"Some women come to bring their children to school without a shaitel (wearing a tichel instead)," he said, also noting the insufficient lengths of sleeves and skirts. T"he point is not to embarrass these ladies in a any way. We just want to the Kfar to have a chassidishe environment and the Rebbe emphasized wearing a shaitel." Rabbi Ashkenazi said his wife will be going through the photos and personally inviting women seen in the photos for a a personal 'pep talk'.
Kfar Chabad Rabbi Mordechai Ashkenazi told COLlive his plan to have untznius women photographed is not to embarass them.
Rabbi Mordechai Shmuel Ashkenazi, Rov of the Kfar Chabad village in central Israel, has had it with local women who are not adhering to the chassidic dress code.
The rabbi and author of acclaimed halachic compilations has gathered the principals of the girls schools and preschools this past Motzei Shabbos to discuss tznius standards.
"Some women come to bring their children to school without a shaitel (wearing a tichel instead)," he said, also noting the insufficient lengths of sleeves and skirts.
During the meeting he suggested hiring a female photographer who would photograph women in questionable clothing when they drop off their kids at school.
In a phone conversation with COLlive.com on Monday, Rabbi Ashkenazi said his wife will be going through the photos and personally inviting women seen in the photos for a a personal 'pep talk'.
"My Rebbetzin will look at the photos. If she does identify who is in it, she will then speak to them about the importance of modesty," he said.
Asked why he chose this course of action, the rabbi answered: "Do you have any other suggestions for me? I have written a letter a few times without any results."
He added that "the point is not to embarass these ladies in a any way. We just want to the Kfar to have a chassidishe environment and the Rebbe emphasized wearing a shaitel."
Kfar Chabad, the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in the Holy Land, was founded by the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, on Iyar 21 of 1949.
Residing in the village is dependant on an appointed committee, and residents are required to sign an agreement to follow a set of rules and regulations.
The Mayor of Kfar Chabad, Binyomin "Yami" Lifshitz told the haredi website bhol.co.il that the issue "was not merely immodest clothing, but rather chassidic standards of dress."
First of all, there are real halakhic issues with wearing a sheitel, wig. Many haredi poskim prefer women do not wear wigs, preferring instead that they completely cover their hair with a tichel, a type of beret-like cap made out of malleable material.
In fact, one of the prominent authorities who rules this was is the third Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbe, known as the Tzemach Tzedek, who was a well-known halakhic (Jewish law) authority.
Most hasidic groups require women to wear a wig with a hat worn on top of it.
Yeshivish (i.e., non-hasidic haredim) rabbis generally allow wigs but prefer tichels, and many women from yeshivish communities were tichels except for special occasions or when working outside the haredi community.
Sefardim, following the rulings of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, will not wear wigs at all.
All Chabad rebbes before the last one wanted women to wear tichels, not wigs.
Modern Orthodox do any of the above or, if their hair is not long, do not cover it at all. In Israel, Orthodox Zionist women heavily favor tichels.
Many major halakhic authorities bad wearing wigs that make a woman's hair look more attractive than it really is. Human hair wigs are especially frowned own.
As you can see from the above, no one besides Chabad under the last rebbe wants women to wear wigs but not tichels.
Because there is no halakhic support for the Rebbe's position.
The Rebbe was not a posek (authority on Jewish law), and halakha wasn't something he was overly concerned with. (Before you knee jerk Rebbe-defenders get all worked up, remember there are a number of letters in the Rebbe's own hand where he wroites that he is not a posek.)
At any rate, his position on wigs was to encourage women to wear them because otherwise many would not regularly cover their hair at all. That was also his rationale for allowing wigs that are far and above more beautiful than a woman's real hair.
While the halakhic validity of his opinions can (and probably should be) be debated, one thing seems absolutely clear: Rabbi Mordechai Ashkenazi has turned wearing a wig as opposed to a tichel into some bizarre type of affinity test for Chabad women, and has attached to that accusations of immodesty that do not apply.
None of the wives of the first three Chabad-Lubavitch rebbes would be properly and modestly dressed according to Rabbi Ashkenazi.
And that speaks volumes about Rabbi Ashkenazi's qualifications as a posek or as a town rabbi.