Sina Mizrahi on How Equality for Women Depends on Equality for Everyone

Sina Mizrahi on hair covering, modesty, and creating more equality for women.

Sina Mizrahi is a recipe writer and photographer of the blog Gather a Table, where she shares vibrant dishes inspired by her Middle Eastern roots and encourages readers to gather around the table to share in the blessing of good food with the people they love. Mizrahi, an Orthodox Jewish woman who covers her hair per Jewish law, has found her success despite choosing not to share her own image online. We sat down with Mizrahi to hear her thoughts on modesty, hair covering, and equality for women.

In honor of International Women’s Day and this year’s theme to #BreaktheBias, we spoke to Mizrahi about her hair covering practice, her modesty, and how we can all work together to move towards a more inclusive world.

Photo credit: Instagram.com/sinamizrahi

Choosing Modesty in an Age of Sharing

For Mizrahi, choosing not to share her image online isn’t a hard and fast rule, but she does prefer to stay private in a world that overshares.

“I think it’s a personal boundary I set for myself when I realized that photos of myself usually garnered more comments on how I look rather than the substance of what I was trying to express,” she shares. “And since my medium is food and its drive of connection and belonging, I prefer that the focus stay there. I feel most comfortable keeping photos of myself private and I believe it amplifies the message I’m aiming to express.”

Hair Covering and a Simple Haircare Routine

Photo credit: AllThingsHair.com

In a recent poll conducted by All Things Hair, we learned that 65% of the 200 women surveyed consider their hair to be a strong part of their identities.

For Mizrahi, covering her hair took some getting used to when she first got married, but after trying wigs and scarves, she found herself turning to stretchy scarves most often. “They allow me to create a subtle turban-like shape and I feel most comfortable in them,” she says.

As far as caring for the hair underneath the scarf, Mizrahi says that her haircare is minimal but that her hair is still as long, thick, and healthy as it was when she got married 13 years ago. She makes sure to wash it once a week and doesn’t use any heat on it.

Mizrahi has also donated her hair to organizations that make wigs for children with cancer a few times and says the experience was “immensely satisfying.”

equality for women
Mizrahi’s feed focuses more on her food than on her own image.

Equality for Women, Equality for Everyone

Growing up in a modern world that teaches the message of tolerance and discrimination led Mizrahi to think that the anti-semitism and discrimination previous generations experienced wouldn’t happen to her. But the more outwardly Jewish she dresses, she shares, the more she experiences discrimination, even if it’s subtle.

“A graffiti swastika, an uneducated remark from a political figure, or worse, a celebrity, hate crimes in my community, a flippant remark from a college professor– it’s all happened. But I aim to believe that most people are good and choose love over hate.”

Mizrahi believes that when we can internalize that we were all created by God to have a positive and lasting impact on the world, we won’t have time or space for hate.

“We could focus on what unites us, makes us similar, and use it to build a compassionate, inclusive world. I know that it’s a complex issue and there are no neat answers, but keeping that idealism will drive us to choose good over bad.

equality for women
Photo credit: Instagram.com/sinamizrahi

Focusing on the Good

By focusing on the good values we share, spending more time with the people that matter to us, and working on ourselves to be the change, Mizrahi believes we can make real change.

We can all make a difference.

She quotes Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, a 19th Century rabbi who founded the self-development movement:

“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world. I found it difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation. When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town, so, as an older man, I tried to change my family.

“Now, as an old man, I realize that the only thing I can change is myself. And suddenly I realize that if long ago, I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family could have made an impact on our town. The town’s impact could have changed the nation, and I could indeed have changed the world.”

We can all make a difference, Mizrahi believes, and here at All Things Hair, we couldn’t agree more.

 

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