Survey reveals Jewish women's attitudes to covering their hair


Women across the religious spectrum are now more likely to question their decision to cover their hair, according to an expert.

Cambridge-born researcher Tikva Blaukopf said that women had never really asked themselves before why such an act was necessary.

Ms Blaukopf, who now lives in Jerusalem, asked 200 Jewish women from the Reform to Charedi movements, aged 19-65, about the issue.

Ms Blaukopf, who delivered a Limmud seminar on Sunday, afterwards told the JC: "I surveyed a huge range of people, from a convert in New Zealand to a Charedi woman in Stamford Hill.

"I learnt that more Jewish women are starting to think about what they do.

"The older generation especially say: 'I never really thought about it'.

"It's a new thing for people to interrogate what they do.

"There were people who were adamant that they would never cover their hair, and there would others that were adamant that they never would uncover it.

"The majority had never really asked themselves: 'Why?'"

The 30-year-old Oxford graduate, who now teaches Greek at Bar Ilan University in Israel, said the survey revealed that: "Women's decisions to cover or not cover their hair is guided by social standards, professional perceptions at work, what their spouse thinks of them - not their own femininity."

She added: "I hope this research brings about discussions."

At her talk, Ms Blaukopf explained the significance of hair in the Bible, classic literature and fairy tales.

She told her audience that it represented a range of personality traits from a man or women's sexuality to modesty.

"I would say the Jewish interpretation of hair is influenced by the Classics," she added.

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