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Politics, Religion and Fashion in Israel

Many of you know my lecture/ runway show "The History of Israeli Fashion- From the Kibbutz to the Big City, Tel- Aviv" which I've presented all across North America.

Many of my listeners have asked me at the end of the presentation "What about the Orthodox Jews? What type of fashion do they have"? and "How do you think religion in general affecting fashion"?

These questions inspired me to create my new lecture: "Politics, Religion and Fashion in Israel" which I was thrilled to present to the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s young adult community, along with some special add-on features!

This new program took a lot of work and study and what can I say?

I'm in LOVE!

Since I’m a big believer in sharing, here are a few religion and fashion tidbits which I hope will make you fall in love too!

* There are only three fashion "rules" in the Bible, all mentioned in Devarim (Deuteronomy), Chapter 22:

1. "A man's attire shall not be on a woman, nor may a man wear a woman's garment because whoever does these [things] is an abomination to the Lord, your God".

2. “You shall not wear a mixture of wool and linen together”.

3. You shall make yourself twisted threads, on the four corners of your garment with which you cover yourself”.

* The attitude towards Jews in non-Jewish countries has changed based on the regimes and the values they followed: starting in the 8th century in Muslim countries and the 15th century in European countries, Jews were forced to wear either a yellow kerchief or a belt to distinguish themselves from the rest of society.

* Yellow was the chosen color to "mark" Jews in both Muslim and Christian countries throughout history.

* However, during the modernization beginning in the late 18th century, Jews were forbidden from wearing any distinguishing articles of clothing.

* It was then that the Haredi stream was formed to address assimilation and included the belief that the Jewish garment plays a large role in Jewish identity.

"The Jewish Wardrobe: From the Collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem" Book by Alia Ben-Ami, Efrat Assaf-Shapira, Ester Muchawsky-Schnapper, and Noam Bar'am-Ben Yossef

* In the 16th century, the European custom of wearing wigs (for both men and women) led Orthodox women to say goodbye to their kerchiefs and instead cover their hair with wigs.

"From veil to wig: Jewish women's hair covering" By Leila Leah Bronner .

* Today, many secular designers are influenced by religious elements in their designs. For example, Dodo Bar Or had designed a woman’s dress with a similar embroidery to the one originally wore by Rabbi Ovadya Yosef z"l, the longtime spiritual leader of Israel's ultra-orthodox Shas party (see image below). Other designers use designs that completely contradict the bible rules described above such as Eliran Nargasssi and his shatnez collection in which the entire collection is a mix between wool and linen (see image below).

* 6% of the Arab Israeli’s monthly income is spent on clothes as opposed to 3% for Jewish Israelis.

"מתוך הסדרה: "צו האופנה

* The Kafiya has evolved many times over the years. Initially, the Bedouin scarf was embraced by the first pioneers in the Kibbutz. After the Six Day War, Rozi Ben- Yosef, an Israeli designer, created a collection of dresses made with a variation of the Kafiya fabric, making it a "must" item in every fashionista's closet around the world. More recently, it became the Palestinian national symbol of their resistance and is therefore considered by some as a controversial item.

"שכרון עיצובים, אמנות האופנה בישראל מאת: נורית בת- יער"

That's it for now! I hope you found it interesting and you understand my excitement from the new lecture :)

I have so much more to share but you'll just have to hear it in my lecture ;)

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