April 26, 2006

by Reb Yudel
The Rabbi in the Red Hat

Rabbi Goldie Milgram helps Israelis discover America, as recounted in her Philadelphia Jewish Voice column:

Soothing rivulets bathe our hot feet as we walked upstream towards a plateau that will overlook the Dead Sea. Yours truly is wearing a red hat and a red long sleeve sun repellent shirt, pants rolled up over calves.

I frolicked beside a pool filled with girls in long sleeved pale blue shirts and long black skirts and black stockings, all soaked to the knees, having the time of their lives

“What do you do in America?” one such girl asks me.

Ani rav,” I say, “I’m a rabbi.”

“You mean you make shidduchim (matches),” gently, she corrects me. She’s in for a surprise.

“No I am an actual rabbi, for weddings, gittin (divorce documents), teaching, prayer, counseling, answering shaylas (religious questions) and such.” 

We walk along silently, navigating rolling dry rocks under a relentless sun blessedly tempered by a sweet spring breeze.

Perhaps 15 years of age, she keeps turning as though to eye my huge red hat with curiosity and finally inquires: “In America are there now red hat hareidim (ultra-orthodox Jews) and women rabbis?”

I chortle, “No, even in America a hareidi women can’t yet be a rabbi, I’m from one of the more liberal Jewish groups. Are you hareidi?”

She laughs and calls out to her classmates a few yards ahead, “The American thinks we are hareidi! No, we are modern Orthodox from Ashkelon! We wear light blue shirts. Don’t you know?”


That's absurd. All Israeli Hareidi Beit Yaakov girls wear light blue shirts. They were obviously joking with her.

Posted by: Steve at April 26, 2006 10:55 AM
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