Ultra-Orthodox women who prefer long locks for their wigs face backlash
Letting their hair down

Ultra-Orthodox women who prefer long locks for their wigs face backlash

The more natural-looking variety of sheitels has grown increasingly popular in the NY area, but many who choose it face accusations of promiscuity

Ultra-Orthodox women's sheitels, file (Lara Savage/ Flash 90)
Ultra-Orthodox women's sheitels, file (Lara Savage/ Flash 90)

Sexy sheitels are all the rage in the New York area — or at least, rage is quite definitely in the air — with some ultra-Orthodox women’s growing preference for more stylish hairdos earning condemnation and even accusations of sluttiness from their communities.

The wig, or sheitel, worn by many married ultra-Orthodox women is generally seen as serving a purpose of modesty, fulfilling the tradition of covering one’s hair while outside the house to avoid being attractive to men who are not the wearer’s husband.

According to the New York Post, long-haired, more natural looking wigs are increasingly in vogue in NYC and the New Jersey area, but women who go for the less synthetic look are also opening themselves up to criticism from rabbis and others in their social circle.

“They like the longer hair,” Galit Lavi, owner of a wig shop in Brooklyn said of her clientele. However, “Some customers tell me we have to cut it short enough ‘so I don’t get in trouble.'”

Gitty Berger, a makeup artist from Jackson, NJ, told the paper she likes longer hair but only wears such wigs when away from her community. “If you’re seen in a local pizza shop wearing a long wig, you’ll be talked about… you and your husband will be getting phone calls,” she said.

Last year local wig makers in Lakewood received anonymous emails which accused women who prefer long-haired wigs of “trying to look like a prostitute.”

Meanwhile Flatbush resident Esther Adina Sash, 30, doesn’t let the hate get to her. Sash owns an Instagram account to which she often posts photos of herself in various wigs.

View this post on Instagram

I’M ON THE BALLOT!!! It is my privilege to announce that the Board of Elections and the Supreme Court has ruled that I will be on the ballot in the upcoming State Primary Election on September 13, 2018. This journey has been an absolute whirlwind. My opponent hired a top law firm to comb through my 3,689 signatures and made FALSE claims that there were less than 500 valid signatures. (The minimum amount needed to get on the ballot for District Leader). Their goal was to distract me from campaigning and bleed my campaign fund dry on defense attorneys. It’s the oldest trick in the book! I applaud their efforts and thank them sincerely for the most unbelievable crash course on how the shady system works. There are so many reasons for me to NOT run for the unpaid, volunteer position of District Leader: it shifts my focus away from my business, it exposes me to more criticism, and it demands hundreds of hours knocking on doors to get petition signatures, register people to vote, and ask them to vote for me on Election Day. But there is ONE reason to pursue it – for the one girl reading this who may be inspired to change the world one day and who will. This is for you. You can do it! Wishing you a Gut Shabbos. #politics #political #headshot #democrat #district #election #localpolitics #jewish #leader #shabbatshalom #vote #changetheworld #leadbyexample

A post shared by Esther Adina Sash (@flatbushgirl) on

Though some people have written disgusting comments — one encouraged her to “Go drown yourself in a lake” — Sash does not appear to be planning to change her ways. She told the Post the notion that “hair length has a connection to spirituality” was laughable.

Another woman, Mindy Meyer from Flatbush, seemed to sum up the feelings of many young women: “I’m an Orthodox woman and I want to adhere to my traditions, but why do I have to look like I’m from ‘Fiddler on the Roof’?”

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