Thursday, May 29, 2014

There Are Women in USA Who Cover their Arms

Nadene Goldfoot                                                                        

The spark that lit my wick this morning happened when I was watching NBC's Today show around 8am when  one of the commentators  was appalled that a high school photo-shopped some of the female student's pictures in their yearbook and created sleeves on their pictures when they were sleeveless.

" What country would do such a thing?" she questioned.

This lady  is my favorite personality on the show, such a darling woman, and I in turn was appalled that she thought this was so terrible an idea, that females had to have sleeved clothing and that the show comes from New York and she has never seen an orthodox Jewish woman, evidently.

What is obvious to me but not to the rest of the world is that orthodox Jewish women wear clothing that has sleeves which are to cover at least the elbows.  It's a part of being modest.  Yes, they have restrictions and conditions of dressing; the dress code.  They also cover their hair, which is considered a sexual part of our body, so in the USA women will wear wigs, but in Israel they first wore scarves and also women, especially in Jerusalem, will wear wigs.

This goes along with the dress code of the Muslims as well.  After all, we are distant cousins and both have come from Abraham, who is considered our father of Judaism.  He didn't want us to be like the people of Ur who were idol worshippers, so moved his family out and into the countryside so as not to be swayed by their customs.  I find this awesome.  Moses, who was born in about 1391 BCE and died at age 120 in 1271 BCE, started our Jewish practices by bringing us the 10 Commandments and the 5 Books found in the Bible (Tanakh) and we are still following his expectations; more than 3,000 years of following the laws.

Today I realize that Americans might consider such a practice of covering the arms to the elbows, let alone have any length of sleeve, would be out of sight bringing on such comments as "get out of here!"  or "who would do that!"  No, the NBC commentator  didn't explode with these comments, but she was pretty shocked.  Of course Michelle Obama has set the scene to have arms fitting for sleeveless clothing by having upper arms fit for the model woman of America in beauty.  There was the day long ago when it was the custom for women to bare their breasts while the rest of their upper body was covered.  How times change.  No matter what one is conditioned to, that is not being modest.  If anything, it would induce sexual thoughts.
Sex is considered in our Jewish thinking.  Women are not to drive men crazy by their clothing.  We're not trying to attract the man on the street.  Yet in our thinking, sex is beautiful and part of life.  We have no big taboos on sex and no guilt trips connected with it.  Sex produces babies which are wanted.  Since our beginning in history, our woman have wanted children and have prayed for them starting with Sarah and Abraham.  When my son was born, the rabbi told me that we never know, he might be the Messiah, so each babe is treated with love and kindness.  You never know who he or she will grow up to be.  So modesty does not cut down on our population density.

Why this particular high school was concerned about having sleeved clothing wasn't mentioned, only that they were adding sleeves.  I doubt if these certain students, for not all had their pictures altered, were Jewish, as most orthodox Jews go to private schools, but it's possible.  Otherwise, there could be other religions that consider modest dress to be including sleeves.

I lived in Safed, Israel which is in the Galilee for over 4 years and Israel is a hot country.  Safed is on top of a mountain so always has a breeze, but it's hot there, and one would think that sleeves would be unbearable and that we would all want to dress like Michelle.  Actually, this is where cloth from India is appreciated.  We orthodox wore loose dresses with loose sleeves that covered our elbows and flowing scarves, looking more like hippies in the USA in the 60's.  It went well with our sandals.   If was so comfortable, much cooler than wearing tight long slacks, and I felt very feminine.   We got enough exercise by walking, but didn't have to lift weights to make sure our upper arms were being stared at.

Resource: 5/29/14 NBC Morning news show, TODAY

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