Sheitel or Jewish women wigs are available to Jewish women and men who wear them for reasons related to faith, or because health or genetics have created a need for hair replacement. From a cosmetic standpoint, there’s no difference between orthodox wigs and non-kosher wigs. Both look like real hair, can be brushed and cleaned, and are sold in a range of lengths and salon-like styles. Jewish married women sometimes refer to their wig or a half wig as a sheitel and might accessorize them with snoods, a type of coverage that leaves the forehead exposed and captures the bulk of the wig into a netted or fabric encasement.
What makes a Sheitel or wig kosher?
Just like all kosher products, an orthodox wig must be manufactured under the observation of a rabbi and meet the Jewish law known as halakha. The halachic requirements for wigs affect the type of material used for the wig scalp and the hair itself. While many wigs sold on the non-orthodox mass market are made from hair provided from the continent of India, kosher wigs are made instead of synthetic hair or European “virgin” hair. Some kosher wigs are also made from Chinese hair that has been processed with dyes and chemicals to respond to Western styling needs.
The reason why Indian hair can’t be used for kosher wigs has to do with the difference between the Hindu and Jewish faiths. Hindus observe many gods or are what could be called “pantheistic,” a tradition that
stands contrary to the one god principle (monotheism) of Judaism. In 2004, Israel’s religious leaders confirmed that orthodox married women should not wear wigs made from Indian hair. Since then, wigs are only considered kosher if they are made from European hair or synthetic hair that meets halachic standards.
Some of the most well-crafted kosher wigs are made from Eastern European hair with the shine, bounce, and thickness that responds well to salon techniques and makes the wig-wearer look stylish and contemporary.
Kosher Wigs for Women and Men
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