The woman tallit is a garment that has become popular during the past few years. This is an outcome of the recent trend toward gender equality introduced into religion. Get familiar with the main ideas behind the women’s prayer shawl:
The prayer shawl (tallit) is a highly respected object in Judaism. When wearing it you publicly declare your love and devotion to Judaism and God. Any person who chooses to portray these feeling is welcome to wrap himself with the prayer shawl. This includes men as well as women.
You probably notice that most women do not wear a prayer shawl during services, while most of the men do. Did you ever wonder why? Up until recently, before egalitarianism was introduced into Judaism, women were not allowed to wear a prayer shawl. Today this is no longer true; women may wear it if they choose to though they are not required to do so.
Women’s wearing tzizitiot is a revival of the Torah’s guidance for all to put fringes on their garments. In the Talmud it is written that Reb Yehudah attached fringes to the aprons of the women in his household. The passage says: “All must observe the law of tzitzit, Cohanim, Levites and Israelites, converts, women and slaves.” This passage permits women to wear the tzizit but also declares that women are not obligated to wear a tallit.
Covering your head with a prayer shawl is not a replacement for your usual head covering. A barrier between you and the garment is needed in order to show respect for it.