Tag Archive | star

Meet Chagit!

Chagit is truly a wrap star in every single way!  She is bold, fun, and never afraid to try something new!  Every time I come across a photo of her, my first reaction is “Wow!”  And then my second reaction is, “How did she do that?!”  Here she is, sharing her heart and mind, and teaching us some of her essential tips and tricks!  I know you’ll love her as much as I do!  (Make sure you click on her photos to get the full impact of amazingness!)

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Hi Chagit!  Can you tell us a little about yourself; how you spend your time, where you live, family, interesting hobbies etc.?
Hi sweetie and Hello to all those beautiful ladies out there. So before I start I just wanna say that Im super honored that you like my wrapping style. I just couldnt start without first saying, “Thanks”.
Hi again, my name is Chagit Rivera. I was born in Puerto Rico. Grew up in South Florida and now live in Israel with my beautiful family. I’ve been blessed with an awesome husband and seven beautiful kids B’H.
I consider myself to be a busy bee. I’m a stay at home mom and keep myself very busy tending to my house and family. The things that bring me pleasure are cooking shows, decorating, shopping, ice coffee, movie nights with my two older kids, pizza making night with the family, going to the city with my hubby, women’s classes/hanging out with my girlfriends and a clean house. Oh, and I absoluty LOVE wrapping! I LOVE talking about wrapping. I LOVE seeing all the beautiful wraps all around me.
Why do you cover your hair?
I cover for religious reasons.
How long have you been covering your hair?  How did you feel about it when you first started? 
I’ve been covering for a long long time. I first started covering with hats and that was kinda easy cause I loved hats then I moved to wraps/tichels. I was kinda sad when I had to cover my hair. To me my hair was my beauty. Everyone loved my hair. I always got tons of compliments about my hair. Silly me.
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How do you feel about it now?
Thank G-d I was wrong about the whole need to show my hair thing. I love to wrap. I feel like a queen. I feel beautiful, sexy, unique and still a part of something holy, something undescribable.
What inspires your head coverings?  Have you always been this creative?
I get inspiration from things around me. From different people. From different colors, from different patterns and textures. Inspiration is EVERYWHERE! I have always been a creative person and this helps me with my wraps. As a matter of fact,  you, Andrea are responsible for giving me that extra inspiration. Seeing you do what you do allowed me to try new things and explore this beautiful mitzva. I am forever grateful. Thanks babe.
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What colour/pattern advice do you have for other wrappers out there?
Everyone of us is different. We have different backgrounds, different skin tones, different styles. I’ll tell you what I do. I love to use all shades of greens, blues, purple, grays and browns. I love to throw in some polka dots, stripes, animal prints and floral prints. I use the colors that talk to ME and make me feel yummy inside. Cause at the end of the day it brings a smile to my face and others will feel my vibe.
Any tips/tricks/secrets you can share with us?
#1 Trick –  My all-time favorite trick is called “HEADBANDS”. Yes, you heard me correctly. I love using headbands. It adds so much to my wrap without adding tons of extra material. People never know its a headband until I tell them and trust me it looks awesome. Its like magic.
#1 Tip – Its just two words. TUCK and PAT. Again, Tuck and Pat. Thats all to it. The results are incredible.
#1 Secret – Well I guess its not a secret anymore. I’m gonna have to say besides my “headbands”, its the fact that I double poof. Yea, sounds crazy but I love it. And since I pin my accessories to my wraps to give it that nice clean look it doesnt hurt.
What are some of the most important hair covering lessons you’ve learned over the years?
Lesson number one: You have to LOVE your wrap.
Lesson number two: velvet handband.
Lesson number three: Simple is also beautiful.
Lesson number four: You have a whole lifetime to get this wrapping thing right. Don’t try things at are gonna overwhelm you. This is a beautiful mitzva. Remember, its beauty and everything else will come together sooner or later.
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An inspiring (or funny) hair covering moment that stands out in your mind?
I have inspiring and sometimes funny moments everytime I go in the city. I have NO problem stopping someone and letting her know how beautiful I think her headcovering is and how absolutely incredible she looks. I ask them how they wrapped it, and even where they bought a certain scarf. There is no shame to this wrapping journey I’m on. Oh, and by the way, I don’t speak hebrew so it can get pretty funny cause I find myself talking with my hands more than usual.
What does you hair covering say about your soul?
It tells me that I am a queen. That I am part of a holy plan. That I am not alone. I AM BEAUTIFUL BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN.
Any inspiring words for the ladies on the Wrapunzel blog?
Don’t be afraid to show a little bit of your personality in your wraps. You are all amazing beautiful women.
What are you grateful for right now?
I’m grateful for alot of things. But at this very moment I am grateful to be alive, to have the ability to see G-d’s beauty, to feel a loving hug and to touch my kids’ soft faces – completly humbled by G-d’s everlasting love.
*~*
Thank you so much Chagit for your inspiring words and beautiful photos!   Aint she a doll? Oh, guess what ladies!??  She’s started making tutorials!  Check these out!

