Religion08 Apr 2010 03:25 am
If you have eyes and have ever walked through an ultra-Orthodox or Hasidic Jewish neighborhood, you have probably noticed that its denizens follow the beat of their own sartorial drum. You might also have wondered if the women’s enviably shiny coifs women were the result of some magical kosher shampoo and if you could find it on the internet.
I admit that I was a bit disappointed to learn that the perfect tresses I had so admired were actually wigs (called a sheitel), which are worn daily in observance of the principles of modest dress under ultra-orthodox and Hasidic religious law. The religious reason for covering the head is the preservation of modesty, because it is believed that a woman’s natural hair is very alluring to the opposite sex and should only be admired by her husband. In keeping with this law, women start to cover their hair after they get married, with either a sheitel (wig) or a tichel (scarf). In some groups, such as Satmar, women crop their hair and wear a tichel. Some women opt for a snood (not to be confused with the computer game!) which is a beret-like hat with room for long braids under it.
The ‘Sarah Palin Wig,’ based on the hairstyle of the Last Frontier State governor and GOP vice presidential candidate, is the latest head covering to take the Orthodox community by storm. Released to great fanfare in 2008 by Sheitel.com, a Brooklyn wig shop and Web site for Orthodox Jewish women, the highly coveted coif is made of 100% human hair and available for $795 (marked down from $895). Boruch Shlanger, one of Sheitel.com’s owners, attributed its popularity to the fact that, “it is very easy to maintain, and a very classic look, yet fashion forward!” He was also quick to note that the new Palin wig isn’t necessarily pandering to customers’ political leanings, stating that, “we believe that good fashion taste trumps all politics.”
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