Covering (hats, tichels, and hijabs, oh my!)

Published July 25, 2014 by Paige

Hello, readers!

I know it has been relatively forever since I have posted, and I am so sorry for that. However, I am wanting to start posting again! (YAY!)

Today I want to talk about covering – specifically, the covering of hair.

A year ago, I began my journey with covering my hair, since it was just after I had gotten married. However, I had to stop, because I made the ingenious decision to start covering at the same time I changed my shampoo routine. (Dandruff and head itching are TERRIBLE things when you cover your hair!)

A week ago, I started covering again. To give you some history, I’ve been playing around with covering my hair since high school, when I became close friends with my three Muslim sisters from Jordan. I had already been buying scarves (Remember that trend? Where they get tied around you for a fashion statement that looks horrible on busty women? Yea…), so I would cover if I went to their house, or sometimes just for fun, and when they left to go home to Jordan after Senior year, they donated a bunch of hijab stuff to me. Come college, I started covering periodically to practice for once I got married (in Jewish tradition, women are supposed to cover their hair once they are married. More on this later).

Anyway, a week ago I had the GRE, which, for those who don’t know, is basically the ACT for Graduate School. The night before, and the night before that, I had contemplated covering, and i prayed about it. The day of the test, i covered my hair for the first time in over a year. i was amazed at how calm it made me feel, and how focused, and how self-assured. i felt beautiful. i’ve been doing it every day since, with the exception of sometimes at work (i work in a restaurant and covering can be difficult).

There are times when I may not cover. I haven’t decided yet. Obviously, while performing military duties in uniform, I cannot cover – these next two weeks of AT (Annual Training) will be especially difficult for me, since I only recently started covering again and already it feels like a part of me.

It took me a while to come to grips with my Call to cover. i’ve felt since high school that i should cover my hair. It made me feel better and more connected with God. But it was so hard for me. I didn’t know at first about Jews covering with scarves, just wigs (yuck!), and my only other introduction was Islam (other than women in Churches covering with hats, which is no longer done). I struggled for a while, wondering if, by performing one aspect of hijab or tznius, i would have to perform all aspects of it. I struggled over what hijab and tznius meant to me. Recently, I have found my path.

Modesty, to me, has nothing to do with hem lines and inches and whether or not to wear pants and if you can mix fabrics. To me, it’s a state of being – hijab, in the Quran, is about how you portray yourself more than what you wear. That last bit is just the scarf on top of the head, if you will. πŸ˜‰ So even though I am Jewish, and even though covering hair after marriage is considered an Orthodox thing, and even though doing this proclaims me as a religious, Orthodox Jew to much of the world… i have some caveats.

I don’t follow traditional, Orthodox Judaism. I’m drawn to the more spiritual side of the religion; i’m drawn to the more Sephardic or Mizradic customs; more-so, my behavior is tempered by my upbringing, which was Reform Jewish, Catholic, and Secular. Many rules that are there, while I understand the need for themΒ at one point, I don’t consider them relevant now. Sure, I may try and stay away from pork or shrimp, but i’m not going to ignore a craving and i’m not going to give up my cheeseburgers. I consider myself Modern Orthodox – Ideologically, i’m aligned with the Orthodox sect of Judaism, but my upbringing, and my marriage, requires me to have leeway.

And that’s ok. I struggled with that for a while. I couldn’t comprehend how I could be a good Jew and still wear pants and short sleeve shirts and mini skirts if I wanted to! My Husband thinks this is part of why I stopped covering last time, and why it took me so long to start back up again – instead of attempting to follow a Calling from God, something Holy, which He wanted me to do, which is an extension and expression of the Divinity within myself, I was trying to change who I was to fit a mold that someone else created. Not God – a person. And that’s not what we are supposed to do.

So here’s what I say – If you are Jewish and you want to adhere to all of the clothing rules, and measure your skirts and sleeves and what have you… more power to you. But I just don’t think it’s necessary. You can be Holy and a Queen in jeans and a t-shirt, or at least you can to me.

To those of you who view covering as oppression… please, rethink this. The ONLY people I have heard say things like this have been people who are a) not Muslim or Orthodox Jewish and b) have never tried to understand it. Do not look at this from a Western point of view. Look at it from the view of Heaven. All Muslimahs I have heard speak about this or seen write about this, all Jewish women i’ve seen who cover their hair, even Christian women and women of other faiths who have felt the Call to cover, all of them have said it is a blessing, something they love, something they enjoy, not something they are forced to do by their parents or husbands.

Recently, Cait, the other girl who started this blog with me but has since ceased posting, told me that she had a discussion about this with her mom, that her mom felt covering was a sign of obedience to the husband, and that was wrong.

To people who feel this way… please know that I am not oppressed. My Husband did not choose this for me – He felt it was weird at first! Now He feels it’s beautiful and a part of me, because that is how I wear it. For me, this is a sign of obedience to GOD, not to my Husband. I show obedience to him in other ways, and it has nothing to do with my hair, and i’m much more lazy about fulfilling my wifely duties like doing the dishes or cleaning the house. πŸ˜‰

Here is a picture of me in a partial “regal wrap” tichel, using a beautiful hijab scarf that my Muslim sisters gave me:

IMG_0751[1]

Have a good one! i’ll be posting more soon.

Paige.

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9 comments on “Covering (hats, tichels, and hijabs, oh my!)

