‘Unorthodox’: Why Does Esty Shave Her Head within the Netflix Series?

by Jeremy Spirogis
Unorthodox Esty

The restricted sequence Unorthodox premiered on Netflix this previous March. Loosely primarily based on a memoir titled Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots, it’s an intense, however highly effective story a couple of younger girl discovering her voice in an arguably oppressive tradition. Many of the non secular, or conventional facets of Hasidic Jewish tradition are proven, relatively than talked about or “explained.” This is a characteristic of fine storytelling, after all: “show, don’t tell.” However, for viewers not as conversant in the Orthodox tradition, they might have some questions left unanswered concerning the neighborhood depicted in Unorthodox. For instance, why does Esty need to shave her head after she marries Yanky? And why do the married girls put on wigs and/or scarves?

[Spoiler alert: a couple of spoilers for Unorthodox under].

Why does Esty Shapiro need to shave her head after she will get married in ‘Unorthodox’?

Unorthodox Esty
Shira Haas as Esty Shapiro in Netflix’s Unorthodox | Anika Molnar/Netflix

In Unorthodox, one of the crucial emotionally harrowing scenes was when younger Esty has her head shaved, as different ladies look on. Esty sobs because the locks fall to the ground. Unorthodox does ever explicitly state why it’s taking place–however as a viewer, you’ll discover that each one married girls are sporting wigs, scares, or each. So, what’s the historical past behind that?

Refinery29 printed an article final yr concerning the conventional underpinnings behind the wig within the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood, just like the one proven within the Netflix sequence Unorthodox. Writer Rachel Lubitz wrote: “As with many aspects of Judaism, there is debate over what a sheitel really represents — and who it is really for.”

Rabbi Avram Mlotek informed the Refinery29 journalist that some non secular interpretations decide “woman’s hair to be nakedness and part of the alluring nature of the effeminate.” For instance, within the “Jewish religious law text the Talmud,” girls’s hair is described as “ervah,” translating to: “nakedness and impropriety.” Refinery29 continued:

[embedded content]

The custom of married Orthodox Jewish girls masking their hair has been round for hundreds of years, with girls first utilizing a material or a veil. It wasn’t till the 16th century that Jewish girls in Italy popularized the thought of sporting a wig as a masking, which really ended up inflicting an enormous debate amongst rabbis, who each condemned and condoned the apply of sporting them on modesty grounds.

Other web sites about Jewish custom and tradition state this concept behind the shaved-head custom: as soon as a lady is married, like Esty in Unorthodox, the one one that ought to see her hair is her husband.

Young Jewish girls are getting extra inventive with the custom — not like the Netflix sequence depicted

Unorthodox Esty and YankyUnorthodox Esty and Yanky
Amit Rahav as Yanky Shapiro and Shira Haas as Esty Shapiro in Unorthodox | Anika Molnar/Netflix

However, youthful girls are paving their very own manner in terms of the custom. Lubitz wrote that sure, married girls sporting wigs was seen “as more of a rule or a community standard than a choice.” However, for a lot of millennial girls, they’re increasing on the thought of what it appears like–and even deciding to not put on one in any respect. (Obviously, the primary character in Unorthodox didn’t precisely have the liberty to resolve such a factor).

“These young women are exploring their options when it comes to covering their hair, effectively creating their own unique relationships with these wigs and how they decide to wear them,” the piece learn.

However, for a lot of girls, it’s been a glance handed down from generations. It’s closely steeped in respect for one’s household. As one Orthodox Jewish girl defined to Lubitz:

My mom coated her hair, and her mom coated her hair, and her mom coated her hair. Who am I to take one thing that was so particular to my great-grandmother, my grandmother, and my mom, and break that stunning custom when it was one thing that was given to me?

Leave a Comment