A Violinist Lady Wrap Star!!



Our beautiful Ariella!
Our beautiful Ariella!

Meet Ariella!  When we first met, I was like, “There’s another blonde, funky, frum (Torah observant), classical musician string player in the world?!  Yay!”  She seriously rocks my socks off!  Here are some gorgeous, fun photos of her, and an interview!  You’ll love hearing what she has to say!


10389681_10201806209856861_3686881502923775562_nHi Ariella, can you tell us a bit about yourself, how you spend your time, what you love to do, where you live, etc.?
Hey there everyone,  I’m Ariella Zeitlin-Hoffman, a violinist from Israel. I grew up in Baltimore, and made aliyah to Israel when I was 18 (on my birthday) spent a year learning Hebrew, and then went into the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance where I met Andrea and her husband Yonatan.  Music is a huge part of my life-My parents are kind of the hippie rock stars of the community we lived in, and their Simchat Beit HaShoeva was the place to be for years and years-Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach used to pop in yearly, but I don’t remember him so I don’t have any great stories except there was one year that the whole sukka fell over and I remember a feeling of panic because they were expecting a hundred or so people. My grandfather, Zvi Zeitlin was considered by the NY Times to be the Methuselah of violin players-making a full recital on his 90th birthday!   Today I play one of his violins and use a bow which was made exclusively for him by a jeweler named Henry Kasten. So I always had those two important influences in my life-the classical and the folk, and as a musician I’m really connected to both genres, unnasmedwhich has made me very in demand (thank G-D!) as a studio player because I keep it in both worlds with note reading, improvising, and playing by ear.
Time, time! I’m still at home with our baby, and summer vacation is just finished now so I’ve been spending an awful lot of time with the family-when it’s regular time, which is starting now, I really spend all of my time either playing violin, teaching, spending time with my family, or dealing with the house type of stuff that nobody wants to do (except those crazy Pinterest moms who I aspire to be like). I’m also a super nerdy crafter (seem like the type, eh?) and love to crochet, sew, bake, and upcycle furniture-I love painting and sanding and getting my hands dirty. My husband makes beer so he’s also crafty like that.  In terms of work, I teach and I do a lot of freelance work-concerts, bar shows, studio sessions, etc. So I’m really busy! And even when I’m not busy with work, there’s always something else to do. We live today in Herzliya, where my husband works as the Rabbi for Jeff Seidel’s student center, so we have programs of different kinds almost every night of the week in our house. Sometimes I’m there, sometimes not-depends on how worn out I am. I also have the attitude that when I’m at home I’m all at home-I try to keep my mind off of other projects so when I’m at home, and I really try to keep my phone far away until our kids are asleep. With my big daughter in Pre-K,  our baby boy is mainly with me except when I have work. Sometimes think about getting a real job and putting him in daycare, but I love being a mom, and he’s an easy kid so I get a lot done.

DSC_0197Do you have a favourite composition? Or a few favourites? Why?
So a few months ago, I had a series of concerts where I performed the Mendellsohn Violin Concerto with an all-women’s orchestra from Jerusalem with concerts all over the country. There were 5 concerts in total, and there are some plans to resume the tour in the fall, but nothings set in stone yet.  They’re making sure I’m still practicing!! Anyways, back to Mendellsohn. I mean he was just brilliant and stunning in his writing. Gorgeous music. The concerto is also unique because the way it is written is kind of like an exchange between the orchestra and the soloist, and I love how  the theme starts in the violin at the beginning instead of the opposite, which is more standard, setting the scene for the drama of the orchestra to come in. Ahh…Mendellsohn. Also the 3rd movement is a lot of fun. Another favorite piece is the Khachaturian Violin Concerto, which is a rich and intense musical drama-Khachaturian was an Armenian and the journey of the Armenians and the Jews has many parallels in the past century. In fact, my great grandparents were jailed in Russia because of Zionist activity, and they were put in front of an Armenian judge for trial, who empathized with their desire for a homeland and instead of sending them to Siberia as punishment, actually sent them to Palestine in 1927. And, and, and…well what I think is so great about loving music is that you’re really familiar with different types of music so you know what you want to hear at different times. There are very few genres that I dislike. I’ve experimented in everything, and love all kinds of music. I love show pieces-pieces written for the violin which classical performers call ‘fluff’-written to impress but not really deep. I play a lot of those in certain types of venues. I love singing, also and am currently working on a few singles of my original songs. I love 50’s rock and roll, I love any band with positive vibes and messages, I love dubstep and trance and folk and rock and fiddle music and country and middle eastern Arabic and am practicing my beatboxing!

