Shalom Life | April 18, 2014

Breakthrough Jew - Bulletproof Stockings

Meet Dalia Schusterman and Perl Wolfe, founders of the first all-girl, all-Hasidic, alt-rock band

By: Anthony Marcusa

Published: April 4th, 2013 in Culture » Music » News

Breakthrough Jew - Bulletproof Stockings

Hot, hip, and heady, the next wave of Jewish artists and influencers has already arrived. This is Breakthrough Jew, your weekly showcase of those on the verge of discovery and ready to be a regular figure in pop culture; setting trends, redefining genres, and simply getting it done-whatever ‘it’ is. These days, it’s not enough to know what’s hot now; you need to catch someone when they’re just starting to simmer.

Featuring those in film, fashion, food, and beyond, we’ll find the story before substance is obscured by style, before hype meets backlash, and before talent and purpose gets lost in a maze of Internet chatter. See an artist in the cozy bar before they hit the amphitheater, dine at a chef’s new restaurant before the line begins, and catch a young writer’s work before the demands of ratings and longevity encroach.

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Name: Bulletproof Stockings

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York City

Breakthrough Cred: Awesomely cool Hasidic alt-rock girl duo

Before knowing who the members are, or even what the group sounds like, it’s pretty clear that Bulletproof Stockings is a phenomenal name for an indie band. It doesn’t matter that it actually has meaning to the women who make up the group as a playful reference to their background; it’s evocative, memorable, and doesn’t make the user sound ridiculous when they say it aloud.

Dalia G. Shusterman and Perl Wolfe are the Hasidic women behind Bulletproof Stockings, an indie rock group out of New York City that takes its namesake from a derisive term for a piece of clothing traditionally worn by ladies of their faith.

Formed in December of 2011, the band has both engaged and enraged, delighting music fans with their smart, catchy sounds, while upsetting some religious faithful. After all, Hassidic men aren’t supposed to listen to women singing, and women aren’t supposed to sing to men.

The two women are Lubavitcher Hasidim, living in Crown Heights in Brooklyn, New York. That seems to make them unofficially the first all-girl, all-Hasidic, alt-rock band. That, and many other reasons, makes Bulletproof Stockings anything but your typical group.

Shusterman is in her mid 30’s, a widowed mother of four young boys, who works part time as a graphic designer. She plays the drums. Wolfe is a makeup artist in her late 20’s, divorced, and manages a cosmetics store geared towards Hasidic women. She sings, and plays the keyboard. Though some of you may never see the two perform live, and not just because you’re not a part of the New York night life.

“Where we draw our line is who we will perform live for,” Shusterman said during an interview with the Times of Israel. “We are not going to put men in a position where they have to listen to us.” While they acknowledge and respect that men cannot come and here them perform live (they’ve also mentioned that they make sure not to start singing randomly on the street), they actively seek to create a positive and creative environment for women.

There certainly aren’t a lot of young Hasidic female role models for teenage girls in the world. What’s more, the women feel strongly at a concert where only women can attend creates a more comfortable space, free from the male gaze and inhibitions.

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