Now I’m here. 6 weeks in. I’ve come to understand the shorts and t- shirt situation. On school swim trips the fashion here is for girls to wear shorts and t- or tank over bathing suits. They swim in that. But that’s girls only. It seems to filter into mixed swimming too.
So I said to my friends – if we go mixed swimming the rule is my 13 yr old has to wear the frum-kini as I like to call it. The dreaded swim dress. My daughter’s stomach churns at the thought. Ok – so then we won’t go mixed swimming. And the truth is – you can get around that here. There are seperate swimming pools and separate beaches. Earl has decisively said that he doesn’t want to go mixed swimming. ( I can’t figure out if it’s for halachic reasons or because he’s happy to be left alone?). But still the girls will wear shorts. Ok so I now need to buy shorts. So now if we do go swimming to a mixed pool do I let Mic wear long baggy shorts and a long sleeve t- shirt?
The other thing is I came to Israel to be more Israeli. To eliminate the gashmius mentality and live a very real life here. So far we are living on a much lower standard. And some of us are reeling. But some of us are rolling with the punches. We are all lacking sleep and the constant rush and running around is taking its toll on our usual cheery natures. Also the lack of stability and routine is pushing hubby over the edge. He’s frazzled.
So here I stand. So many many people that are not chareidi ha e told me the same thing. ” tznius is an issue all over the Jewish world. This is the thing today. The girls are pushing the limits.”
Across the broad spectrum of chardal, Dati leumi, and all the various facets I have been told not to make an issue. They are good girls. Good middos. It’s about their relationship with Hashem. And the mothers with older girls are beaming with pride as to the accomplishments of the daughters in both the secular and the religious sectors. Whether their daughters are still in high school or in the workforce or National Service or in the army. There is a national pride, a Jewish pride and real nachas.
I’m sure they are still very real problems in each family. And it appears to me that when the time is right after batmitzvah the girls have an awareness of right and wrong. And I also see my daughter very happy to be in a community that accepts her for who she is and not judging her because she is wearing sandals. She is not labeled “not frum enough”.
And to be truthful while we still aspire to learn Torah and be spiritually enriched and grow as people; we always dressed in a Dati leumi fashion.
I don’t impose that my children need to wear socks – I never have.
I just don’t want my friends to judge me, as if I’ve gone down a level. Because really I am just being real with who I am and who my children are. And to my darling friend Mikki – if I donned chareidi garb just for a year I would be in the loony bin here thereafter!!! Because it’s not only how you dress- it’s the phone you have, it’s how you let your children dress, from eight years old they have to be wearing stockings, socks are no longer an option. The hechshers you can eat, every aspect of your life is affected. There is so much more involved to be chareidi in Israel than just the way you dress. And I say that with love. It’s very different here.
We are really scratching the surface of Who we are and deciding where we are going.