  • Paige, I come from a different background and finding my way but have loved the coverings of others heads since I was a girl. I would cover my head with my mother’s sheer curtains and later, winter scarves when it snowed.

    I love how you say it is a Call. I know that even as a beginner, I feel more attentive to my body position and more aware of everything around me. I am more aware of ME and have more insight.

    What are the materials you use each time you wrap?

    • Hi Sophia.

      May I ask what kind of background you come from? And yes, to me it is a call. Some women see it as a chore, i feel… My Nana is Reform and freaked out when I first started covering! haha

      But I also identify as Pagan and i’ve found there are a LOT of Pagan women who feel the Call to cover. i think that may be part of why I consider it a Call – it is like the Call you receive to worship a particular Deity. It’s this inexplicable pull like it’s just the right thing to do, even if it doesn’t make sense. πŸ˜‰

      Yes, i noticed I was more aware of myself as well. Covering helps me be in a better headspace – I suffer from depression and covering has seemed to help with my depression and anxiety, as well as helping me to be more professional. πŸ™‚

      I use lots of scarves. I have pashminas, thin cloth ones, thicker cotton type ones, and one infinity scarf. I also have one that is a stretchy, slippery type fabric. i don’t know what type of fabric it is and it was gifted to me… Oh! Another one i was gifted has roses made out of the fabric for design. πŸ™‚

      I also love using headbands… i get headaches really easily (anxiety and tension… yay!) so having too many scarves on can hurt… Plus i’m not a pro at making sure they stay on my head yet, so having one scarf is generally easier. πŸ˜‰ i like multi-colored scarves for that reason too.

      You say “as a beginner”… Have you started covering recently? What do you use?

  • I am an American Mutt, raised evangelical Christian. However to practice such a religion, I would have to abandon the belief that I can not force someone to make a choice I would in addition to a host of other things I find problematic when I enter a sanctuary. πŸ™‚ I also “live in sin” with my significant other, a Reform Jew. Between us we have five children, mostly grown. One of our daughters identifies as an eclectic Wiccan. Our home is a mix of Yom Kippur, Christmas, and Halloween.

    I have just begun wrapping and I hate to say it, I don’t have too much just yet. Three rectangular scarves; deep purple/shiny, teal/shiny, and a lavendar one that is kind of warm. I’m getting better at wrapping and love to wrap for work (nurse) but I move alot so its hard to keep it on. I am considering adding headbands and the velvet headband (Wrapunzel-you should look at their site on here).

    The response from someone when they first saw me wrapped was to ask if I was sick (cancer) and another asked if I had converted to Islam. The reality is just what I have told you. However, my significant other struggles to find understanding as to why I want to wrap.

    I find a good deal of comfort and direction when I wrap. My hair has been growing from a short hair cut (HUGE mistake). At one time it was waist length. The forward pressure on my head is welcome as I suffer migraines (both complex and classic) in addition to tension caused by…anxiety!

    I am still searching but it feels right to cover. It feels right to wear more conservative clothing. I feel beautiful, secure, confident in addition to what I’ve already shared.

    LOL Now that I’ve written this novel…………

    • I would explain it to your husband in terms of Judaism, possibly? For example… men are to cover their head in reverence to God. Since God is at the head of the man, and Man is the head of the household, women are to cover their head in reverence to their Husbands. Or you could just say God told you to. πŸ˜‰

      Yea, i need to get a velvet headband from Andrea’s site, but we are currently working on making sure we have money in general. haha.

      Pagan covering isn’t really different. Most of the people i’ve seen favor Jewish-style wrapping… There’s a FB page for it (Occulta Femina). i don’t feel the need to completely cover all of the time so sometimes i’ll wrap it like a Shayla (loose, Iranian-style hijab-type wrap) or just tie a scarf like a thick headband.

      And yea… I had people in my military unit remark that I looked like a cancer patient. My response was, “You saw me with hair earlier in uniform. Obviously it’s not for cancer.” (Well that is a paraphrase and I was probably nicer…)

      • I am hopeful that all will accept that it is what I am being pulled to do. I don’t see head covering as a sign of oppression. I suppose it may be different for others.

        I, too, plan to shop Andrea’s site at some point. I did a wrap yesterday that would have been much better with the velvet headband and volume. I wish I could wrap it like a Shayla at work but it wouldn’t work very well (am a nurse) because I move around a lot.

        LOL I can imagine how it must have been said. πŸ™‚ Sometimes that is a language all in itself when dealing with military.

      • You could try a turban-style wrap. i’ve heard that works well for those in the medical field. However, i did read of a woman who is a doctor and started covering (she converted to Islam). She began with a turban-style wrap but then moved to traditional-style hijab and said she was still able to do her job. πŸ™‚

      • πŸ™‚ My concern is it slipping off or out of place. That would make me crazy. I do see that there are many ways I can try so that is good.

        Does yours come loose or slip?

  • It depends on how i tie it. If i tie it lower, covering my forehead at the beginning of the day, it normally doesn’t slip all of the way off and will just show the beginning of my hairline by the end of the day. It also depends on how loose/tight you tie it, because if you tie too loose, it will slip. Too tight, it pulls right off on its own.

    Hair clippies are my friends right now lol What i’ve found also helps is if you make a bun, you can put a hair band or something around the wrap that goes over the bun. It defines the bun, but your wrap will also slip less since usually it is the wait of any tails you may have that is causing it to pull down.

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