As I was walking home on Friday, carrying too many things as usual, a middle aged religious woman gave me a full-body stare, up and down.
She then yelled at me, "hakol b’hutz!" (or something along those lines – meaning, "everything is out there," and referring, of course, to my body parts).
Taken a bit aback, I gave her a totally confused, who-do-you-think-you-are look in response and turned onto the path that leads into my apartment building.
Everything’s out there? Um, no, not quite. I was wearing a skirt that was slightly above the knees with a tank top that was definitely not cut all that low. After all, it was about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius) outside, and I was still sweating from the slight fever I had had the previous night through that morning.
Yes, I do live on the outskirts of a fairly religious neighborhood – Kiryat Moshe – but when I say outskirts, I really mean outskirts. I live on the main road, pretty close to the hotels and the rail bridge.
I have no problem with anyone else’s religious beliefs, traditions and ways of dress, so it irks me that this woman had the nerve to comment on mine. This is not Saudi Arabia, and I was not dressed inappropriately for the weather.
As my friend Liat and I were discussing after the incident, some ultra-Orthodox people (and I say some because I have many, many ultra-Orthodox friends who would do no such thing) spend so much time focusing on being righteous toward God that they have no respect for individual human beings.