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!

Tichel Love? MELANIE Love!

I’m very happy to introduce you to Melanie!  I met her on facebook about a year back.   She is inspiring in both her enthusiasm for tichels and helping others… really, just all aspects of life!  Her upbeat posts and support of everyone is infectious!  Oh, and let’s not even begin to talk about her incredible wrapping skills – I’ll let you see for yourselves!  I know she’ll make you smile ear to ear!

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Hi Melanie!  Can you tell us a bit about yourself!  How you grew up, what you enjoy doing, how you spend your time, etc.? I was adopted out of foster care at a young age. I grew up a military child, moving around a lot. I really enjoy my children, reading, and creating things. I have 4 children. 3 boys and an angel little girl we adopted. We are foster parents and LOVE living the life of all things child related. We homeschool and spend lots of time together as a family. I love it!

What led to your covering your hair with tichels?
Oh my so many things attributed to me covering my hair…the beauty of it drew me in like flames in a fire. It has been a journey of discovering who I really am.  I feel like I am hiding a piece of me that I used to let define me (as a former hairdresser) and saving it for my husband. When I do this I feel like I am showing others the true “me” not just what I wanted them to see which was for me, mostly about my looks and hair. I want to be modest and for me, that includes covering my hair and saving it for my sweet man!

How has your life changed since starting to cover? Many things have changed since I started covering. Most for the better, but let’s be real – sticking out like a (beautifully covered) sore thumb in an uncovered community has its moments, some encouraging and some just down right hard. In the hard moments I hold my Tichel up high and remember I am a Queen and I do this for the love and  respect of others whether they know it, or understand it. So I’d say it has made me more humble.

How did people around you react? They are still reacting. At first it was like an elephant in the room, sometimes that elephant is still there. When I feel it there I picture myself wrapping a beautiful Tichel on it… Then I start mentally wrapping up other women’s heads. That normally helps! Haha! Most are curious why I do, some want to argue about why they think I do, and some surprise me and start covering their own beautiful little heads! I tend to be flooded with compliments by complete strangers. Some women have started covering and will send me pictures of them all wrapped in beauti-mus-ness! I love that SO much! Overall I would say it has been taken very well by others 🙂

What do you love most about tichel tying? Everyday is a new day and a new Tichel! I am excited every night to wake up and put on a new/different Tichel the next day! I love how different ways of tying & colors and textures bring out different features of my face and my style.

PLEASE share with us your tips and tricks!! When I started buying scarves I was all over the place, anything that caught my eye I bought it. Now, I have a method to it. I like to buy lots of plain colored scarves to use as a base, I will watch for sales and stock up. So when I see different textures, odd sized pieces or wild colors I know I am bound to have a “base” that will match it. I also buy a lot of solid color clothing, that way I can be a little more wild & free when buying my Tichels and don’t have to worry about having something to match them.

