Mea Shearim: the ultra Orthodox neighbourhood in Jerusalem
Old Fashioned Ultra Orthodox Jewish Neighborhood of Mea Shearim. Jerusalem, Israel. 07/02/2011
The shabby old houses reflect the poverty these people are living in. Mea Shearim is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Jerusalem, Israel populated mainly by Haredi Jews and was built by the original settlers of Yishuv haYashan.
Today, Mea Shearim remains an old world enclave in the heart of Jerusalem. With its overwhelmingly Haredi population, the streets retain the flavour of an East European shtetl (a small town with a large Jewish population in Central and Eastern Europe until The Holocaust).
Life revolves around strict adherence to Jewish law, prayer and the study of Jewish texts. Traditions in dress may include black frock coats and black or fur-trimmed hats for men (although there are many other clothing styles, depending on the religious sub-group to which they belong), and long-sleeved, modest clothing for women. In some groups, the women wear thick black stockings all year long, including summer. Married women wear a variety of headcoverings, from wigs to headscarves. Men have beards and some grow long sidecurls, called peyyot.
"Modesty" posters in Hebrew and English are hung at every entrance to Mea Shearim. When visiting the neighbourhood, women and girls are asked to dress modestly (knee-length skirts or longer, no plunging necklines or midriff tops, no sleeveless blouses or bare shoulders) and tourists are requested not to arrive in large, conspicuous groups. During the Shabbat (from sunset Friday until it is completely dark on Saturday night), visitors should refrain from smoking, photography, driving or use of mobile phones.