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Lately, I have been thinking a lot about appearances and how we put people into boxes based on appearances, especially as it relates to me wearing a tichel (scarf).

Where I live, there are not many observant Jews. So when I wear a headcovering and people see me, they assume I’m Muslim. The word that comes to mind immediately is "oppressed". And of course it clearly marks me as the OTHER, the minority. As a supposed Muslim not so much, but as a Jew, I will most probably be the only Jew they ever meet, and I "represent Judaism" to them. Which is scary and makes me awkwardly self-concious when I do something like cross a red light or complain in a restaurant. So sometimes I am really glad to be able to take off the scarf and just be seen as a regular person. How must it feel if you are discriminated daily because of something you cannot change, like your skin color?

When I decided to wear a headcovering (at least part-time), I was somewhat prepared for the reaction on non-Jews. What I wasn’t so much thinking abuot was how the Jewish crowd would perceive me. In fact, I have been wearing a tichel for nearly a year now and only once to synagogue, normally I go with a headband. Why? Well, when people see me with a tichel, they assume I’m very orthodox with all the negative stereotypes that entails. That I’m oppressed, living in some other century and a religious fanatic. And I don’t want to be put into that box. So I take off my headcovering to go to synagogue. Which is completely absurd.

Is this completely crazy? Am I overthinking this? [the answer is probably yes]

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