Recently, while traveling, my husband and I sought special gifts to bring home to our children and grandchildren. He had spent a couple of months in Israel, and agreed that the beautiful cashmere scarves were lovely, but he was not able to purchase one. Everywhere we went we saw many beautiful women of all ages wearing these lovely scarves, modestly covering their heads. I had brought a scarf from home, and wore it around my neck keeping it available to cover my head in the places where head covering was appropriate. In our Quaker church, I am not required to cover my head, but I remembered visiting many churches that asked women to cover their heads, and I was prepared to show my respect.
Bob carefully explained that the scarves worn by the women of the Muslim faith were a sign of gender bias and oppression. I greatly appreciate his ability to explain to me his concern and the stand he needed to take. His spirit was very sensitive to these issues. Bobs selected many lovely gifts—books, pieces of art, and other trinkets—to bring home to the family.
We agreed that if I wanted to purchase a piece of jewelry or an accessory for myself, or as a gift, I could. As a woman of choice, I will tell you that I purchased three lovely cashmere accessory scarves, to gift to my daughters. They are not to hide their heads or their hair, but I expect our lovely daughters will enjoy the warmth and beauty of the gift.
“Let not yours be the external adorning with interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; But let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (I Peter 3:3-4).
Contributed by Joe Lynne Rader, Silverton Friends