When ‚modest‘ becomes extreme

03.12.2011                      07.Kislev. 5772                      Wajeze

Jerusalem's Taliban Women:

When 'modest' becomes extreme

When the 'Taliban women' phenomenon finally reached Mea She'arim, the rabbis of the extremist Edah Haredit took notice and condemned it. But what was it that initially drove ultra-Orthodox women to cover themselves up almost hermetically?

His tall stature and dress – the striped robe customarily worn by men in some streams of the Edah Haredit – made him look older than his age, as if a venerable member of society. But his face is that of a boy. The young groom, whose wedding was the reason for the harsh and unprecedented condemnation that the Badatz, or ultra-Orthodox rabbinical court of the Edah (one of the most extreme of all Haredi communities ), issued last week against the group referred to despairingly as "the Taliban women," to which his mother and wife belong – seemed at a loss this week as to what all the fuss was about. Yoel Krois, one of the unofficial spokesmen for the extremist factions within the Edah Haredit, said with a smile, once the teenager was out of sight, that the groom had achieved a Guinness record: Before his 18th birthday, and only months apart, he was married twice within the same year. But evidently today in Mea She'arim nobody else finds that joke funny.
In a neighborhood where rumors spread like wildfire, it came to light a week ago, and after the fact, that the young man in question had secretly wed a second time, without having arranged a get, or bill of divorce, from his first wife, whom he had married just a few months earlier. She had refused to divorce him for several months, and had also moved back in with her parents. The community was horror struck….