She Is “a Facebook-hip Haredi Woman”
The Hebrew phrase “chillul hashem” interprets as bringing disgrace upon one’s neighborhood in the eyes of the surface world. It may be invoked by something from double-parking to failure to observe the sophisticated latticework of legal guidelines that circumscribe orthodox Jewish life, dictating every thing from hairstyles to behaviour.
Today chillul hashem is as prone to spark a trending hashtag. Lately, a leaked letter despatched by college leaders within the north London Belz sect condemned mothers for his or her “immodesty” in driving their youngsters to highschool. Social media was inflamed, whereas women’s teams drew comparisons with Saudi Arabia.
A number of months earlier, a scandal was ignited when an Instagram submit of a avenue sign from a Hackney Torah procession went viral. It read, in English and Yiddish: “Women should please walk alongside this aspect of the highway only.”
“It was boring,” says Ilana Freedman of the furore, sitting in the flat she shares along with her rabbi husband and four younger sons, above a west London synagogue. “That wig shop atlanta signal was intended to make our women really feel snug,”she says. “But it became part of that tired narrative about Haredi [ultra-orthodox Jewish] women being oppressed.”
Freedman’s pet hate is Western feminists’ reading of an ultra-orthodox Jewish woman’s lot as, “All about wigs, menstrual rites and being downtrodden,” she says. “Belz rabbis themselves don’t drive. But it’s straightforward to wheel out that tired previous story about Haredi girls being oppressed.”
Freedman – who migrated from traditional to ultra-orthodox Judaism – is a biology trainer and has written online about points dealing with Jewish ladies. She is “a Fb-hip Haredi woman”, as she puts it. “A signal our world is altering, I suppose.”
It’s a troubled time for ladies in Britain’s more than 40,000-strong (and growing) Haredi community, and never just due to a rise in anti-semitic assaults. Their lives of strict observance are being assailed as never earlier than, by the pressures of caring for large families in an era of profit cuts; by rising home prices within the community’s north London enclave of Stamford Hill; and by the emergence in Israelof a reformist brand of “orthofeminism” that’s questioning the doctrinal foundation for traditional Haredi gender roles.
Haredi – literally “one who trembles before God” – is an umbrella time period for probably the most strictly observant amongst the modern Jewry. In Britain Haredi communities range from the largely Hasidic, or Jewish mystic, Haredi Jews of Stamford Hill, to Lithuanian diasporic teams in Golders Inexperienced and Gateshead, and other communities in Edgware and Salford.