Thursday, January 9, 2014

Talking About Coverings of Different Sorts

I'm once again thinking about how I talk about how and why I cover.  I'm rather waiting for my new Hebrew school class to ask about it (I'm not teaching twice a week at a reform movement Hebrew school, and subbed at another yesterday), and so I'm trying to think about how best to explain it in a way that neither puts down the practice nor implies that their own parents ought to be doing so.  It's a familiar balancing act- I id it a lot when I was explaining wearing a kippah- but not one I've always been good at.

And appropriately enough for the topic, a friend shared this- a performance artist's piece about why she covers her head, although it's pretty much a manifesto about tzniut, where the head covering is just the starting point.

Still, for all that I get uncomfortable with turning my choice about how to perform a mitzvah into a one-message item, the beginning does capture the awkwardness of these conversations.  Also, the opportunity for vulnerability and real human connection.  Asking about a religious symbol is one of the only socially acceptable ways to ask someone about the choices they make about self-presentation.  It's no wonder that I have, on so many occasions, felt vulnerable when people have asked me these questions, and reacted defensively.

What I want to be able to do is to answer in a way that shows that vulnerability and true humanity.  It isn't what the symbol is that matters, so much, as the opportunity it gives to share a piece of human experience and decision-making.  The only thing is, it's hard to do, and even more so when the question comes without preparation or warning.

So I'm rather looking forward to my kids asking about my scarf.  Maybe I can make a real connection when I talk about it, this time.

1 comment:

  1. I look forward to hearing how you end up addressing it. It can be really challenging not to become defensive!