Being Orthodox and being a woman is not a synonymous of sitting at home all day long cooking for the Shabbat dinner to come while the husbands are out and about praying or working.
Modern Orthodox women, such as the one of the Chabad Lubavitch of Crown Height in Brooklyn, are the pillars of their community and their efforts go behind raising their own children. The dark clothes and misconceptions of what being Orthodox and modest means have been replaced in my images by a life that is stronger, a community that is bound to one another not only through tradition, worship of God, but through love, respect for one another and family life entirely depending upon the role of the women as the “Daughters of the King,” (God).
The men, in most of my photos, are in the background as a presence, but not as dominance as it is almost impossible to notice when one just steps foot on Kingston Avenue, the heart of the Crown Heights Chabad community. Women may be separated in religious functions and ceremonies, but they are equal to men in all aspects of Jewish life, what’s different it’s just that their presence is, most often than not, ignored by the outside viewer. I choose to underline it. In my photos, I choose to celebrate these women, often seen as the shadows of their men, but who are indeed quite the opposite.
The project I am presenting here is mostly photos of the women within the Crown Heights Chabad Community in Brooklyn, I have been working with since July 2010, my interest would be to venture within the oldest community of Jewish Orthodox women in the Russian town of Lyubavichi where the Chabad communities of the world first come from. And, later end my exploration in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of the Holy City of Jerusalem in Israel. I think the juxtaposition of the more modern Chabad women of Brooklyn, the historic women from where most of the Lubavitch worldwide came from and the most conservative ones of Erez Israel could bring us closer to the true concept of what is the real role of an Orthodox Jewish woman.
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