gsdfHow did you feel about hair covering before getting married?
So I’d always been back and forth about my feelings about covering. On the one hand, I grew up in a community of coverers. There was only one woman who wore a beautiful tichel on a regular basis, Rivka Malka Perlman, but she was also so gorgeous and striking that whatever she wore on her head would have looked amazing (you all know what I’m talking about). Then I moved to Israel, went to Seminary, started seeing people in tichels, and then I went into University. And that was the first time I heard of this concept of head covering being oppressive to women-to me it was always just something people did, and I never asked too many questions. But all of my opinions were constantly being challenged by the people around me and I really started to question every single thing I had always taken for granted as true and normal. Was hair covering really oppressive? I started looking around and kind of left that particular issue aside-there were so many other issues to deal with and figure out where I stood on them that I hadn’t really thought of before.  Then my journey brought me to my husband, and we spent a year and a half figuring out together what Judaism meant to both of us and who we wanted to be-and kind of discovered accidentally that we had fallen in love! So we ended up in the whole whirlwind of everything and the headcovering thing? I still hadn’t really given it a thought.  Then when I got engaged, we went to the States and my mother bought me two wigs-a full one and a headband one. And I just kind of went with everything-actually my awesome husband came sheitel shopping with me! Not really done by anyone else, but the concept was so weird for me, that I felt like I needed him along for support, and it was a lot of fun, although I could tell that Tsfat had worn off on him and he wasn’t super into it. It was always taken for granted (for me) that I would cover my hair and I never gave it much thought. I bought a lot of fun wigs from the stores catering to black women that clipped on and I really had fun with the whole thing-but still hadn’t settled on what was me. I think the most important thing for anyone starting out and wanting to cover, is that don’t ever be totally set on what you’re going to wear-and don’t buy a lot of anything until you know what fits your personal style!!

578382_3536395208486_1733151957_nHow do you feel about it now and how has the journey been for you?
So after I got married, I covered fully, but I really started hating covering. It felt uncomfortable, I felt like I stuck out-I wore a half wig with a hat or scarf to University so nobody would know I was covering fully, and then when someone would come near my head for any reason I would jump out of my skin because I REALLY didn’t want anyone to know I was wearing a wig (and whats the point if you’re trying so hard to make sure nobody knows?) So after a while I forewent the wigs. I almost never wear a wig now except for rock shows where I wear a wig that’s as big as rhode island but that’s for fun, not for modesty purposes. And I started doing what they call the ‘half cover’ where I wear a head covering both as a symbol of being married, as well as covering my head as opposed to all my hair, which is another opinion within the spectrum of Jewish law and which, for now, makes me feel the most myself. It also puts people more at ease in a professional setting, because they think I’m ‘cool’ which I just think is a little nutty, but people judge on appearances. I also do a lot of work in ultra-orthodox places, and I really change the way I look from place to place that I go, depending on the requests of the demographic.

40What is your personal favourite way of covering your hair? 
My favorite way of covering is with a long scarf tied on my head with hair showing in the front and the back. It’s a look that makes me feel super bohemian princess. And I love accessorizing with glittery things! Hair clips, pins, sparkly headbands, and sparkly scarves, of course. I love drawing attention to the fact that I’m covering. Wearing scarves makes me feel like such an example of the beautiful parts of our traditions, especially when people see my fun ties and colorful accessories (probably sounds familiar to most of you on the blog!!)

