This week’s Lady Wrap Star is Rivki Silver! I discovered Rivki through her blog, Life in the Married Lane, and after reading her “about me” and seeing that she was a fellow musician (clarinet and piano) and also liked Star Trek, I had to send her a message! My husband and I recently met her in person during a recent trip to where she lives, and I must say that she is even more lovely and inspirational in person! I was very excited to ask her some interview questions:
Hi Rivki! Can you tell us a bit about yourself, ie how do you choose to spend your time, where do you live, hobbies, family etc.?
Let’s see, where to start? We currently live in Baltimore, though we’ve also lived in Cleveland and Memphis. My “official” occupation is a stay-at-home-mom, and much of my day is spent with my three kids, the oldest of whom is four years old. So, that keeps me pretty busy! In between the meal-preparation, diaper-changing and playtime, I’m also in charge of the laundry, cooking, and general tidiness. It really is a full-time job to keep a house running, but our home is our own little sanctuary, and it gives me pleasure to work to create a happy space for my family.
So, in the free time which somehow still exists, I also write and play music, do a blog and vlog for Partners in Torah, try to post weekly on my personal blog, Life in the Married Lane, participate in Rabbi Aryeh Nivin’s chabura, learn with my Partner in Torah, and play in a community band. Wow, that seems really crazy, but somehow it works.
How long have you been covering your hair?
I started covering my hair when I got married a little over five years ago.
When people ask you why you cover your hair, how do you usually respond?
It’s been a while since anyone asked me why I cover my hair. If someone does ask, I usually offer a brief explanation about how Jewish law teaches that once a woman gets married, her hair becomes spiritually charged, and she keeps it covered to protect the holiness. The only man who gets to see it is my husband, and it’s like a special treat just for him. If the person seems interested, I’m happy to talk more about it, but generally, I keep it relatively short.
What do you tell your children about it?
My children are still small, so we haven’t gotten beyond “Mommy covers her hair.” They know the difference between my different hair coverings (sheitel, tichel and hat), but that’s pretty much it at this point.
Can you give us some scarf tying advice, based personal experience? (ie you hair type, face shape, colouring, lifestyle, etc.)
I started out using square-shaped scarves, folding them in half to make a triangle and doing a basic bun-style tichel. Sometimes I would put a stretchy headband underneath to hold it in place more securely. I like cotton-blend scarves because they don’t slip as much. In the past year or so, I branched out to rectangular-shaped scarves, which gives me a little more height, as opposed to the bun-style, which tends to be flat to my head. I have an oval-shaped face, and I’ve found that both styles work with my face. For the rectangular scarves, I like to work with a cotton-based material, as opposed to jersey. It also helps to do a big bun-style tie underneath the rectangle, to provide some volume in back.
What are your favourite kinds of scarves and colours that you like to wear?
My current preference is to use colorful scarves. I used to stick to more neutral colors (they match more outfits!), but I’m trying to make my wardrobe more vibrant, so now I keep my eyes out for scarves will more personality. I gravitate toward navy blue, purple and teal.
How did you feel about hair covering before you got married? What about now?
Before marriage, I never really thought much about hair covering; it was just something I was going to do. Now it has become such a integral part of my life that I feel a little naked if my hair is uncovered. It’s like a part of me is missing. I love how each hair covering gives me a different look. My absolute favorite part is that it drastically reduces the amount of time needed to get ready in the morning. When I’m running out to take my four-year-old to his preschool, I can get stick my hair in a bun and pop on a hat. It is the best. If I want to be a little fancier, I can put on a beautiful tichel, and it makes me feel so regal. Much better than the washing, drying and straightening routine I had with my hair pre-marriage. Also, my hair is super-healthy now that I’m not constantly abusing it. Bonus!
Do you have any funny or inspiring hair covering stories that you would like to share with us?
When I was newly married, I worked in an office where I was the only Jewish woman. It was in a town that does not have a large Orthodox population, and it’s likely I was the first (and perhaps only) Orthodox women my co-workers had encountered. At the time, I only owned one sheitel (wig), and the time came for it to be washed. It wasn’t ready by Monday, so I wore a tichel to work. One of my co-workers asked me how many times a year I had to cover my hair. When I told her “all the time,” she responded, “but I see you with your hair all the other days.” So I revealed that it wasn’t my hair, but a wig, and she wouldn’t believe me until she was able to inspect it the next day!
You have a beautiful blog called Life in the Married Lane. What made you start blogging? How has your writing style and the topics you choose to discuss evolve over the years?
I started blogging when I was studying for a year in Israel. That first blog was called “Inspirations from the Holy Land.” Its purpose was a way for my friends and family to keep up with me while I was abroad. When I came back from Israel and got married, I started a new blog (I was no longer in the Holy Land, unfortunately), and it served the same purpose. That was over five years ago, and slowly, it has grown into a beautiful community of women who I am so glad to have in my life.
My style has evolved because now I’m aware that people I don’t know personally are reading my blog, and that I’m kind of representing Orthodox Judaism, so it’s a certain level of responsibility. I would say I’m more thoughtful about my posts now, and take more time to try and clearly express my thoughts, to make sure that I’m accurately representing Judaism, and myself. I’ve also scaled back on sharing details about my personal life, unless I think they would be helpful or inspiring to others. I’ve started writing a lot more about Judaism than I intended, but someone my religious posts seem to be my most popular. So that’s what I’ve gravitated toward.
What music are you loving lately?
Lately I’ve been really digging Anat Cohen, who is a phenomenal clarinetist/saxophonist/composer. She plays jazz. I heard her on Fresh Air, and I was smitten. I purchased her newest album, Claroscura, and it has been in heavy rotation. I’ve also been listening to Shalsheles Junior, which is simple and upbeat, and gets my energy flowing. Also Beethoven’s 4th and 5th piano concertos, Chopin’s preludes and etudes, Ast by Pachora (another jazz combo with clarinet) and some Yosef Karduner, who really speaks to my soul with the simplicity and devotion of his music.