Meet this week’s Lady Wrap Star! I used to call Anna my mentor, and now I am very proud to call her my friend! I made sure to ask her some specific questions about Judaism and hair covering, since many of you have asked. For those of you that don’t know, many Jewish women also cover their hair with wigs (sheitels). Anna covers with both wigs and scarves, and refers to both in the questions she answered. And yes, in one of the photos she sent, that is me standing beside her before I started covering my hair. Anna and her husband, Marc, and twin girls, Nechama and Zissie live in Toronto. When you are finished reading her interview (and checking out her lovely head coverings), you should take a look at her blog called Double the Fun We Are One 🙂
Lady Wrap Star also know as:
Tell us a bit about yourself! How do you choose to spend your time?
Thank G-d, my life is filled with things that I love! Most of my time is spent taking care of my 9-month old twins, Nechama and Zissie, working on my Masters Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, running our household, preparing Shabbos for our many special guests, working on shidduchim (matchmaking) and writing for my blog. When I do find some time to myself, I run out to Zumba class, spend time alone with my awesome hubby or meet a friend for coffee.
What is the best thing that has happened to you today?
My daughter, Nechama gave me a hug and a kiss!
How long have you been covering?
Since the day I got married, almost three years.
What is the one thing that you like best about covering your hair?
For me, covering my hair is about more than just the actual halacha (Jewish law) of covering. My hair was always something I loved about myself and something that made me feel more attractive to the world, especially to other men. My husband really loved my hair when we were dating and would always compliment me on it. The act of covering my hair is about saving that special and unique part of my identity just for my husband. Covering my hair identifies me as a married woman to the rest of the world and I’m proud of that! I’m extremely proud to be married to my husband, for people to know that I am his wife and I am proud that we have an amazing marriage. The first week of our marriage when we went out in public, my husband looked at me and said,” I love that you are covering your hair and the whole world sees it. I love that they know that you are my wife and I am so proud to be your husband!”
Can you tell us a bit about Judaism and why you cover your hair?
The halacha about a married woman covering her hair comes from the story in the Torah about the Aishes Sotah, the adulterous woman. In the story of the Aishes Sotah, the Torah states that she is forced to stand up in front of the entire community and if she is found guilty, she is put in the most embarrassing situation. Her cap is removed, and her hair is unbraided and exposed in front of the entire community. From this story,we learn that a married woman’s hair is covered in public and that it is embarrassing for her to uncover her hair in front of others. There is much halachic discussion regarding what is the appropriate way for a woman to cover her hair and how much hair needs to be covered. Some say, she only needs to cover the crown of her head, some say all her hair needs to be covered, others say that a tefach (hand breadth may be showing.) I personally feel that the amount of hair and the way a married woman chooses to cover her hair is a very personal decision that should be made by the woman herself. A woman’s hair is part of her identity, as is the way she covers it. The way she chooses to cover it is an extremely personal decision which happens to be made very public. Therefore, I think that everyone needs to refrain from judgment and respect a woman for the choices she makes regarding how she covers her hair.
Any funny/vivid hair covering experiences that you would like to share?
One hair covering experience that vividly stands out in my mind is when I made the choice to uncover my hair. Sounds crazy, right? You see, before Marc, I was previously married to someone else for one year. It was a bad situation and I was lucky to get out of it unharmed, with no children. I always covered my hair during my first marriage and when I got divorced, I was faced with the decision whether I would continue to cover it (as many divorced women do) or chose to uncover it. Shortly before I received my get (Jewish divorce) I was visiting a rabbi whom I am very close with in Toronto. Without me asking him, he told me that I should uncover my hair when I got divorced. He felt it was the right decision for me. When I asked him why, he explained that for many divorce women, he felt that it was the right decision for them to keep their hair covered, especially if they had children. However, he explained that in my case, since there had never been a real connection or a decent relationship with my first husband, it was almost as if I had never been married at all. And since there were no children keeping me connected to him, he felt that there was no reason to hold onto any other reminders and have all these painful memories “hanging over my head.” So the day I received my get I uncovered my hair. It was liberating! I felt free of this burdensome life I had been carrying around, free to be myself and alive again. A week later, I was in a shoe store in Brooklyn and the Israeli shop owner asked me if I was single. I said yes, and he answered “Perfect! I have mamash excellent shidduch for you! (I have such a good match for you.) A wonderful Israeli boy, twenty-two years old!” (I was twenty-seven.)
Of course, now that I am married to the right person, covering my hair has an entirely different meaning, one of pride and connection, instead of burden and hidden secrets.
The only other thing I want to add to this point, is that as I mentioned before, just like the way a woman chooses to cover her hair is a very personal decision, so is the decision whether to uncover or to continue to cover her hair if she gets divorced. For me, it was definitely the right decision to uncover my hair when I got divorced, however, I did receive a number of very insensitive comments from people, ranging from “Who told you it was ok to uncover your hair?” to “You got divorced and you uncovered your hair???? We’re going to have to talk about this. I gotta hear the whole story.” After something as painful as a divorce, I was not in any shape to answer these questions, nor did I feel the need for everyone to be privy to my personal decision on this topic. The best thing to do when you see a woman who just got divorced uncover her hair is to tell her she looks great and ask how she’s doing. That’s it. Short and simple.
What are you wearing on your head today?
A warm and cozy grey wool beret with a flower on it.
Do you remember the first time you wore a head covering? What did it look like? How did it feel? What did others say?
The first time I wore a head covering after Marc and I got married was the day after our wedding and we went to meet his extended family for brunch. I wore my beautiful, long, Shabbos shaitel (wig) and my mother-in-law said that she wouldn’t have recognized me if she walked past me on the street 😉
What is your favourite scarf? Favourite accessory? Favourite hat?
I don’t really have a favourite scarf, I have so many beautiful scarves which I picked up in Israel on my many visits there. My favourite hat is a fuzzy, grey cap-style hat with a decorative ribbon flower in the front which I got in New York.
What are some of your hair covering suggestions? Any secrets you would like to share with us?
Although I love how some women wear fancy tichels layered one on top of another, or with the volumizer underneath, I am someone who gets a lot of headaches and these fancy tichel arrangements never worked for me. I have found that when it comes to tichels, I’m better off wearing one or two at a time, and if I want that volumized look at the back, I take a cotton cap and stuff a pair of rolled up socks in the back. Then I tie the tichel over top of that for a more elegant look. I also always wear a velvet headband called a wig grip under my tichels to keep them from slipping.
I find that if you choose to cover your hair with tichels or hats, earrings and make-up can make a world of difference to the way you look and feel. The right earrings and a little make-up can brighten up your face and change your whole appearance.
What are you grateful for right now?
So many things. Mostly my amazing husband, my beautiful girls and my supportive family and friends.