My daughter, three granddaughters, and I were getting ready to leave the walking track at Weber Park when she walked past. Because she was covered completely from head to toe and wore a black veil covering everything except her eyes, my granddaughters stared at her curiously. Living in an observant Jewish neighborhood, they had never seen anyone dressed that way. Observing their stares, the woman turned around and removed her veil. Behind it was a beautiful young woman. Smiling, she said to my granddaughters, “I wear this because it is part of my religion not to show my face to men.”
“Your face is very pretty,” said my youngest granddaughter.
She went on to explain that she could show her face to her husband, father, brothers, sons, and her grandfathers. Otherwise, her face must be covered in the presence of men as protection for her.
My daughter explained that Orthodox Jews have the same rules and concepts although their rules only apply to hair not to the face.
“It’s interesting how people can come from different places and end up at the same idea,” I said.
While I don’t subscribe to any religious beliefs that lead to women being restricted, her removing her veil and letting us see her face made her particular beliefs much less threatening. Indeed, the moment when she removed her veil for us was a special one for all of us; and thus, one veil at a time, some animosity was stripped away.