Finding Faith and Beauty in the Lives of Orthodox Jewish Women

TIME

“For some people, if you’re religious, you’re ugly,” says Federica Valabrega, an Italian photographer who for the past four years has been documenting Jewish women across the world. Her fascination with these “Daughters of the King,” as she calls them, comes from her own religious background. “My mother isn’t Jewish, but my dad is and so is his mother and all of his family. When I was born in Rome, the chief rabbi back in 1983 accepted to convert [to Judaism] kids from mixed [religious] marriages, so my sisters and I did it.”

While Valabrega was raised in a liberal, non-religious Jewish home, her fascination with her adopted religion grew over time. “I was attending a workshop with Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey in Brooklyn in 2010 when I started my ‘Daughters of the King’ project,” she says. “The workshop lasted one week, which meant that we had to shoot…

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