Tips and tricks that you can share with us?
– A couple of months ago, my husband and I did a home improvement project where we bought a broom stick, and chopped it into two pieces-one long and one short. We put them both on the walls with hooks and connected to chains and I now keep all my scarves there-they look so beautiful and it gives me such a wonderful feeling to walk into my room. Also lets me see all my scarves-long scarves on one, headbands on the other. Being able to see everything makes it so much easier to coordinate!
– Don’t buy a lot of anything specific when you’re just starting out. Everyone’s different, you’ll discover styles you love with scarves that you didn’t buy and end up with a hundred of the wrong type, haha!
– Velvet Headbands are amazing-buy at least two!
unnamhhed– Those really pretty ones? The more expensive ones? I decided that I wanted to make my own last summer. But I’m the type that never does just one project. So I made 8. They take a LONG time. And they come out wonky if you’re not an excellent sewer. And they cost money for all the materials. The people who are good at making them really deserve what they’re charging. Obviously there’s a lot of value in doing projects for the sake of doing projects but if you look at something and think ‘I could do that myself’ I’d say if you’re pressed for time, or are not naturally meticulous, it’s really ok to invest in something beautiful and that they’re probably not overcharging. So treat yourself every once in a while!
– The confidence you have in whatever you do is way more important than what you’re wearing. In all matters. But be proud of the choices that you make, and always check in with yourself that you really feel good about what you are doing. Obviously there are reasons that people do things besides feeling good, but if you do anything specific, you have reasons that you do them. Make sure that your actions are consistent with your beliefs

Can you share a memorable hair covering moment?
A few days after my wedding, when I was still figuring out the scarf thing and it was insanely hot I wore a thin slippery one, which, come to think of it I don’t think I’ve seen in years now but I liked. And if course it fell off in the bank. I unfortunately have had several situations where I was trying to juggle 4000 things and when the scarf came off, I looked around and everyone was kind of waiting for me to freak out-but these things happen, and what can you do. So I’ve just played it cool and I think people were disappointed! But that’s a memorable un-covering hair moment. A memorable hair covering moment would probably be the first time I played in a big show for a Dati-Leumi audience and I layered so many scarves my head almost fell off. But I really wanted that statement look! I try, whatever I am doing, to make the scarves a really important part of my look-because I think looking funky in scarves is an important statement and an important part of my identity.

What are you grateful for right now?
I’m grateful for so many things! I often stop and count my blessings and I make grateful lists all the time-I’ve found that for me, gratitude is the thing that makes me feel most happy and satisfied. I also am a huge subscriber to dream charting-where you think about what you want to accomplish, and spend time every day thinking about how to get there, and some of that time appreciating the steps you’ve taken thus far. I have found that, although many people say that it’s hard to have a successful career In addition to being married and having children, that I’m probably much more successful than I might be if I weren’t married to my husband, who keeps me grounded and helps me to achieve success all the time. So he’s number one on grateful!  I’m grateful to have a good life, a wonderful, healthy extended family, no debt (finally paid off all my student loans!!!), a successful career in something I truly love, good friends, and lots of dreams!

unnaimedWhat do you want to bless the readers of Wrapunzel with for the coming Jewish Year?
Judaism is all about starting fresh. Renewal, prayer, repentance, charity, and as we come to the new year, I want to bless you all that every bad moment and memory that is weighing you down will become a stone in the path that you realize that it has helped you to get where you are, and that you can take those moments and accept them, and really look at them with a fresh eye to see how they have brought you to where you are today, accept them, and then leave them be. A lot of people carry around the baggage of old relationships, or of bad situations of any kind. Stop. You are a new person from this very moment. You control your destiny. You are wonderful and talented and brilliant and special. For me, from a young age I had this *one thing* that was my gift. I was fat, I didn’t have many friends, but I was musical-and I felt chained to that description of me, like there was no other thing that I was. At a certain point I sunk into a low point of depression over that thought, but at a later point I realized we really are all a beautiful bouquet of wonderful gifts, and as I got older and was able to recognize my own gifts, I was able to appreciate and love others for their contributions to the world. When you realize that you are wonderful because you have a beautiful soul and you try to bring more joy, light, warmth, and kindness into the world, there is no greater feeling than to recognize that in others. So I bless you all that you can leave your baggage behind in order to bask in the light of the coming redemption!

