Chaya Lester, the Poetry Slam ‘Kabbalist Feminist’ is a Lady Wrap Star!

A beautiful photo of Chaya being awesome, before we met!

A beautiful photo of Chaya being awesome, before we met!

You may recognize Chaya from this video, which has spread around the hair covering world like wild fire!  Before I came to Jerusalem, Rivka Malka contacted her and we all agreed that we had to meet and connect, as well as get Chaya Wrapunzeled!  Little did I know, that the Shalev Center, where Chaya lives, is less than a two minute walk from where we’re staying!

We started off with some Wrapunzel makeovers, both with my wrapping Chaya, and her wrapping herself while asking questions!  We figured that would be super helpful to everyone here… like having a coach in your own room!  We ended off with an interview, and I must say, if you watch one video out of all of these, watch this one!  But really, watch them all – she is so awesome and I’m super happy that you get to meet her!

We first started with a sari scarf and shimmery together:

And then Chaya wanted to try doing it herself!  Awesome!

And now… the quick and easy Waterfall twist!  3 minute video, and it shows both my doing it on her and her doing it herself!  Win!

Finally, here we are doing an interview.  Seriously deep insights into hair covering and what it means to be a female!  She is just so cool – I hope you’ll learn as much from this as I did!

5 thoughts on “Chaya Lester, the Poetry Slam ‘Kabbalist Feminist’ is a Lady Wrap Star!

  1. I think its really strange to have a photo of the ‘kabbalist feminist’ posted WITH HER HAIR SHOWING!?! isnt the point of this blog to teach about head covering?!

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    • Hi Kay. Many Jewish women hold that showing a tefach (a handsbreath) of hair at the front of the head is perfectly fine and is definitely covering the hair. If you look at my photos you’ll see that I also used to sometimes show a bit at the front, and of course there are always some whispy ends at the sides. Some women do shave their heads to avoid this, but most that you’ll see on this blog do not. I’m not quite sure what you are asking with your question – would you care to rephrase it?

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  2. Perhaps I’m late to the game, but out of curiosity, I’d like more of an understanding as to how she reconciles her religious views with feminism.

    I have a background in Critical Theory and Women’s Studies, and much of what I understand as feminism comes from a rejection of the idea that “masculinity” and “femininity” are metaphysical concepts. In the Abrahamic faiths, especially, there tends to be this concept that female behavior is inclined towards evil; if everything was tranquil and harmonious before woman acted (thus causing the fall from Paradise), then the conclusion is that woman has to be restrained and kept in a subordinate position in order to prevent the creation of more evil in the world and to keep a state of equilibrium.

    For example, look at the way these Hasidic women are blockaded BY POLICE BARRICADES at a funeral to keep them separated from the men.

    From what I know about Orthodox Judaism (and you can correct me if you feel I’m wrong or misunderstanding things), the highest mitzvot for women revolve around that kind of service to men (homemaking and modesty), whereas the highest mitzvot for men revolve around merit (Torah study).

    Without being too contentious, my question is: can this sort of metaphysical thinking be a source of an emancipatory politic?


    2nd question (kind of unrelated): in my studies of the humanities, I ran into a few theorists who were heavily influenced by the Kabbalah, namely Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida. One thing that comes up in both is their inclination to understand everything in linguistic terms, that the existing world is primarily a fixture of language (which is essentially what Deconstruction is all about – *language* is what speaks). This, from what I’ve read, is also seen in Kabbalistic texts which explain how God created the world through language and letters. The difficulty I see with this is that it ultimately leads to thinking “everyone named X is seen as embodying the same personality traits” or something along those lines. Is this accurate?

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