This is how I did up side-curls nice and neat.

My expertise: nine brothers, one son. Modeling for you is the kiddo, whose hair was reluctant to grow. Hence the short curl.

My son and brother (and other brother)

On an ordinary day during the morning rush: grab a plastic cup from the pantry, grab the orange juice from the fridge. Poor about a quarter cup orange juice onto the cup. Then use a bit of orange juice to wet the sidecurl, comb the wet hair over the forehead. Push a pencil under the hair closest to the head. Now start twirling the hair around the pencil towards the face. Let the kid hold the pencil in place while you do the other one. It should be just a minute before the orange juice dries and the hair is nice and crispy.

On special occasions — put a Bobby pin into the curl.

DO NOT: mistaken payos for curling ribbon:


And chup doesn’t fly either. All the hair up top. Oy.

And this. What. What is this.

Don’t even know what that is. Hollywood messes up the sidecurls far too often. It is so simple, duh!

I gave a tour of Hasidic Williamsburg to a group of Mennonites, which are similar to Amish but maybe in some ways less insular. I think. That’s how they explained it to me.

Notice me in the jacket without a pretty hand sewn dress! I look so bad. So much like a shiksa, a bad Jewish girl. But wait. They are all not even Jewish!

The similarities between Hasidim and the Amish is striking. Both groups are incredibly insular in their way of thinking and have a world view that sees change, assimilation, integration as the destruction of their people. The women also behaved a lot like my childhood friends. Everyone was very careful to say the right and proper thing. Dare I say… repressed?

The one point in the tour that everyone broke into laughter was when I asked what kind of media they are allowed to watch, and then added on an impulse that came from my experience with Hasidim: “but don’t say anything that will get you in trouble!” and they all cracked up. They knew exactly what I meant. Whatever media you are watching that is verbotten, don’t mention that — everyone here can hear! The laugh was so knowing, so familiar.

But there were big differences too. The Hasidim sounded positively metropolitan next to our group and — all took pictures of us. One Hasidic woman came over and said “Good for you, you come here. We go to you in Amishtown, you should come back and enjoy the sites back!” Her confidence was wonderful Another difference: the Hasidic men are also a lot less timid.

What I realized is that both these groups believe in holding on to their traditions despite the changing tides around them. And when you try to preserve a way of life while you’re in the very enticing America with all its flashy colors and addictive ways, then you develop many similar methods: a unique language, dress and a rejection of popular entertainment. Both these groups have done it largely successfully.

Best rephrase the question. Are Hasidic Jewish men allowed to sleep in bed with their wives while on their menstrual period?


Hasidic couples in my neck of the woods get a wedding gift from their parents of an expensive bedroom set with two beds. Here are some pretty jaw dropping furniture sets from Chasuna Depot.

See? Hasidic couples have separate beds. One night chest in the middle. I lived like this for five years – although getting two larger beds rather than just tiny twin beds was just becoming a thing and I hadn’t caught on.

When a woman has her period, her husband can’t come into her bed. In fact, he can’t touch her, pass anything directly into her hands, or even have a conversation that would lead to arousal. After her period passes she needs to count seven days of no bleeding. During this period she will change the linen set to all white, for both beds, just so it looks matching (duh!) and she will sleep in a white nightgown, white underwear. This is to make sure that she is really not bleeding anymore. She will even check twice a day to make sure she is clean using this cloth:

If seven white days pass, and all is well, the woman will go to the community mikvah/ritual bath. The mikvah is made up of many private bathrooms for getting ready, and a few pools for the actual immersion.

A pool. The second photo is a pool with the prayer on the wall. This is said before immersing in the pool naked. A female staffer supervises the immersion.

The bathroom and its contraptions:

You can press any of these buttons to call a female staffer:

Here is my beautiful Hasidic woman Mona Lisa drawn onto the mirror of the ritual bathroom. I sure hope I wiped it off before the attendant came. But you got to admit. It’s Arrrrrt.
After the woman finishes with the mikvah – about a two hour affair – she goes home, and her husband is permitted to join her in her bed. They can now be “together”. I was told before I got married never to go into my husband’s bed. This was because the man may come to associate his bed with arousal and feel this excitement even during the period of menstruation and separation. So the husband is always to congregate on the wife’s bed, but only if she has gone through the purification in the bath house. And if the couple wants to be frivolous when they are allowed to each other, they can not only have sexual congress but also stay in the wife’s bed to sleep the night together! Ooola-la. Assuming there are no babies wailing and the bed isn’t so narrow that one of them falls off in their sleep….

Bonus: some of my old cartoons (lol!)

The shtreimel (שטריימל) is made of real beaver fur and is usually first received by a man from his bride’s family — the hat can be very expensive so this is a wedding gift. The man wears the shtreimel only once he gets married, and even then, on shabbes, holidays and other special occasions. Believe it or not, there is quite a bit of fashion trends around these hats. In recent years the hats have gotten taller, and nice peaks (shpitzen) of the fur mean the shtreimel is fresher and nicer.

Edit: someone mentioned that the fur might be mink, not beaver. This article sheds light:

“To make one shtreimel can take up to 400 tails of various breeds of mink, sable of fox – the scrap of the fur industry.”

And while we are quoting: “But at a cost of up to $4000 each, it can be a profitable one too.”

I’m a tour guide in the mostly-Satmar Hasidic community in Williamsburg, and am surprised by the number of answers denying your experience instead of admitting that while it might not exist in their community, this does happen. Our tour groups go into several shops and we have often seen something like this in one way or another. For instance a man walking into a shop before us and letting the door close on us. Or a Hasidic woman with a stroller trying to get herself and the baby into the shop and a man just walking in without holding the door for her. It happens all the time.

I explain in detail the importance of gender segregation in the community and that men and women are not to make contact, usually understood to not even hold a door. From the one hand, understanding the culture makes it more digestible. There is almost a wall between the genders and women are not offended by men not holding doors — they don’t expect it and don’t consider it malicious. On the other hand, of course one might find it obtuse. Our cultural definition of what’s kind and considerate makes it almost impossible not to flinch when you see a man whizz into a shop entirely oblivious to the woman with the double stroller.

Im sure there are some men who are more worldly and quietly wish they could hold the door like a western gentleman but wouldn’t dare do it in the community for fear of being looked at suspiciously.