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March 10, 2008

Mea Shearim's Secret Rooms

It has secret entrances. Inside, extreme secrecy is maintained. Two relatives or friends may be in adjoining rooms but never know the other is inside. It is a place of forbidden pleasure, and inside are women only – haredi women.

What goes on inside these sheltered, cloistered walls?

Cosmetics, as Ha'aretz reports:

…The Ye'elat Chen beauty salon, managed by [Yaffa] Larrie, has been operating for 24 years in Jerusalem, not far from Mea Shearim and Kikar Shabbat. The side entrance on the main street is suited to women who want to steal in without being seen. Behind the simple door a surprise awaits. A pleasant and aesthetic space divided into cubicles. Several rooms have a secret exit to the salon's backyard. They are meant for the wives of leading Hasidic rabbis, women from extremist Hasidic sects, along with several female MKs who have heard about Larrie. In other words, all those who have to maintain their privacy.

There is nobody more expert than Larrie when it comes to social sensitivities. "Sometimes a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law come to us, or a sister and her sister-in-law," says Larrie. "Neither of them knows that the other is being treated at the same time. It's not legitimate to talk about it. We understand that the name of the game is discretion."

Larrie is the "Ronit Raphael" (owner of a chain of medical-cosmetic clinics) of the ultra-Orthodox public. She is a religious woman who wears a wig, who brings the latest innovations in the field to ultra-Orthodox women. When she finished a cosmetics course she consulted with a Jerusalem kabbalist, and he advised her to offer her services to the ultra-Orthodox public.

"I was shocked," she says. "I knew that this was a public without much money, that it's not acceptable. At the time even the word 'cosmetics' could not be published in the newspaper. I didn't know what was permitted and what was forbidden." But she did as the kabbalist said. And slowly but surely women began to come. Over time she learned to distinguish among the various streams and Hasidic sects, knowing who were more open and those who were less so. She knows the limitations of each woman. This one will absolutely refuse to remove her head covering, others are not permitted to open a single button in their blouse.

Annual treat

In a random visit to the salon, the wife of an ultra-Orthodox former minister was spotted. But aside from the ultra-Orthodox elite, poorer women come as well. "I have women with 17 children. Someone came with a wrinkled bill in her hand and told me, 'this is what I've saved. Give me a treatment.' Some collect the change in a small envelope in the kitchen, for a treatment. I give them materials and teach them how to be their own cosmeticians. For them the annual beauty treatment is a refuge from the routine.

"Sometimes they tell me that they didn't sleep the night before because they were so excited. I'm their television, I'm a glimpse at magazines from abroad," says Larrie.

Sima Salzburg, who researched the attitude toward beauty in the extremist Toldot Aharon Hasidic community in Jerusalem, as part of her doctoral thesis at the Hebrew University, discovered that one's external appearance is of great significance even among the most extreme.

She says that cosmetic treatments are common mainly for young women. "An 18-year-old girl who is about to about to be introduced to a potential match doesn't have the time to impress her partner or his mother with her qualities, and therefore her external appearance is more important than anything else," she says. "The meeting with the designated partner is very short: from one meeting in the Hasidic sects to several meetings in more open communities."

Salzburg found that young married women in Toldot Aharon use makeup under the noses of the "supervisors," older women who are in charge of the behavior of the younger women. "They use neutral colors," she says.

Similarly, women use the wonders of cosmetics in order to bypass halakhic (religious law) prohibitions. For example, permanent makeup avoids the inner struggle of women who cannot apply makeup on Shabbat. Until now, many applied makeup in spite of the specific prohibition.

In this area there are halakhic problems, says Salzburg, because some consider searing the skin as a type of tattoo (which is strictly forbidden by halakha). "But for now it's an unsupervised arena. The rabbis are apparently avoiding a confrontation with women in an area that is so close to their hearts," she explains.

