Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Tznius Backlash!

A war has been declared against the so called Taliban or Burka women - a cult of Jewish women who have taken the concept of Tznius in dress to absurd and even dangerous extremes. They refuse to expose any part of their body including any part of their faces and wear Burka like clothing common among certain Muslim sects. Their founder Bruria Keren has been convicted of abusing her own children.

According to an article in Ynet there appears to be about three hundred members of this cult who are... a new sect of cruel women making people miserable and destroying homes, risking lives and showing no mercy to little children. This is what an ad being posted in the Charedi neighborhoods of Jerusalem and Beit Shemseh are saying.

I have no clue who is behind this ad campaign. It is signed by ‘the committee against the cruel women's sect.’ Apparently they have no rabbinic backing. At least officially.

It would not surprise me if this is the same bunch who harasses any woman that dares to violate their own extreme rules about Tznius. It would not surprise me if these are the same people who beat up a young religious (Dati) girl one Friday night as she passed through their neighborhood because she did not fit their model of Tznius. It would not surprise me if this is the same bunch who pinned a 70 year old religious woman carrying her grandchild against the wall of a bus because she was in the wrong section …or the same bunch that beat up Mrs. Miriam Shear on the number 2 bus to the Kotel for the same reason.

Am I happy that they are on the right side of the issue now? That depends on if they plan to use violence to get their way. Violence - whether physical or psychological is after all their answer to everything. As it recently was (and probably still is) at a Dati elementary girl’s school in Bet Shemesh. And from the angry tone of the ads it seems that they are quite ready to do that.

If one steps back and looks at the whole sexual dynamic of these communities - their whole approach to Tznius - the development of the ‘Taliban woman’ should not be surprising. Virtually all the focus these days in Charedi circles is on matters of Tznius. To them it is almost as if that is the only Mitzvah in the Torah.

They urge that women dress in a manner that does not show the female form. Loose fitting clothing; stockings thick enough or not flesh colored so they not be perceived as bare legged; wigs that dare not be too attractive… or look too real; tznius squads roaming the streets; hechsheirm on clothing stores; no pictures of women in any of their publications; separate buses, separate sidewalks… separate everything! Is it really so surprising that some women have taken things to the next level?

The article says that many of the cult members are Baalei Teshuva. Is that not telling? These newly religious women are bombarded with messages about their sex being the devil’s lure to men – sucking them into their web! They are taught that they must do everything they can to avoid turning on a man who can so easily be turned on – even at the sight of a woman’s pinky!

The lesson learned by some of these Baalei Teshuva is that the best way to avoid turning on a man they may inadvertently pass in the street is to simply cover up their entire body – face included. Finding a cult leader who preaches this made the move an easy one for them.

They think - how wrong can they be? Muslim women do it. There must be something universally Tzanua in dressing that way. When they see their zealous men go to such great lengths to protect Tznius – it is a no brainer to these women that covering up everything is praiseworthy.

I wonder how they now see this backlash.

The bottom line is that it is this community’s very own fault that a cult like this exists. And now they are going to take on the ‘monster’ they have created with possible violence. And I’m supposed to be happy about all that?!