London, May 21 (EIANS) — Orthodox Jewish women who cover their hair with real hair wigs have been ordered to stop, because the hair used comes from Hindu women.
Following an investigation, during which an orthodox rabbi from London was dispatched to India to monitor the making of wigs, the women have been told that in future only synthetic wigs would be acceptable because it would take just one Indian hair to contaminate a whole wig.
Reports said the main issue apparently was the fact that Hindu women are shorn during a religious purification ceremony and therefore the hair itself would be seen as being linked with idol worship.
The ultra-conservative rabbi, Dayan Ahron Dovid Dunner, who travelled to India to see the wigs being made, was quoted by the Jewish Chronicle as saying: “I appeal to women’s conscience and sense of devotion to Judaism for them to refrain from wearing any human hair wig until guidelines can be put in place to give certain wigs… a religious seal of approval.”
While in India, Dunner watched carefully near a temple near Chennai as barbers severed the long tresses of women and men, and saw it fall in a trough, from which it was collected to be sold to foreign buyers.
Through a translator, he interviewed barbers, donors and temple guides, making copious notes. Then he reported back to Rabbi Sholom Elyashiv, leader of the Orthodox Lithuanian Torah Jewry, in Israel.
Elyashiv is one of the most respected authorities in the ultra-orthodox world. It was he who had rung Dunner and asked if he would go to India to check out some “disturbing reports”.
On Wednesday last week, Elyashiv issued a ruling that all wigs from India were non-kosher.
Jewish women who hide their hair have already been told not to use wigs made from European hair because these are too glamorous.
Jewish wig-makers, who claim they face a loss of thousands of pounds worth of hairpieces, have been told that manufacturers of synthetic wigs will not be allowed to profit by putting up their prices.
In New York, orthodox women have already burned their hairpieces on the pavement.
The Jewish Chronicle quoted Albert Obadia of Simmy’s, a Hendon-based company, as saying the ruling had already cost him £60,000. “We have 400 Indian sheitels which we cannot sell,” he said.
The move has plunged an international multimillion-pound industry into chaos and panic has flashed across the world from Israel to New York, India, Toronto and London.
© Copyright 2001-2003 IANS India Private Limited, New Delhi. Posted on Religioscope with permission.