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For her, I made an exception, broke the rules I’d been raised with. We sat cross-legged on the carpeted floor in the unfinished basement as music played. Her body tilted into mine, and she swayed back and forth with the music. I didn’t quite know what French kissing was, but this was definitely European. Observant Jews don’t have any dairy products for six hours after eating meat, and I’d had a burger before our date. No longer able to savor the fantasy, I came crashing down back to earth. We quickly said goodnight, and I rushed into the solace of the closing train doors. After attending the daily morning prayers at a nearby synagogue, I had studied Jewish texts with some of the members.We met a few times at different Jewish social things, from a Hanukkah-themed open mic at a local bar to eating bagels with her friend, my sister. As I’d learned from my on-screen heroes, this was the time to kiss her, only the second kiss of my life. As I walked to the train with her on my left arm and the holy book in my right, I felt pulled in opposite directions.All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.And it’s not just women who are expected to cover up.“You wouldn’t find a strict Orthodox man wearing a tank top or shorts,” said one of my sources.
She was a camp counselor at a vegan, LGBT-friendly overnight camp. She’d learned it in college, which to me was way cooler than the kind my Hasidic neighbors spoke at home. According to the TV and movies I watched as a kid, this was progress. And then I tasted the faint taste of cheese crackers. As I wiped off the remnants of our romance from my lips, feelings of intimacy were replaced with regret. How could I get myself involved with someone I could not end up with? Each day, one of us prepared a lecture to give to the group.
On the flip side, many Modern Orthodox women let their Jewish locks flow in all their glory.
“Hair is not inherently promiscuous or private,” explained one of my Orthodox sources, “but it becomes something that is a symbol of privacy.” Basically, covering your hair is a way to let people know you’re off the market.
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