Matthue Roth, NYC writer, spoken word poet, and almost certainly the coolest orthodox Jew I’ve ever come across, is currently author of the month at Brooklyn the Borough. His column is called “Tznius Envy” and is a fascinating and rather loving insight into the world of orthodox Judaism. (Tznius roughly means “modesty” and in orthodox Judaism it refers to a set of laws about how to dress). Here’s a snippet from Matthue’s column:
Women in Hasidic circles don’t dress in pillowcases – not always, anyway. I’ve actually always wished it was more socially acceptable for boys to wear dresses, because it always seemed to me that it would be like wearing a blanket. The dresses people were wearing tonight were clearly not those blankety kind of dresses. They were a uniquely Orthodox shade of bling: sequin-tastic, black and fabulous and sometimes tight in that modelly way and sometimes wavy and flowing in that royal way of having a train, or a flag, trailing after you. It will sound indecent to think and even more indecent to write, but the tznius laws, the laws of what men and women are allowed to wear in Judaism, are (on the letter-of-the-law level, anyway) about what should be covered and what shouldn’t, not about how glam, or how tight, you are allowed to dress.