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An author has written a book about being born and raised in Britain in a Punjabi Sikh household. He writes:-

'Parents of Westernized offspring are keen for them to marry Indian spouses to keep alive the traditions of religiosity, illiteracy, alcoholism, manual labor and domestic violence,' he says. 'Sikh girls don't have personalities, they have post-traumatic stress disorder', he swipes.

Thank God we Jews are not like that (especially as regards a tradition of manual labor).

In some Muslim countries, veiled women also go to the beauty parlor. Although no one will see it (except their husbands, and perhaps female friends/relatives), it's a release & helps their self esteem.

someone intimated that baruch lanner molested girls at his position as principal of hillel in deal, nj. can anyone confirm this?

I think that was part of the charges against him.

i don;t understand how she gets her publicity. If she can't advertise in the district and no one talks about it...how do they know?
Also why are they so against make-up?
Pretty sad they had to do this in secret as if it;s some sort of Brothel...maybe there is a secret brother for the men there that no one knows about because it's so secret.

Hey jj, you were in Hillel too?

"someone intimated that baruch lanner molested girls at his position as principal of hillel in deal, nj. can anyone confirm this?"

That's what he was convicted of in court, and what he served prison time for.

She gets her publicity by word of mouth. Best advertising.

She gets her publicity by word of mouth. Best advertising.

'But for now it's an unsupervised arena. The rabbis are apparently avoiding a confrontation with women in an area that is so close to their hearts," she explains.'

A interesting observation. years ago when learning a YU we were covering the issue of married women and head coverings.

The issue of sheitl came up ie it can look better than some womens own hair. Besides the standard answer of that the halacha pertains tothe womans own hair the rebbe said historically and sociologically in fact the Rabbis in europe wer enot happy with sheitl's. The orthodox women were following the wayss of the non Jews by wearing them because they felt it was prettier then a hat or tichel. But the Rabbanim did not want to take on their wives.

I beleive R Ovadia Yoseef as a contmporary non chassidic posek says if you wear a sheitl you have to wear a hat on top.

( I do know some chassidic charedei women wear a sheitl and a head covering on top. )

'But for now it's an unsupervised arena. The rabbis are apparently avoiding a confrontation with women in an area that is so close to their hearts," she explains.'

A interesting observation. years ago when learning a YU we were covering the issue of married women and head coverings.

The issue of sheitl came up ie it can look better than some womens own hair. Besides the standard answer of that the halacha pertains tothe womans own hair the rebbe said historically and sociologically in fact the Rabbis in europe wer enot happy with sheitl's. The orthodox women were following the wayss of the non Jews by wearing them because they felt it was prettier then a hat or tichel. But the Rabbanim did not want to take on their wives.

I beleive R Ovadia Yoseef as a contmporary non chassidic posek says if you wear a sheitl you have to wear a hat on top.

( I do know some chassidic charedei women wear a sheitl and a head covering on top. )

Someone intimated- rather - that Lanner was transferred to Hillel in Deal after he was well known to have molested tens of girls in NCSY. The reason being (allegedly) because the Hillel in Deal is composed of mostly Sephardim (so who cares if he molests them, they're Sephardim...).

Shalom.
Very simular to reports fro Islamic Respublic of Iran

Boruch Lanner did not go to prison because of molesting girls. he was convicted of improperly touching one girl once.

Sadly for this uproven charge he langushed in jail for nearly 4 years.

May God have mercy on you all for your vile and baseless accusations.

I know Boruch well and I will tell you that he is innocent of any crime. These idiots who need to sneak into a beauty parlor Yikes!!! the frum nonsense is making me sick.

Improperly touching one girl is innocence? Making lewd remarks to minors, and kneeing guys in the balls is innocence? I know Lanner, too, and I've witnessed it with my own eyes. He is a sick puppy. Maybe prison isn't the right venue- maybe the nuthouse is.

You can call me all the names you want. It's nothing I haven't heard before from the Lannerians.

what has secret beauty salons got to do with Lanner? Was he spotted visiting one?

No beauty parlour, open or secret, can beautify Lanner's moral ugliness. (That he is physically ugly is poetic, but irrelevent to his character).

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