overweight, that’s not tznious.

On the other hand, I’ll go to an Orthodox shul and a woman leans over or crosses her legs and nothing is left to the imagination. I think that makes God cry. It certainly makes me cry.

I think we need to have a public dialogue about this. Let the sharing begin.

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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