Look at this photograph and think of the words that come to your mind.
You may think of oppressed or backward, you're likely also thinking Muslim. And you would be wrong. These women and girls are walking a street in Beit Shemesh, Israel. That's right, they're Jews.
I've been following Hannah Katsman's coverage of hyper-tzniut as it spreads around Israel and threatens to come to a Jewish community near you. In a backlash against secularism, extreme modesty has become common in many Jewish circles, with women even being approached in the streets by Haredim who are convinced that wig-wearing women are delaying the arrival of the Messiah.
The women above are adherents of an even more extreme offshoot that is being referred to as a cult by some. In addition to requiring women and girls to wear what amounts to burqas, they also must wear a minimum of 3 layers of clothing and are prohibited from bathing too frequently. They are also encouraged to walk in public attired in this way as often as possible in the belief that the Creator will see the display and bring about the Redemption.
I realize that you may believe I am throwing you a line about a peculiar burqa-wearing Jewish cult. I thought that the concept was absurd the first time I read about it, but you really have to run HERE and check out the latest sect that is shaming women in the name of God.