Skinny-Dipping Rainbow-Haired Orthodox Jewish Chicks

I have a fantasy of becoming a fully observant Jew, following all the “rules” in a way that is meaningful, bringing awareness into every action I take, and dressing the part (covered hair and all). I like this idea partly because I think it is sexy, partly because I have a perverse sense of humor, and partly because I imagine that living that way actually WOULD be extremely fulfilling emotionally + spiritually.

Sometimes I think that what’s stopping me is that the main people in my life aren’t observant whatsoever. I end up doing things like going out on Friday night with friends because I don’t want to miss out on the fun. I end up cooking my step-son breakfast on Saturday morning because he’s only with us on the weekends and I don’t want him to think of me as some weirdly religious evil step-mom who refuses him hot breakfasts. I don’t like the idea of hanging out with my alternative progressive feminist friends and them looking at me like I’m a loser while asking “so… WHY are you wearing that scarf thing on your head?”. I picture my husband in the background rolling his eyes while I attempt to dress modestly, making comments like “Hey but aren’t you that chick that I met on a commune, skinny-dipping and insisting we be polyamorous? Isn’t this a little out of character for you? Aren’t you just playing dress-up?”

And he’d be right. It would be totally weird for me to cover my hair out of “modesty”, because I don’t really get the whole modesty thing. I pretty much prefer to be naked or wearing a bright multicolored tutu and fairy wings at all times. I don’t see nakedness as inherently sexual or something that needs to be hidden. I’d also have a lot of problems with other Orthodox viewpoints (on subjects like gay marriage, gender roles, etc).

Because of my alternative/radical views on most subjects, I end up doing “Jewish stuff” with the more “open-minded” Jewish crowd. But my problem with that is that these groups are often small, unorganized, meet irregularly, and are less observant than me (with everyone driving on the Sabbath to go get more bacon-wrapped shrimp). I want to find a temple that feels like a home, and a group to worship with that feels like a family. Reform Synagogues feel too watered-down + “churchy” to me. I want the prayers to be in Hebrew. I want the people to be REALLY REALLY INTO IT and not just waiting around or reading along together in monotone voices. I feel like the passion is being hoarded by the ultra-Orthodox folks, and that I’m way too weird to hang out with them. When will I reach the end of my Blind Melon video and find my tribe of skinny-dipping rainbow-haired Orthodox Jewish chicks??

I realized today that the problem is that I have been imagining that there is only ONE correct way of being observant. I often think of the orthodox folks as having some sort of “magical authority” over what Judaism “IS”. But I also really like the quote “I practice my religion exactly the same way my ancestors did: I make it up as I go!”. I find absolutely nothing wrong with changing rituals to make them more meaningful to me. So now what I have to do is start being more observant, in a way that works for me, in a way that MEANS something to me. I will start by keeping the Sabbath EVERY week. I’m not sure what that means yet… but I am excited to find out!

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About Tikva Adler

Hello! My name is Tikva Adler, a full-time mom, nanny, and artist. This blog is a place for me to share my adventures in consciousness and awesomeness. Being of the baby-wearing, co-sleeping, hula-hooping, tree-hugging, moonlight-dancing, paint-splattered sort, my advice and stories tend to revolve around those types of themes. Stay tuned!

Posted on March 28, 2011, in jewish and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. ashleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeigh

    this is good plan. you will go far – far far far from the time when we lit candles in a regulation-sized pan with 1 inch deep of water. YES!

    p.s. you can cover your hair whenever you want and I’ll think it’s cool. I have an obsession with bonnets anyway – but worry that people will think *I’m* some weird Amish chick – which, would be OK and everything – but I really just like bonnets.

    p.s. I do not have a bonnet, YET. I do have a magickal straw hat for farming, though! It also lends instant FARM COOL to all occasions.

    p.p.s. I also have a frilly little sun-brella/parasol, because all feminists like to saunter around, keeping their skin out of the scorching sun, while wearing pretty dresses, right?

    • hahaha i HAVE a bonnet…. perhaps i should start hanging out in ultra-Orthodox circles, lookin’ all serious but wearing a bonnet

  2. This is why I joined the conservative synagogue in New Orleans. I’m totally making up a ritual for a nonJewish divorce, and I get the feeling a lot that I’m the most nonobservant people there. My rabbi totally supports gay marriage, but his sons wear tzitzit, and the two year old insists on wearing a kippah and “davening” clothes to his daycare. But, now I’m at the the point where I miss Reform services. I’m going to a synaplex on Friday.

  3. I’m struggling with this VERY same thing, within the context of my new-agey church. How do I LIVE it within the context of a spiritual community of people who don’t seem to be LIVING it with gusto??? And why the hell aren’t they, anyways?

    I want to be a cursing, truth-speaking (not nicey smiley), ever-evolving in my beliefs, orthodox spiritual person. Right there with you, Tikvah!

  4. I could relate to this so much!!! I try, every so often, to dress the part, minus the head scarf thing, and it does feel kind of cool, but being an artist and always having danced to the beat of a drum only I can hear does make it hard to keep any sort of dress code going. I sometimes try it because I get tired of the watered down version of Judaism as well. I wish we could just make up our own version of Orthodox Judaism!

    • I’ve definitely come across fun Jews before, mostly in the “Jewish Renewal” circles, doing stuff like this: http://vimeo.com/4045862
      but it is hard to find organized groups of that going on consistently unless you are living somewhere like Boulder or NYC

  5. Kol Ha Kavod! More power to you on the shabbat thing. I keep trying it, and not sustaining it, but I know it can be very powerful. As for traditional spirited prayers, Leah and I keep talking about hosting something on an off-week for the havurah that would be exactly that, so keep an eye out for that.

  6. I love your topic, it’s nice when you can tell somebody actuallly puts effort into a page, and gives the layouts. If you set up notifications value.

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