What is your favourite tichel? Impossible question! Haha! Israeli Tichels are my favorite “type” though.

What recommendations would you make to someone who is just starting to learn how to tie? Watch videos of others tying, master one look you really like…and just keep trying! 😉 AND a velvet band is a MUST!

Can you tell me any interesting stories about the women you’ve met during your covering journey? A funny flattering story…I was in the grocery store with the kids, we turned onto the drink aisle and a container of juice had spilled all over the floor. I sent my oldest to go get a sales clerk and while he was gone a woman came down the other end of the aisle. She just kept staring at me. I was thinking she had seen the juice but she just kept walking straight for it, staring at me. Eventually she got so close and was about to walk right into the lake of grape juice all over the aisle so I lunged forward and said “stop!”. She was utterly shocked and snapped out of her fix on me, I said “ma’am there is juice on the floor be careful” she said…”I cannot stop staring at how beautiful your wrap, (is that what you call it?) is on your head….you are a breath of fresh air, and I cannot get enough! You are so modest AND beautiful! I don’t see this everyday!” It made me smile for a month! I promise! Haha!
I also had a case worker for one of my babies, who covers her hair and knows the lovely Zarinah El-Amin Naeem! We were so excited for the pictures from the last head wrap expo and wanted to come so bad! She would bring pictures and calendars of beautiful wraps when she would come over and we got to connect through our wraps. The first time she came to my house we both just stopped and stared at each other. It was funny and we laughed about it later. We were both so shocked to meet and have that in common!

What is your favourite colour? Oh my……the rainbow. Haha! I love all colors! I think purple and teal are my two “favorites” but it’s hard to say for sure! I love all colors!
What are you grateful for right now? The amazing, encouraging, sisterhood of women that cover as well!

 

The Beautiful Carmen!

Carmen is a true artist – and her talent for pairing gorgeous colours with the perfect accessories is nothing short of inspirational!  She and I have known each other on facebook for a while… yes, she is the one that inspired the pearls post recently!  I continuously wowed by her creativity… and her gentle and loving comments always let me know about the depth within her.  In the following photos make sure you click on them each individually to appreciate how she puts things together – it’s incredible!  I am so proud to introduce her to you as Wrapunzel’s Lady Wrap Star!
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By Carmen Mendez, edited by Nadia Kijanka

 

Helloooo Wrapunzel Ladies,

 

Let me start by saying that for me, the decision to cover my hair came suddenly and with a conviction that lasted longer than I expected. It started in November of 2013 when my husband showed me a YouTube tutorial and since then I’ve been covering every single day. The journey I’ve made from then until now was nothing immediate or easy. Though I must admit that while I always had a hidden passion for covering, I had no one to personally teach me how to do it, so the few times I did cover were not the best experiences for me.

 

In the YouTube video, a beautiful young woman was tutoring on how to wrap a scarf. This young woman was so humble and delicate that I was instantly captivated by her beautiful smile. The first video of hers I saw was set to Classical music, one in which she said nothing, but did a step by step demonstration. I was so amazed at how simple she made it look that I ran to my room looked for the few scarves I had collected in a box and started playing with them. I must admit that the first wrap I ever did popped right off! Like a typical beginner, I worried about my wrap staying in place, so I tied it really tight. It kept getting loose and moved around until it finally fell off. 

 

I had no clue that essentials like volumizers and velvet headbands existed until this beautiful girl spoke in another video about tips and tricks.  Later on, I find out her name, Andrea, and she has a blog called Wrapunzel. I literally spent two whole days just watching video tutorials on wraps and looking at pictures on her site. Based on her recommendations, I went onto the Judith de Paris website and purchased my first volumizer and velvet headband… I was starting to make a decision that would affect my everyday life from that point on, and I felt like the happiest woman alive!

