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Religious girls - rules forbid anything showing female figure Photo: Haim Zach
Religious girls - rules forbid anything showing female figure Photo: Haim Zach
 
Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv - leader of struggle for 'modesty' Photo: Haim Zach
Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv - leader of struggle for 'modesty' Photo: Haim Zach
 
 

Kosher haredi dress: Nix everything tight or red

Posters hung throughout Bnei Brak urge women to only buy loose-fitting clothes, avoid red colored garbs. Increasingly popular secular fashions worrying rabbis who respond with battle to cover bulges

Neta Sela
Published: 01.02.07, 15:43 / Israel Jewish Scene

Posters of a 'White List' of clothing stores deemed Kosher by ultra-Orthodox standards popped up everywhere on Monday in the Bnei Brak haredi town.

 

The posters call for women to only purchase clothes from the 30 approved stores as these establishments comply with the strict laws and regulations of haredi religion.

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The notices were printed by the self proclaimed 'store monitoring committee', all in an effort to battle the 'promiscuity problem' apparently rampant throughout the city.

 

Women are requested to cooperate with the initiative (dreamt up by the men of the 'Guard of the House of Jacob', the organization which oversees all the rabbinical courts in Bnei Brak) and only shop at the aforementioned 30 stores so as to empower the pious stores.

 

Shoshana, a saleswoman at the 'Bat Melech' (King's Daughter) apparel store told Ynet what conditions were required of the store to be listed as on of the 30 approved stores.

 

"We pledged that young men won't be in a position where they may sell clothing here," explained Shoshana, "we also made sure that our merchandise was deemed appropriate according to the Halacha. For instance – we won't sell a red-colored garment. Nor do we carry form fitting clothes or slit skirts that reveal the legs."

 

Shoshana said that many new businesses have come to the city after entrepreneurs recognized the potential of the market in Bnei Brak, businesses that don't bother keeping with the rules of modesty.

 

"All these stores from Tel Aviv showed up, the owners put yarmulkes on their heads and started selling clothes. I keep to the guidelines not because it is profitable, but because I believe, ever since I was born, that I must do what the rabbis say."

 

However to receive the coveted Kosher label Shoshana was required to take down items that failed to pass the modesty test, like shirts that were declared too tight.

 

Danger in the streets: Fashion  

The war on promiscuity picked up steam some six months ago when stores in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv belonging to the same chain were burned by radical haredim. In the Geula neighborhood in Jerusalem 'immodest' women were attacked with bleach which was sprayed onto their clothes.

 

Ultra-Orthodox rabbis decided to institutionalize their struggle, holding an emergency conference on the subject six weeks ago.

 

The event took place in the presence of the Lithuainia haredi public’s leading rabbis, including Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv and Rabbi Aharon Liv Steinman. The conference was intended for yeshiva students only, meaning married men, most of whom are fathers of young daughters.

 

 

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