I was fortunate to be interviewed for an article by Washington Post MisFits columnist Lenny Bernstein called “The challenges of exercising for some Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women”. I hope it inspires women to get active and not let obstacles slow them down.
There has already been negative feedback in the comments section about how at first the women appear stupid, but it’s really the men who make up the rules and are backward, greedy and insecure. My favorite is that men own the women, and how in 2012 that it’s beyond belief that it still exists. Here’s the comment I posted in response.
“As one of the women profiled in the article I wish to respond to the original comment. I am neither stupid nor backward. And as for men owning me, I can quite assure you that I am “owned” by no-one. I choose to wear modest clothes and the operative word is choose. You commented about another man seeing your woman…so maybe that’s not a problem for you. But how many (bar) fights do we hear that started with “he looked at my girl?” Women’s clothing and appearance attract attention from men and some of it is unwanted. If this article had said we dress modestly and wear long sleeves to protect our skin, you might have said “absolutely, skin cancer is on the rise.” However, since there is a religious aspect, then we’re just short of crazy. How about applauding us for exercising and staying healthy, rather than deriding us for our religious beliefs? That’s a 2012 attitude that I support.”
I know that people don’t understand my religious beliefs and that’s OK because it’s really between G-d and me and no-one else. I am not a judgemental person and really don’t appreciate being judged. I’ve gotten used to the stares and questions, and usually end up deflecting the person when the questions become too personal or mean. However, I keep moving forward because my goal is to inspire women, particularly those in the Jewish community, to get active and get healthy.
Thanks Lenny for the opportunity to provide information to the public on this sensitive subject, TY Robyn Silver Gault (of Fleet Feet Sports Gaithersburg) for the introduction ot Lenny, and TY to my running coaches Becca Lipscomb, Chris Sloane & Heather Hanson for helping me achieve my goals!
Photo credit to Ricky Carioti/THE WASHINGTON POST – Here’s the text as it appeared in the article:
Orthodox Jewish women Diana Kurcfeld, left, and Suzanne Triebwasser, right, with running coach Becca Lipscomb at Rockville’s Montgomery High School. “People look at you a little funny,” Kurcfeld says of running in a skirt for religious reasons. “But then, when they find out why you do it, they’ll say, ‘Wow, I really respect that.’ ”