Friday, August 19, 2011

Jewish "Burqa Lady" at Sha'ar Binyamin

A Mother in Israel has written a lot about the recent phenomenon of Jewish women adopting the Muslim mode of dress, the long black burqa cape, scarves draped around head, neck and even in some cases masks that barely allow the woman to see where she's going.

I work in the Yafiz clothing store in Sha'ar Binyamin, just north of Jerusalem, on the road to the Benjamin and Samaria Jewish communities.  Many, many Arabs shop in the store.  A customer is a customer, and my job is to sell clothing to all. 

The other day I quickly scanned the people looking at the clothes for sale.  From the clothing they wore, I could make out a religious Jewish woman of about my age, a preteen Jewish boy (also religious) and a Muslim woman.  Suddenly I realized that the "Muslim woman" was speaking Israeli Hebrew to the boy who apparently was her son.  And when helping them, I realized that the older woman was her mother, the grandmother of the boy.

Why had I thought the younger woman was Muslim?  She was wearing a long, black cape and black scarves covering her hair and neck.  NO, I didn't take her picture.

That was the first time I had seen a Jewish woman who dresses like that.  There's another woman who lives not far away who drapes scarves around her neck and head, Arab-style, but she wears "regular" clothes.  Considering how susceptible the neck is to skin cancer and early wrinkling, I can understand why it's good to cover it in the daytime outdoors.

FYI, what distinguishes between a young Arab in a burqa long cape and a Jew?
Many of the young Arab women wear make-up and tight jeans, while the Jewish women shun make-up and wear bulky full skirts under their burqas.

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