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Expect to be treated differently if not dressed tzniut?
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amother




OP


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 8:15 pm
we're thinking of moving to an OOT city. the city has two different areas and we're considering both areas. we recently spent a shabbat in area #1.

on shabbat, we met several people who live in area #2 but were spending shabbos in area #1. they all offered to host us when we come back to visit area #2.

on sunday, we decided to drive over to area #2 just to check out the shul and the area. we walked into the shul.

we're MO and I cover hair and dress tzniut on shabbat and at weekday events in the community I happen to go to. I don't otherwise wear tzniut or cover my hair during the week. so when we walked into the shul, I was in "normal" clothing. nothing trashy; just not the tzniut look. (husband was wearing a t-shirt and jeans and a knit kippah.)

at the shul, the associate rabbi and his wife happened to be in the building and we started talking to them. rabbi and husband talked amongst themselves, and I talked to the rabbi's wife.

the rabbi gave my husband is cell phone # and, unsolicited, offered to host us when we come back to visit area #2 for shabbat.

the rabbi's wife said something to me like, "if you want to come visit us for a shabbat, we have a couple hotels nearby."

it just struck me as a really odd thing to say since several others who attend that shul -- including her own husband -- offered to host us. we'd also talked to the senior rabbi on the phone and he offered to either host us himself or find a place for us.

I can't help but think that she judged me as not in the club because I wasn't dressed tzniut enough, and that if I had ran into her dressed in shabbos clothes, she would have offered to host us.

it's not a big deal, but am I right to be slightly offended by her judging me in this manner?
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amother




cornflower


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 8:22 pm
I think you are reading way too much into this. You don't know her.

But big picture - yes.
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OOTforlife




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 8:25 pm
I think what she said is weird, but I wouldn't jump to assume it's a tznius issue. If she thought that you weren't frum, then I would think that she'd be even more eager to host you for Shabbos or have you hosted. More eager than to host an already-frum person I mean. Just based on my experience in OOT communities.
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amother




Aubergine


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 8:25 pm
I don't know if your assumption is correct. I understand why you thought it was weird that she said that. it does seems really odd. even her husband was fine inviting you the way you were dressed. In general when people come to check out the community they stay at people for shabbos.
I wonder if anything you or your husband said made it sound like a hotel would be more comfortable for you so she gave that as an option?

I definitely understand you being taken aback by her saying that, just not sure if the reason you are thinking why she did it is the actual reason. I'm not saying you are wrong, just saying I'm not positive you are correct.
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MitzadSheini




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 8:43 pm
Could be anything- kid has a broken foot, she's got fallen arches and doesn't want to make up the bed, 10 yo had a massive tantrum about having to give up his room, and the Rabbi himself is the typical clueless male and does realise any of it so invited anyway.
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amother




Papaya


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 8:48 pm
You can dress however you see fit, but the nice thing about dressing tzniusdik and covering your hair is that it's a way of communicating to the world that you are religious and shomer shabbos.

My husband was once talking to some customers in yiddish when a woman wearing short sleeves walked in. He switched to English to allow her to understand the conversation. In perfect Yiddish, she yelled at him "What's wrong with you? Don't judge me! I'm just as Jewish as you are. "
My husband felt terrible that she was hurt by his actions, but how was he supposed to know that she was fluent in Yiddish?

What I'm trying to say is - how would the Rebbetzin be expected to infer that you were religious?
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amother




OP


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 9:08 pm
OP here... thanks for the responses. yeah, I'm not positive I'm correct, of course. it's just my instinct.

by the way, nothing I said would have made her thought that we wanted to stay in a hotel. what's weird is that her comment was totally out of the blue.


MitzadSheini wrote:
Could be anything- kid has a broken foot, she's got fallen arches and doesn't want to make up the bed, 10 yo had a massive tantrum about having to give up his room, and the Rabbi himself is the typical clueless male and does realise any of it so invited anyway.


if the rebbetzen couldn't personally host but wanted to be hospitable, I'd think she would have said something like, "you guys should come for a shabbos, we'd love to host you but I can't always host people, and if I can't, I'll find you someone else in the community who can"

amother [ Papaya ] wrote:
What I'm trying to say is - how would the Rebbetzin be expected to infer that you were religious?


I get what you're saying. from the context of our convo and our overall appearance, I would think it was pretty clear that we were at religious to some degree. husband was wearing a kippah, I told her where we live (a religious area), I told her who we had with stayed for shabbat (a very yeshivish rabbi).

might not have been clear to her that we were SS/SK. but even if it wasn't clear to her, it should have been clear enough that we were serious jews and a family they would want to join their OOT shul.
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amother




Magenta


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 9:30 pm
Is she a Rebbitzen or the Rabbi's wife.
I have lived in communities with each.
Growing up, the rabbi's wife, made it very well known, even before the Rabbi was hired, that she is a hard-working professional and not the community Rebbitzen. That her free time/Shabbos/Chagim are her time, not the community's. That she may be married to the Rabbi and the house may technically belong to the Shul,but with the exception of the downstairs office which had its own entrance, it was her home and private. Succot, they had a big succah and had an open house, but use your home bathroom before you come (she did not say that, but it was the sentiment). She did not host, she was not on the sisterhood, she was not on the chessed committee, or the welcoming committee. And I have lived in other communities with like minded Rabbi's wives.
The Rebbitzen in the community I currently live in, made sure to invite every family to her home for Shabbos lunch when they first assumed the pulpit. New families are invited within about a month of moving into the neighborhood. She is a chair if the chessed committee (and does-not just bosses), teaches kallahs and acts as an intermediary with nidda question if it is desired. At sisterhood event, she is often the person (but far from the only one) to share a dvar Torah.

