By Ben Shalev, in haaretz.com
In an interview with Israeli singer-songwriter, Etti Ankri, read of personal conviction in wearing modest clothing and a headcovering.
A few years ago, Ankri began covering her hair, a choice that surely did not help her career. But here, too, she had no choice. "I yearned to put on a head covering," she says.
Can you explain this?
"No stage in the process of becoming religious comes because 'someone told me to do it.' It happened by itself. At first I would go out as usual, wearing a miniskirt and ... then I felt my legs were exposed so I put on pants under the skirt. And then I started feeling that my arms were exposed, so I started wearing a blouse over tank tops, and then I started feeling that my head was exposed. I really felt this. At first I only wore a head covering when I was preparing food for Shabbat. I told myself it's more aesthetic. Then I started wearing it on Shabbat. Then during the week as well, but only inside the house, and if someone came in, I would immediately take it off. It's funny. After all, covering up is for modesty, and when someone comes in you take it off?
"Afterward I allowed myself to go out like that into the courtyard, and then to the supermarket. It was very hard, and in this way I did it in stages. A friend who doesn't wear a head covering told me before I started wearing one, 'When I light candles I wear a head covering and when I take it off, I feel like something is leaving me.' And that is exactly the feeling. But it's impossible to explain it. It's an internal desire."
The last stage was to go on stage wearing a head covering. "I was embarrassed. I admit it," Ankri confesses. "I felt as if my head was on fire."
The difficulty in going up on stage wearing a head covering did not stem only from embarrassment, says Ankri, "but also from the thought that if I am wearing a head covering then maybe I should stop performing altogether, and that would be a really strong disengagement."