Oct 30, 2011

Finally A Ban On Robes

As you can see, this is not the style of the classic pashkevil, so it is probably the work of one or a few individual people.

This pashkevil has been long overdue. It addresses the women who walk around outside in their robes (chaluk), taking their kids to the bus, going to the local shops, chatting with their friends outside, etc. They wear these robes, that are essentially their pajamas, outside, and they look frumpy and sometimes dirty (from kids spilling or spitting up food), and personally I think it is not tzanua for a woman to walk around in what is essentially her pajamas. It wouldn't bother me if she was just throwing out the garbage or getting the mail, or something similar, but they wear their robes as daily wear around the neighborhood. I always cringe when I see it, and I wonder how people who are so worried about the tiniest thing that might be not tzanua can walk around in their pajamas.

Don't get me wrong - I know there are robes that are fancy and elegant and stylish. Those also bother me but not as much so. It is easier to think of those more elegant robes as dresses and clothing than as pajamas.

The pashkevil claims to be in the name of the rabbonim, but no specific rabbonims names are listed except at the bottom it mentions one rav who died a number of years ago though he supposedly saw and helped write the text and encouraged it to be spread around. It calls on the women and girls not to walk around in the various types of house-robes - not while waiting for rides, not while taking kids to school, not when going to the makolet, not when going for a walk with friends, or any other time they might be walking outside.

The pashkevil says it is not tzanua and causes problems. Fathers are requested to raise the issue in their homes.

I think of all the cherems and bans and pashkevils this is the one that is the longest overdue. Of course the way they write it just sounds like the next pashkevil will say women should not go outside at all. It is not tzanua and causes great problems.


  1. Just tell me if it makes a dent in their habits. I also think it's rather improper to wear a "nightgown" in public like that.

  2. It won't make a difference. It is my impression that the robe-wearers actually think they are being more tznius by not wearing more fitted or attractive clothing in public.

    Where this idea that ugly = tznius comes from, I don't really know.

  3. I wear beautiful Shabbos gowns, not robes. They are pretty and fine looking, accentuated with jewelry. When I go out of the home, I am always dressed modestly and attractive. IMHO What you are really objecting to is their personal habits. On this point there is some agreement.

    When raising many rambunctious haredi children, mothers' clothing often gets soiled. From baby feedings, washing dishes, feeding a table full of bouncing boys and girls, the life of "some" mothers is challenging and wearing any type of clothing at home will eventually get messed. If you were "inside" their community you would understand whey the 'robe' became commonplace. What makes it less appealing is the turban or snood. When the children are older there is room for more decorum.

    Again, this is more a statement against their lifestyle than the so-called 'robes'.

    However, this said, I understand why some don't like them and why some prefer other attire.

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  5. I find it bizarre that they will walk around the neighborhood like this, but where shabbat clothes when going shopping in town, etc. I guess they have a different concept of reshut harabbim/yachid.

    I have to say that once when I was in Mea Shearim buying something, there was an older child (10, 11) taking care of her siblings on the sidewalk and all the girls were wearing filthy robes. Neshama, there's really no excuse for that kind of hygiene. Poor does not necessarily mean filthy, and I fail to see why the daughters had to be out in robes, and not a decent shirt/skirt or dress.

  6. How ironic. I remember one of my early experiences of visiting Israel for the first time years ago (and I made aliyah soon after) was driving on the bus through Givat Shaul and seeing ladies in robes meeting children from buses, and thinking, how refreshing, to see women who have the freedom to dress in tents if they wish, and as long as they are covered, no one says a word. I saw it as part of the package of adopting a certain lifestyle (although I myself never quite became a Givat Shaul kind of Jew)... so much for that. Even this "right" has to be chipped away. I find it sad to see lady commenters ragging on other women.... it's fun for me to observe the locals, but it's not my community to dictate or nec. even understand the dress codes. And I imagine that lots of non-haredi children also make a mess of their mothers' clothes. In deference to my husband (who is not a robe-lover - and you can't kid him with "dressy robes" - if it has a zipper, it's a robe) I don't wear a shabbos robe in front of guests (we are out of Israel in a small community right now, where robes are certainly not the norm) but it's coming in my bag to Israel next month when I'll be in RBS and the standard of my building is to wear. There is not nearly enough live and let live going on around here.

  7. I know a man who thinks that the robes are very 'provocative'. The long zipper down the front makes him twitch to just yank it down and see the ladies' underwear!!! Sexy!

  8. Abbi, that's why i wrote:
    IMHO What you are really objecting to is their personal habits. On this point there is some agreement.


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