Jewish women must beware trouser-wearing!

// 14 May 2008

Fellow Jewish* women reading this will be interested to note that a male rabbi has decided we are not meant to wear trousers – even when we’re all alone in the dark. I am not kidding.

I learned of Rabbi Shlomi Avineria’s opinions on trousers via Rebecca at Jewess, who points out that this same bloke thinks that women shouldn’t enlist in the army. Well, I think there are some serious reasons against anyone signing up for the Israeli army given the current situation with Israel/Palestine, but this is not one of them: “We need you to function as a pure and clean woman… and not to undermine your mental foundation… remember: Army service for women, in any shape or form – is forbidden! Forbidden! Resist the temptation!

Note: Avineria is rabbi for Beit El, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank built on privately-owned Palestinian land.

(On Flickr I found this photo as well, of the first woman in Israel to object to doing compulsory military service on specifically feminist grounds.)

Anyway, back to this rabbi’s views on trousers:

“in general, a woman must always wear modest clothes even when she is alone and in the dark, because the Holy one blessed be he is everywhere. And yes, trousers are a self-prohibition even when a woman is alone.”

(*In my case, it must be said, non-practicing).

Photo of sinful trews by Sim Dawdler, shared under a Creative Commons license

Comments From You

Samara // Posted 15 May 2008 at 10:04 am

Yep, the trousers thing has always made me laugh. But apparently a lot of people think it’s okay to wear trousers in situations in which a skirt would be impractical as long as they do up at the sides rather than the front. Front-fastening trousers constitute cross-dressing… It’s totally bizarre that he’s putting it down to “modesty”. Since when have trousers not been “modest”? I’m a non-practising Orthodox Jew who is currently wearing trousers that do up at the front. I’m going to hell!

cb // Posted 15 May 2008 at 10:20 am

As another non-practising although brought up as orthodox jew, my understanding (which I refuse the right to be completely wrong about!) was that the prohibition on women wearing trousers was to do with (and I really can’t find a reference for this) not dressing like the ‘opposite’ sex – namely there would be an equivalent prohibition on men wearing skirts (or kilts). But to be honest, if I’m going to hell for wearing trousers (I can’t honestly, remember the last time I wore a skirt or dress) then there’s probably a million more reasons I’m going to hell before that!

Seph // Posted 15 May 2008 at 3:15 pm

I’m not Jewish but this applies to any religious leader.

Do they have nothing better to do??

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