General Question

Jude's avatar

What form of Judaism (details inside)?

Asked by Jude (32112points) May 18th, 2010

If I sound ignorant here, I’m truly sorry.

My girlfriend and I were at the airport coming home from New York, yesterday and we came across this girl (I would say that she was in her early to mid twenties) wearing a long, black/coat dress (?) and a silver necklace (with a particular design). She was holding a small book of some sort and reading it/praying while rocking forward and back. She actually had two different books. One white and one black.

The poor girl looked as nervous as heck because we were about to bored the plane. She also had the most beautiful, hypnotizing eyes and when she looked at you, it was as if she was looking into your soul (if you believe in that sort of thing =)).

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45 Answers

janbb's avatar

She would definitely be an Orthodox Jew of some sort and she was praying (or “davening”.) She was very likely from one of the Hassidic groups but not necessarily.

Jude's avatar

@janbb Thank-you.

Jude's avatar

***board the plane.

janbb's avatar

@jjmah glad you corrected it, teach. :-)

dpworkin's avatar

Oh, planes are boring. What made you think she was Jewish at all? She could have been a nutcase or a member of a cult.

Jude's avatar

She stood beside me while we were waiting to get on the plane. I caught a glimpse of her name. Last name, Pollack.

She seemed awfully serious during prayer and afterward. When she looked over at me a few times, finally I smiled and said “hi”. She smiled and said “hi” back. She was a beautiful woman.

dpworkin's avatar

I’m sorry. I don’t get where the Jewish part comes in.

Jude's avatar

Nevermind. I feel silly.

dpworkin's avatar

I didn’t mean to make you feel silly. I was hoping to figure it out.

gailcalled's avatar

Did you notice any Hebrew script on the books she was using.

Do Hassidic females daven? And would they daven in public? And would they daven without a minyan?

Jude's avatar

Her first name was Chava. I didn’t get a good look at what she was reading, no.

@dpworkin I guess that I was assuming that she was Jewish by the name.

dpworkin's avatar

Well, see the questions @gailcalled asked are very salient. I don’t know of any Orthodox Jewish women who daven in public. I think you met a very idiosyncratic woman. (And an Orthodox woman cannot form a part of a minyan.)

janbb's avatar

Yes, they certainly can pray not in a minyan, and they do daven and they do in public. Orthodox Jews pray three times a day on their own; morning, afternoon and evening prayers. I believe you were correct in your assumptions @jjmah. So there you have it; three Jews and at least four different opinions! We are a contentious lot, aren’t we?

janbb's avatar

Oh – but we all do agree that Orthodox women would not be able to form part of a minyan – the ten Jews who are required to be present for formal prayer servces.

dpworkin's avatar

When have you seen a woman davening Maariv in public, @janbb?

janbb's avatar

On airplanes.

Jude's avatar

Nikki wrote:

The book was small and square and the writing was not in Roman letters. It could have been Hebrew or Arabic. It was far away, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Greek. It was similar (probably the same, honestly) to the book that the guy next to us had and she was dressed similarly to his wife. Those things make me think that she was probably following a similar faith. The people next to us were definitely Orthodox Jews of some kind.

Her expressions and body language made me think that she was nervous about the flight and saying a prayer for a safe one. Maybe, that would explain why she would be davening (?) in public if that is an out of the ordinary behavior? Just throwing out a guess..

What’s a Minyan? And what are the answers to Gail’s questions?

dpworkin's avatar

They let Jews on airplanes?

janbb's avatar

@jjmah For definition of a minyan see my last answer but one.

Response moderated
dpworkin's avatar

Actually @janbb, I learned something new today from you. That’s really interesting that women daven in public. I would have thought it were too progressive a phenomenon, since women are not required to perform mitzvot. I think it’s great that it’s allowed when not required.

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb; You are contentious, but I am salient.

Traditionally Orthodox Jews lived within walking distance of their Synagogue and did their praying and davening either at home or in shul. And I think of Hassidic men only as doing this.

dpworkin's avatar

Oh! So @jjmah, what this means for your question is that I might have been wrong, and you might have encountered an Orthodox Jew. So did the husband have sidecurls? Did he wear a round, fur hat, or a wide-brimmed Fedora and a caftan? If so, they were probably Chassidim, although the jewelry part throws me off a little, too. (As opposed to the Jewery part.)

gailcalled's avatar

Here’s some complex discussions of the role of Orthodox Jewish women and prayer. Scroll down to middle section. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_services#Role_of_women

No agreement from any sect on anything, as expected.

And did the woman have a wig on or head scarf?

Jude's avatar

@gailcalled No. Her hair was tied up (bun), and when she was on the plane, she took her clip (or hair tie) out and let her hair down.

janbb's avatar

@all If she were young and not married, she would not be wearing a wig. There are also “modern Orthodox” Jews who do not cut their hair, and can be quite fashionable and with-it and in the world. We have probably discussed this poor unknown woman to death. If Nikki had observed whether she opened her prayer book from the “back”, we would have the definitive answer. Suffice it to say, it was very likely a Jewish woman you observed, @jjmah .

Jude's avatar

Thanks, jellies.

janbb's avatar

Having said my conclusive words on the subject, I just had another thought. It’s possible if she was dark haired and very beautfiful that she was a Sephardic or Syrian Jew; that is, a Jew from the Middle East rather than Europe. Many of them are quite Orthodox and many of them are very beautiful and dress very fashionably. There is a very large community of Syrian Jews who live in Brooklyn and have summer homes in my area in New Jersey. I’m guessing that’s the beast you spotted, @jjmah .

Jude's avatar

@janbb Thank-you!

Yes, she was strikingly beautiful (black hair and dark, dark eyes). Both my girlfriend and I thought so.

dpworkin's avatar

Sfard sighting!

janbb's avatar

Sfard as the eye can see?

Jude's avatar

Jew and lone gentile group hug?

janbb's avatar

Not afraid you’ll be crushed by the likes of us, sweetie?

gailcalled's avatar

@janbb @dpworkin: Lulav to you both.

Jude's avatar

Na ah. Coming at you with wide open arms…

janbb's avatar

Here I am, sugar.

We’d better watch out, @dpworkin is getting excited now.

janbb's avatar

@gailcalled I’m not ignoring you – I just don’t have any great Shavouth puns up my sleeve. Esroggy a problem for me.

(G-d, I love these little unmodded backwaters of Fluther. So few and far between.)

dpworkin's avatar

Isru talking about Shavuos or Sukkos? Get it straight, you chag.

janbb's avatar

You gonna samaech me?

dpworkin's avatar

Right in the shebeMalchus.

janbb's avatar

(Ah – promises, promises!)

Were you watching baseball last night and counting the ‘omers, PD?

dpworkin's avatar

I anticipated that question. Don’t lag.

gailcalled's avatar

B’hommer.

dpworkin's avatar

Or in fronnamer.

janbb's avatar

Stop yidding around and answer the question.

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