The woman who you spoke to may be like the Rabbi's wife where I grew up. She may not be interested in having anyone in her home and can't imagine that anyone else would either and wouldn't "impose" it on them. She herself may prefer to stay in a hotel. The Rabbi might be clueless about his wife (or maybe just hopefully that she will change).

I live in an in-town MO community. Some people cover, some to varying degrees and some don't at all. Some cover elbows and wear only skirts which fall well below the knee and some wear pants. I cannot imagine that the Rabbi's wife /Rebbitzen was standoffish because of how you were dressed. I would assume it is just her personality.
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Flip Flops




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 9:46 pm
She may have meant it for your own comfort - she understood that you were coming to check out the area, and she probably just wanted to offer you another option if you weren't interested in being guests by random strangers.
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amother




Silver


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 9:54 pm
amother [ Papaya ] wrote:
You can dress however you see fit, but the nice thing about dressing tzniusdik and covering your hair is that it's a way of communicating to the world that you are religious and shomer shabbos.

My husband was once talking to some customers in yiddish when a woman wearing short sleeves walked in. He switched to English to allow her to understand the conversation. In perfect Yiddish, she yelled at him "What's wrong with you? Don't judge me! I'm just as Jewish as you are. "
My husband felt terrible that she was hurt by his actions, but how was he supposed to know that she was fluent in Yiddish?

What I'm trying to say is - how would the Rebbetzin be expected to infer that you were religious?


I am not trying to derail the thread, but I had a similar experience.
My highly sensory, oppositional nine year old was picked up from his chasidish yeshiva for slightly wetting his pants. I took him to work to a non chasidish neighborhood and stopped in a boys' shop to buy him a change of clothes.
He stood at the door while I bought pants. He insisted on a colorful shabos sweater hanging on the wall. There was a back and forth discussion between me, him and the helpful saleslady, since some styles and colors were not available in his size.
I translated his Yiddish, when the salesgirl said: "what do you think, you are the only ones speaking Yiddish?"
She was tznius according to all the Rabbis in the world, but she did not look like she could speak today's BP/Willy Yiddish, anymore than I look like I speak Chinese.
I felt very bad for inadvertently hurting a human being.
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challahchallah




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 10:04 pm
I would view it as one data point. Don’t read too much into it, but also be on alert for other signs of whether that community is a good fit. As others have said, it could totally be something not at all about you. On the other hand, you have limited data about this place so that inherently makes everything you see of greater significance. Maybe make a point to try to see more of the community, including some weekday things there and dress as you normally would.

ETA—To answer your title question, no you don’t have to expect to be treated differently, you just need the right place. Your dress is the norm in some communities.
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tichellady




 
 
 


Post  Wed, Sep 18 2019, 10:28 pm
It could be that. It could be a million other things that have nothing to do with you. I wouldn’t write anything off based on that comment
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Iymnok




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 2:22 am
I don’t get people getting upset that others don’t know their language repertoire.
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Rappel




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 2:26 am
Just from reading the OP:

Is it possible that the assistant rabbi's house is small/run down, and she thought you might be more upscale, or not want to share a room with all your kids for a Shabbat?
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DrMom




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 5:29 am
I think if there was another family who dressed in a more conspicuously "frum" manner whom they invited to stay in their home, then you'd have a better case for assuming this was due to your wardrobe choices.

Otherwise, I wouldn't read into it. Maybe they were renovating their guest room, or their guest room was already occupied, or their daughter was home from the army that weekend and they didn't want any in-house company, or maybe they have no place to accommodate sleepover guests, or maybe her husband sleepwalks, etc etc etc.
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amother




Tan


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 5:48 am
I am the rebbetzin in a small community. We could have people staying in our house every week, but in general, I would assume a couple would prefer to stay in the very nice nearby hotel. Especially a M.O couple, (M.O people tend to be better off), but to be honest I am not sure it would make a difference. I don't have a guest room with an ensuite, nor does our bedroom have an ensuite, so having sleepover guests (especially men) is very very hard for me.

If the couple had a small baby I might offer to host them since there is no eruv, but your husband's kippa would clue me in that you are likely shomer shabbos.
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amother




Tan


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 5:48 am
Also, I am guessing she is the one who washes and changes the linen, not her husband.
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zaq




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 7:12 am
I can’t speak for the rabbi’s wife and her intentions, but the

fact is that people will respond to you differently depending on your looks. Human nature. As a rule, we tend to be warmer towards those who look like us and cooler to those who look different, and the differences may be so subtle that only the insiders recognize them. I have gotten the cold shoulder —if not outright suspicion on the one hand or disdain on the other —from people both to the right and to the left of where I stand.

This is not limited to frum people. It’s universal. The more you look like a local, the better you are likely to be treated. An exception is if you’re in a store and look like someone likely to spend a lot of money, in which case you may be feted and fawned over no matter how you dress, as long as you don’t look like a lowlife or a criminal.
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amother




Teal


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 8:09 am
Please bear in mind that rebbetzins are people to. They have a life. They have circumstances just like all of us. They are human.

OP, I would assume that she's either not up to hosting now. Or she's trying to get you more comfortable accommodations than she can offer you.
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Raisin




 
 
 


Post  Thu, Sep 19 2019, 9:10 am
OP, if you met 2 women, one of whom was wearing a covered sheital and brown stockings and spoke english with a strong yiddish accent, and the other dressed similarly to you, went to the same camps and similar schools - which one would you rather invite for a shabbos meal?
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