Our tutorial artist, Rachel Stolley Gray, has long been searching for the words that describe what the Wrapunzel community means to her. Her experience yesterday gave her those words:
“My TOTD is a snood! I got home from the east coast just before midnight last night and am now recovering in bed from a medical procedure done at 7am, so a snood is what it is.
However, today I am reflecting on the events of this past weekend and wanted to make a post here expressing my love for this community and how it has affected my life.
Last Thursday, my family and I left our home in Cleveland, drove across Pennsylvania and arrived in northern NJ for a Bat Mitzvah. The ceremony and events surrounding it were full of great joy, as we got to reunite with my husband’s side of the family and watch one of our little cousins make her very grand entrance into womanhood. At some point, we decided to do a quick overnight visit in NYC to visit friends before returning home, and it was shortly thereafter that I received the devastating news about Kayla Rus. We do not make it to the east coast very often, so I immediately knew that there was no way I’d be able to miss the funeral and showing my support for our dear friend Rachel.
For those of you who could not attend the lavaya (funeral), know that Kayla Rus was truly honored. While I was never able to meet this amazing girl, her essence was captured in such an incredible way and I feel honored to have been a small part. The short life she experienced seemed to be lived to the fullest and the very large level of dedication she had to her faith was truly inspiring. Because of her influence and Rachel’s request for everyone to “storm the gates,” I had begun to welcome in Shabbat and light the candles early- also upping my own level of tznius (modesty)- all in the hope for a miracle and that Kayla Rus would experience a refuah shlema (complete healing).
Rachel, one of your sons spoke about how none of our mitzvot (good deeds) were done in vain and I can attest to that personally. Without your friendship and Kayla Rus’s influence, I likely would not have been taking these extra steps on my own, but can say with total honestly that they are positively contributing to my life and that I plan to continue them in order to be my best self. Thank you for that gift.
All of that brings me to my last point, which is that none of this would have happened, if it weren’t for this incredible Wrapunzel community that we have here, ladies. Seeing other women’s creativity and style is inspiring (and certainly invaluable at the beginning of our head-covering journeys), but there also seems to be a level of support and caring for each other’s well being that some of us don’t find in other aspects of our life- women supporting women, which we’ve done throughout history, but which many of us have lost in recent years. What a gift, that we can all share!
As I cried on Staten Island with my Wrapunzel sisters yesterday, this bond became so very clear, as all of us mothers were truly mourning, right alongside our dear friend Rachel.
This weekend turned out completely differently than I ever expected. Last Thursday, I never would have guessed that I’d be witnessing both a beginning of womanhood, an end of and all of the rituals that go along with those life events. For all intents and purposes, I shouldn’t have been anywhere near NY, but, apparently, there were plans that I was unaware of and my place was to be there for you, Rachel. I want to thank you and everyone in this group for making this community such an amazing place and most importantly, for the inspiration Kayla Rus has given me, a woman from Cleveland, who never even had the privilege of meeting her in person.
Ha-Makom yenahem ethem b’tokh sha’ar aveilei Tzion v’Yerushalayim ( May God comfort you among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem).
And a big thanks to you all, ladies. Every single one of you contributes to this community and makes it such an amazing place. I truly appreciate you all.”
Rachel Stolley Gray