Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Catholic Woman Wore a “Kippah”

There she sat, across from me
I tried hard not to stare
But how could I not look at it
It really was right there
Muslims in headscarves, Hindus in saris
I see in my neighborhood
Sikh men with their hair in turbans
Tucked in and hidden but good
But it’s not every day a non-Evangelical Christian
So blatantly announces religiosity
Yet there it was, a cross drawn in ashes
On her forehead, for all to see

That must be what it’s like
For an Orthodox man
Every day, his whole life long
He needn’t say
a single word
His “cap” gives a dance and a song



Blogger westbankmama said...

You forgot us - the Orthodox women who also wear headscarves!!!!


Thu Mar 02, 02:31:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Unfortunately, I don't live in a Jewish area, so I don't "see [Orthodox women] in my neighborhood." But I see plenty of frum women in various varieties of headcoverings at my office.

On the other hand, as long as you raised the issue, the "also" part of your statement has always bothered me.

Here's one of my responses to comments to my Sunday, March 06, 2005 post, Nothing to help us pray: Women and the Sh’ma—davvenning in the abstract

"How did it come to pass that every single ritual garment that marks an individual as a Jew has become, by tradition, restricted to men? Men have the tallit, tefillin, and kippah. What do women have to mark us as Jews when we pray? What's so Jewish about a hat, a scarf, a wig? Any woman can wear them. What's so exclusively Jewish about tzniut--aren't traditional Muslim women and nuns dressed at least as modestly as traditional Jewish women? . . . I would happily wear a pair of tefillin designed specifically for women, or any other rabbinically-sanctioned garment intended for women that would fulfill the words of the Shma, if such a thing existed. But the rabbis have never given any thought to the need of Jewish women to have ritual garments of our own.

Fri Mar 11, 12:52:05 AM 2005"

Hope you aren't sorry you mentioned it. But as I said, this has bothered me for years.

Thu Mar 02, 03:11:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

WestBankMama, sorry to get all "political" on you. It's just that, as was pointed out by several commenters on this post by Not the Gadol Hador, just about the only people who understand the significance of the headcovering worn by many married Orthodox Jewish women are other Jews, whereas the kippah is a widely-recognized symbol of Jewish identity. So, unfortunately, your analogy doesn't work. Ashes on the forehead are a widely-recognized sign of Catholic observance; a kippah is a widely-recognized sign of Jewish observance, but the truth, for better or for worse, is that any woman can wear a headscarf.

If it'll make you feel any better, there's absolutely nothing Jewish about a black hat, either. Any man can wear one. Just ask this teen from one of the shuls of "retired" blogger Adam Ragil, of Baynonim, if you'd like a good grin. For the life of me, I can't find the comment I posted at PsychoToddler ages ago, but it was to the effect (er, affect?) that, ironically, when I was a kid, men worn hats because kippot were considered too Jewish, and now, men wear hats because kippot are considered not Jewish enough.

Thu Mar 02, 11:31:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Oops! Sometimes I forget that I grew up in a neighborhood that was very mixed--well, at least in terms of varieties of white "ethnics"--and that I now live in one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the U.S. I neglected to explain that Wednesday, March 1 was "Ash Wednesday," the beginning of the Roman Catholic semi-mourning period known as Lent, which precedes Easter. On Ash Wednesday, Catholics go to Mass and have ashes made from the palm branches of the previous year's Palm Sunday smeared on their foreheads in the shape of a cross by priests as a sign of penance.

Fri Mar 03, 12:39:00 AM 2006  
Blogger westbankmama said...

I know that it goes against your personal grain, but the place where a Jewish woman shines is in her home - not in the public sphere. Therefore there is no special garment to mark her out - she is not meant to be singled out in public.

Mon Mar 06, 06:15:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

WestBankMama, with due respect, I think that there's another problem with that approach in addition to the fact that it goes against my grain. I read somewhere (Jewlicious?) that a poll showed that 30% of all Orthodox Jewish women over 30 are unmarried. Perhaps I'm misinformed, and, if so, please correct me, but it seems to me that, in the Orthodox community, a childless woman has a reduced role, and an unmarried woman has no role whatsoever. What happens to the woman who has no child to rise up and bless her, no husband to praise her? If a woman "is not meant to be singled out in public," and has no one to single her out in private, does she, in fact, have any place at all in which to shine?

Tue Mar 07, 12:15:00 AM 2006  
Anonymous Dr. Gopal Kumar said...

That is great to hear, thank you for reading!

Thu Apr 19, 07:00:00 AM 2018  
Anonymous Pneumocystis Pneumonia said...

That is great to hear, thank you for reading!

Sat May 19, 05:32:00 AM 2018  

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