Jewish holidays are joyous occasions — food abounds, the family gathers together and there’s laughing, singing and (sometimes) dancing. But nothing stresses out the modern Jewish woman quite like finding the perfect outfit to wear for the holiday.
You see, besides for being edifices of holiness and prayer, synagogues are also the Jewish version of a fashion runway, especially for women. The very pious among us are most likely to be immune to this phenomenon. They will have arrived on time, walking to their seat with their head bowed, ready for prayer. Their clothes will most likely be simple: the color neutral, the length modest, the jewelry kept to a minimum — a single strand pearl necklace will encase their necks.
As the chazzan (cantor) trills the liturgical prayers, the synagogue will start filling up and the fashion will get more daring. Skirts will get increasingly colorful and vibrant; ruffles and asymmetry will begin popping up incessantly; prints will get more crowded and chaotic. And, without fail, as each person walks in, the heads will turn to look at the person of interest. She will then undergo the runway walk down the pews, looking for her designated seat (which always ends up being in the front of the room) as the other congregants look her up and down, taking in every detail as they calculate in their heads whether the outfit passes muster.
Of course, some people try to avoid the stares by slipping in like a stealth spy following their target. But no matter how hard they try to close the door silently behind them, the door will squeak in protest because hinge hasn’t been oiled in years. And unless they are lucky enough to be praying in a carpeted synagogue, their heels will click and clack as they stride down the rows to their seats.
So the heads will continue to turn and look at you and your outfit. The people will continue to judge your sartorial choices just like God is judging your misdeeds. And the chances of avoiding this judgement is slim (unless, of course, you’re super pious). But fashionable clothing is often prohibitively expensive, not to mention often immodest. So what’s a Jewish girl on a budget to do?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here’s 8 dresses to wear to synagogue on Rosh Hashanah:
This Adrianna Papell dress is fun, flirty and flippy — perfect for sauntering across the room as the skirt swishes against your legs.
This corded lace dress is very reminiscent of the (more expensive) Self Portrait, which is one of the It-designer brands of the moment. For more coverage, wear it with a skirt slip and a coordinating silk top.
Tall women often have trouble finding a dress that is appropriate for synagogue, i.e. a dress that covers the knees. This dress does the trick, and it’s on-trend to boot.
You don’t have to be a size-2 clothes hanger to look good for the holidays. And this plus-size dress is so flattering and pretty, everyone at shul will be jealous.
Shine bright like a diamond in this Balmain-esque dress(for a fraction of the inordinate retail price).
Plaid is a major fall trend. If you want to commit to this trend fully, this plaid dress makes a a very loud yet stylish statement.
Mixing prints will always guarantee showstopper-status, but it can often be daunting to mix prints solo. This dress features two different prints that are mixed together like a patchwork quilt (which, incidentally, is a huge trend this fall).
Ruffles and micro floral prints are a match made in heaven. And the dark tone of this dress makes it perfect for the autumn season.
This story "8 Modest Dresses Under $100 For The Synagogue Runway" was written by Michelle Honig.