The Mendellsohn!


You can find more from Ariella at:

My Candy Violin Friend!

Having an online hair wrapping blog means that I get the honour of meeting the coolest, wonderful-est people!  Mirjam and I have been in touch for a while through email… she is a Jewish violinist from France… and yesterday she send me the most gorgeous and happy photo that I just had to share with all of you!

Candy violine 1

She’s wearing the Candy Swirls kit (with an added purple Shimmery – genius!) while playing her beautiful violin!  There is so much kedusha (holiness) in this photo and I hope it moves you as much as it moved me.

Here is a picture of Mirjam without her violin but looking all the kiddush Hashem that she is:
Candy braid 3

Thank Gd for the miracles of email and online-ness for helping us meet so many special souls!  Remember to keep making music with everything that you do ❤

Love, Andrea

My tichel matches my… cello?

As I was playing today my husband noticed that my tichel matched my cello!  Well… not quite, but close enough!
andrea grinberg wrapunzel

Soooo I am wearing my two new favourite tichels from the summer line!  These ombre two in ones are so awesome!!!!  They’re very light and durable and I’m finding that adding one is like adding three new scarves without adding any bulk!  And this brown pashmina (we named it Andrea’s Brown because I’m so crazy about it) is just… so yummy!  I can’t even explain why I love it so much… it’s just such a special color!  And these pins – Rivka Malka and I had doubts about these… they actually aren’t so great off a tichel, but ON a tichel!  Wow!   Made for it! My husband says they remind him of grapes 🙂  They just add so much… very happy!

Sending so much love and happiness to all of you!!  Play on!
Love, Andrea xo

Introducing… Nava!

wrapunzel nava
Hello, world of Wrapunzel! I’m Nava – I am a graphic artist by day, and a musician by night. This is actually how I met Andrea a few years ago, and we have been great friends ever since. A few years after meeting Andrea, I was fortunate enough to meet my wonderful husband, Jonathan, and we have now been married for just over one year.

My husband and I identify with a community where not all of the married women cover their hair every day, and this is what I have chosen to do because this is what usually makes me feel most comfortable . I always cover my hair on shabbat, chagim (Jewish holidays), and at Jewish events (such as weddings, bar mitzvas, bris’s, etc). I cover my hair at these events because I feel it is important for me to send a open signal to the community that I am a married woman, and it makes me feel more comfortable when I know I am making this clear (eg. not every guy does the finger check). I also feel that by covering my hair, I am acknowledging the religious importance of the event and am making an extra outward effort to show respect for that fact (rather than an inward effort) – just like I make an effort to wear nice clothing on shabbat and chagim to make these days special, I also want to cover my hair in beautiful ways for the exact same reason. As well as being a sign that I am married and devoted to my wonderful husband, covering my hair also gives me a way of portraying a membership to my community that I also love very much and am most grateful to have in our lives.

I have always loved scarves and have been building up a collection for years. Before I was married, I always wore these scarves around my neck, but now that I am married, this is what I use to cover my hair!

I love all of the different ties and combinations you can do – I really love mixing colours and textures, and using different accessories. Every dollar store or used clothing store trip is a treasure hunt for new accessories or scarves to add to my collection! I also love incorporating braids into my ties, I find them so wonderfully regal-looking. And since I was never really able to make beautiful braids in my own hair (since it is so curly and knotty), I enjoy having the chance to make braids in my tichels (headscarves)!

Meet Rivki :)

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:

lady wrap star wrapunzel rivki

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.
lady wrap star wrapunzel rivki
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.
lady wrap star wrapunzel rivki
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!
lady wrap star wrapunzel rivki
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.
lady wrap star wrapunzel rivki
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.