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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Confession Time

I have joined the ranks of the robed. I pretend I have not, but I have.

It has become common custom among religious Jewish women to wear special Shabbos robes. They, of course, have long sleeves and high necks, and reach the ground. They're also embroided and trimmed with gold and sparklies and are quite festive and feminine. The idea is that the exhausted woman, after taking care of her house and family and preparing for the Sabbath, can just zip the robe on and be comfortably dressed, and in something more washable than her good suits. She just needs to pop on the matching snood or a wig, and she's even set for guests.

These robes are expensive, though. and much too elaborate for my tastes. Also, I was brought up in a way that says you don't entertain company in your bathrobe, no matter how lovely it is. You certainly don't sit on your front porch and watch the kids play in one, nor do you let your daughter run around in the streets in one. Yet, they do.

But there is something attractive about the idea of tossing on a single, modest garment between the hasty pre-Shabbat shower and lighting candles. And, sure. I don't often have guests, nor does Jonathan often bring someone home unexpectedly. But, still, l'kvod Shabbat - for the honor of Shabbat - it's nice to have something special.

So. I bought a dress. It's empire waist, which is *not* my best style, but the waist hits me low enough that I don't look pregnant. It's also a dark sage green velour. Sage green is one of my colors; velour is. Velour. And, betwee the shower and the candle lighting, I can just pop it over my head, and poof. Modestly clad, warm, comfortable. And it's extremely simple - no buttons, or embroidery or gilding or sparlies. Just a plain bodice and skirt. And it's very snuggly and pleasant to touch.

Technically, it's a *dress*. It's sold as a dress, and I could, if I wished, wear it to work. It's priced much lower than the robes, too. And if we did have Friday night guests, I'd feel like I was properly clothed, not in my bathrobe.

But I use it in the same way and I think of it in the same way. I mean, I have yet to wear anything under it. It's made Friday nights very pleasant. And I seriously can't see wearing it outside. Therefore, so far as I'm concerned, it's a robe.

*Sigh*

Comments

It sounds both pretty and comfortable. I haven't seen the robe custom yet myself; I wonder if it hasn't caught on in Pittsburgh, or if I need to get out more. :-)

hmmm

it makes utterly perfect sense to me ...

I had a gown like that, batik, very thick cotton, to my ankles, to my wrists, that I wore to create quiet sacred space. Relaxed, quiet, yet still ... reserved for the transition from working me to ritual me, my personal rituals of prayer and meditation.

Something apart, but still meant to allow you *rest*, which is what this time is about, too.

B

Re: hmmm

The problem is that of assimilation, I think. This is a far more right-wing religious neighborhood than either of us have ever lived in before - Jonathan grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, which is a bastion of Modern Orthodoxy, and while I actually grew up not too far from here, we left just as the current crowd was beginning to come in, and our old neighborhood is Park Slope - one Orthodox synagogue and a very modern congregation. Only three of us even bothered to cover our hair full time, and one was our rebbitzen, our rabbi's wife.

So, we're trying to stay *us* in a community that almost enforces conformity. So, Jonathan retains his crocheted yarmulkes and I don't wear wigs, and even if we do wear suits every now and again, we mostly don't, and, of course, we watch television and read sf and fantasy books and I write and read slash, and I'm sure my husband has things in his personal folder I'm as happy not seeing. But. We're also using oil for our menorah, and Jonathan owns a black hat and I have my robe thing, and even if it's practical and comfortable and, as Brigid put it, makes a good and proper separation from weekday to Shabbat, it feels like I'm giving in.

Then again, I read a gay mystery while sitting in a kosher fastfood place this past Thursday, so maybe I'm not so "assimilated."

It sounds so COMFY. Better than my pink terrycloth bathrobe for sure...

http://www.justmysize.com

And it is very comfy. And non-restrictive and you can forget it's actually on. Unless your SO s spending time patting it.

Not a shabbos robe!

Well, at least it's officially a dress. :)

I like the dress. It looks pretty, and nice. The fact it's easy care and comfy just makes it better.

I think that on the grand scheme of things, the Shabbos robe is one that you shouldn't worry about. I suspect the idea, of an outfit that is special and only for the day is not a new one. And even if you had remained in the old neighborhood, a dress just for Shabbat would have been a good idea. This isn't a pink chenille bathrobe with say, Hebrew apliques on the back. It's a way of honoring the holiday.

Heck, I don't even go to church very often, but when I do, I almost always wear the same outfit. Because it's clean, pretty, and meets a certain modesty requirement.

(Ok, as an Episcopalian, this means that tube tops and short shorts are about the only no-goes. But I think it's tacky to wear a midriff shirt during church services. Shouldn't flash when getting communion).


But I don't think of a Shabbat robe as being a seperation from the outside world. No more so than wearing an ankle length, long sleve dress would be normally. It's just picking up a good idea.

Besides, if you got the embroidered version, it would be a little too much like a 70's cocktail party full of caftans. And if Q would wear it, you know you shouldn't.

I've always had Shabbat clothes - skirts and tops I mostly reserve just for synagogue, although my personal style is relatively casual even then - I like sweaters and full skirts as opposed to suits - and I will wear them to work as well. I just also have clothes I wear to work but not to synagogue - nice sweatshirts, long sleeved t-shirts, denim and knit skirts. And I have Shabbat hats, as well. Snoods are indoors or weekday wear around here, and I've adopted *that* custom without qualms, since real hats are nicer for synagogue. It is considered meritorious to set aside special things for the Sabbath - a special food, a new item of clothing, things like that.

So, it's the garment itself - and as I really like it, and as Jonathan really likes it, I'm just going to be happy I found something that does the job on my terms. And really, what else is there?