Today is also Jewish New Year (2 day festival) so no school for me.
My synagogue is near a beach and there is a church very close by as well. I remember when I was younger being intrigued by the differences in “acceptable attire” for entering these houses of God.
Tzniut includes a group of laws concerned with modesty, in both dress and behavior. Normally, Tzniut is discussed in technical terms ie. how low or how high a female’s hemline should be, the length of sleeves, the form of dress, the number of square millimeters of skin that may be exposed, and so on.
Observant women cover their elbows; wear skirts which reach a few inches below the knee, often mid-calf; generally avoid skirts with slits, preferring instead kick-pleats; cover their collarbones; wear stockings and closed-toe shoes; avoid certain colors, especially bright red.
Even though I am not super observant, I still follow the laws of tzniut when I go to pray.
Imagine my surprise and confusion (as a young girl) seeing the church goers on their way to pray, going inside wearing singlet tops, sundresses and shorts, under which you could see their bikinis!
I have since travelled extensively and know that most Catholic Churches are less accepting of this casual dress, in fact churches in Europe are MUCH more conservative, either denying entry or offering shawls to people whose shoulders are uncovered. Even in my country town, people get dressed in their Sunday best to attend a service.
There are a couple of synagogues in Sydney where I refuse to go. Aside from the insular nature of the members, I’ve heard amusing stories about the way people “check you out” as you walk in. They give you the once over and then gossip about you, they aren’t there to pray, they are there to judge. To be honest, my sister and I can also be very judgemental of what people wear. My “best friend” who has her blinds and picnic blankets sewn into skirt suits wasn’t there today, so no update on her “special style”. I did see something adorable though, a mother wearing a red and white striped jumper and her two daughters in matching jumpers! Super cute.