In a society where the house of worship has a red carpet, blinding runway lights, and Armani clad photographers, you have to wonder, is this sanctuary hosting Sabbath services or New York's Fashion Week?

Tonight's attendees are dressed in their finest, in black and white Dior and heels for miles. They say they've come to worship. But are they here to pray to G‑d or have they come to bow to the gods of fashion?

Or both?

While Fashion and Judaism may have once been considered disharmonious and we've never mixed kippas with couture, it's my belief that fashion and Judaism have more in common than we've ever cared to admit.

The question remains: Fashion and Judaism – match or clash?To the naked eye, the two might seem a blatant contradiction. Judaism is of the mind; constant and fixed, and curiously timeless. Whereas fashion is a fixation of the heart and even if we're certain that what comes off the runway will blow our minds, the industry is still completely unpredictable and thus unreliable.

So is there room for Tahari in Torah? Or are they two frenemies who must never meet? The question remains: Fashion and Judaism – match or clash?

I find myself at 59th and Lexington, another house of worship, home to some of my dearest friends. Diane von Furstenberg, Yves Saint Laurent, Michael Kors and Badgley Mischka, to name a few. And as I the wander the rows of designer couture at Barneys, entirely enamored by the art of French and Italian gods, I can't help but wonder: What is it about fashion that makes it so delicious?

And there, staring me in the face at the display of the new Fall Collection, is my answer: It's come in the form of a beaten leather jacket, which hangs solo on a rack that had been occupied just a few short weeks ago by a chiffon evening gown. Of course! That's the thing about fashion. The thing that has me so besotted, kicking off my wedges and chasing the ever-changing designs down the runway. It's the variety. The constant reinvention. The land of perpetual novelty and endless eye candy!

Even the classic Chanel is revamped every season, as is the outrageous Betsy Johnson, mod Zac Posen, and très chic Oscar de la Renta. Every season is packed with the crème de la crème in fashion, to jolt us from our seats, tickling our wildest fantasies. The catwalks are continuously transforming, designs brimming with imagination, each collection more shocking than the next. And most crucial about the fashion world, if anything, is that nothing stays the same.

I must have been all of eight years old when I discovered my love for clothing. It was on one of those trips to the mall with my big sister. She accidentally left me alone in one of the departments in Macy's. I didn't care. I just lost myself in the colors and fabrics, looking and touching and imagining what these beautiful dresses would look like on me. And I didn't care if it was at Bloomys or Abercrombie and Fitch. I fell in love with it. All of it. And as I grew up, I fell even more madly in love with a religion that changes with my moods.

Plain Jane doesn't wear her Judaism with pride; she lets her Judaism wear herShirts. Skirts. Pants. Dresses. Sweaters. These are the fundamentals of fashion. We all wear them. Every day. No matter what. But there are two types of people. There's Plain Jane who wears a plain navy dress, a simple navy cardigan and sensible navy shoes. She gets dressed in the morning because she has to. She doesn't put thought into her outfits, and instead of wearing her clothing with confidence, she lets her clothing wear her. Jane is like the uninspired Jew. She keeps Shabbat because she's told to. She doesn't put thought into it. She doesn't wear her Judaism with pride; she lets her Judaism wear her.

We have the choice to be Plain Jews or fashionable Jews. We could light the Shabbat candles glumly or we could let our fires ignite with the wicks. We could go through the motions of the holidays or we could wait for each holiday, watching it in the display window until the day we've saved up enough money to make it ours. We could accessorize with scarves and hats, adorn with diamonds and pearls. Our passion can vary every season. We can get front row seats at Temple, pray with a different voice every day, learn with a new hunger. Each time we shake the lulav and etrog, we can move to a different beat. We can bring home the Torah every year like we're bringing home a new Vera Wang wedding gown.

Now I don't know if you're aware of this, but Nordstrom has an alphabetical list of like a million different designers on its website. And, frankly, if it didn't, if there weren't all the different designers, I don't think I'd care much for fashion at all. I can't bear to imagine a runway strutted solely by Chanel. Yeah, sure, Chanel is chic, classic, and ridiculously high fashion, but one designer is a joke. We'd be bored to black Sephora tears.

Granted, Coco Chanel may very well be the Moses of fashion, Chanel on her own just doesn't do it for us. Monotheism is not a belief anyone wishes to continue into the fashion world. Vogue monogamy is simply not what we've fallen head over high heels for. It's our affair with novelty that keeps us on our tippy toes.

Now imagine there was only one type of Jew. Yawn. Fortunately for us, there are many different brands of Jews, many different hues and traditions. Some believe that our distinctions separate us. They fear that if we look different or have different political stances, we won't relate as brothers and sisters. I believe we should celebrate our diversity, our gaping differences, and our ability to unite in spite of them. No, because of them. We don't have to be exactly the same, or even see eye-to-eye to be bonded and made a sublime work of art. That's what makes us so fabulous.

There are many different brands of Jews, many different hues and traditionsAfter the show, peek into our bona fide house of worship. If it's as it should be, you'll find Jews, observant and not, American and European, trendy and god-awful, but nonetheless, all swaying in one synagogue, vibrant and speckled, like the finale of a Marc Jacobs show. Perhaps they won't be donning prayer shawls (a tallit) tailored by the same designers, but they'll all be united under a force that transcends customs, attire and religious views – a common past, a common destiny… and a common love for Jerry Seinfeld.


My article about fashion and Judaism seems to have stirred a great deal of controversy and criticism due to the fact that many believe that the two are an inappropriate, offensive comparison that don't belong in the same breath.

The biting comments that followed humbled me thoroughly. And if I was wrong and mistaken, I wanted to know and stand corrected. At first I was stung, but then I couldn't help but wonder if they were right. Was I completely misguided as to say that a person could be a fashionable Jew? That a person who might normally get revved up about a pair of shoes could channel that excitement toward their Judaism? Or had my readers completely missed the point?

The focal point throughout my article was that, like football or art or any pastime, fashion is something sought after and often leaves a trail of followers. The purpose of my article wasn't to promote fashion worship but to promote the idea that a person could be as excited about Judaism as they are about fashion.

I understand that there are flaws in fashion and I don't dismiss them. The industry is fickle and immodest, sometimes to the point of immorality. A person could easily get caught up in materialistic vanity and the shallow belief that exterior appearances are all that matter. One could fall so head-over-heels in love with fashion to the point of slavery and reject all notion that there is anything more to life than their body.

That is not the aspect of fashion we ought to learn from. Reb Zushe teaches us that we can learn positive behavior even from a dishonest and corrupt individual, from a thief!

Was he suggesting we become thieves?

Or was he proposing something totally novel? That we are possibly smart enough to discern between the significant and the nonsense?!

Fashion may not be completely kosher and we've never mixed skullcaps with couture but the two may have more in common than we've ever cared to admit. The question is, are we strong enough to separate the poison from the message and learn a trick or two from the runway without getting trampled by a parade of six-foot, pin-thin models?

By the way, I shop at Forever 21 (a fashion crime, I'm sure) and I have never met Michael Kors - not in person or in the form of a dress. Fashion is eye candy to me, not my life, G‑d forbid. As much as I wish I could afford to drip materialism, I can't...