 

While waiting for my volumizer and velvet headband, I decided to follow one of the recommendations on a Wrapunzel tutorial—I got one of my husband’s sock, rolled it, and placed it on my bun to create more volume. Then, I selected a really thin and comfy scarf and wrapped it on my head as a base, stuffing the ends inside the back for a little extra bulk.  I then proceeded to place another scarf on top of the “base,” accessorized it, and walla…my first real wrap! 

 

I went to work that day, and that’s when it all began. The first few days were pretty quiet and went by with very few comments, if any. Then, as weeks started to go by, eyebrows were raised and questions began to flow. Being the only person that covers in my place of work, some of my co-workers began to inquire why I was doing it everyday. Co-workers in my immediate circle know why I cover since most of them are Jewish, but others from different departments are still probably asking themselves the question if they’re too shy to just ask me directly.

 

Sometimes, others can really stumble on their words when they address the subject of my covering, but I have learned that being different can be an empowering side effect of following your heart. Before I covered, I felt bland and mediocre. I felt like I could have blended into the walls when in a crowd. There was nothing on the outside of me that reflected the more colorful, vibrant personality inside that Hashem created me to be. Since I started covering, everything about me has changed. Even my wardrobe has changed. Once that beautiful crown goes on my head, everything takes on a different roll than it did before; I’m different, transformed. I understand that you can’t show your entire self in every venue of your life. At the same time, spending hours of your life in an outfit that doesn’t express the person you really are feels terrible. I can’t even explain this transformation, but after it happens I feel beautiful and free. I am my own person, and I absolutely love the woman I’ve discovered I am through wrapping.

 

 When I leave work at the end of the day, I come home to my beloved husband whom I met in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico where I was born. I have also lived in New Jersey for 32 years and now reside in South Florida, where I have been working in a private school for close to 12 years now. I am the mother of six, with a Brady Bunch-styled family: three of my children and three of my husbands, and the grandmother to 13 beautiful grandchildren. After cooking dinner, I always choose the wardrobe I’m wearing for the next day—a habit I’ve had since I can remember.

 

 I love combining my wraps to the clothes I wear. The best part about this whole scenario is that at work I have students that visit me in the office just to see what color I’m wearing that day. When I wear their favorite color they come to see me more than once just to tell me that I’m wearing their favorite color. I have co-workers and even some parents that compliment my wraps and ask me how I do it or if someone does it for me. One parent even told me that she saw a beautiful scarf and remembered me when she saw it…she bought the scarf hoping she could learn to wrap it so she can wear it one day. I told her I would be more than happy to show her how.

 

 One of the most touching experiences I’ve had since I started covering was that one Sunday afternoon my husband and I went to a flea market. A young Jewish salesman called us over. We didn’t need the product, but my husband decided to help him out with a sale. A conversation between this young man and my husband developed, and I noticed the young man would continue to look at me, not in a disrespectful way, though. All of a sudden he said, “My friend I envy you so. I would like for your wife to meet my wife because I see that your wife is the perfect example of tzniut.”

 

This is a word that means “modesty” in Hebrew, and I felt honored by his comment. My husband smiled and the young man later explained that his wife doesn’t cover because she feels uncomfortable as no one else she knows covers. I realized how difficult it can be to represent something about yourself that you love for fear of judgment that may or may not even exist. It can be so easy to blend in, to not “rock the boat” or “look for attention,” as critics might say. What we can sometimes forget is that those are sayings used to keep us all the same, keep us from being ourselves. 

 

One of the things I love the most is accessorizing my wraps. I tend to visit thrift stores, department stores and swap shops to look for different accessories for my wraps. One of the accessories I really love are pearls. If I find them in all color and sizes, big or small, you can be sure they will adorn my wrap! I even learned to make pearl necklaces into headbands by taking off the clasps and adding elastic in their place. My collection of hair covering continues to grow and grow, but pearls are always a nice personal touch! 

 

When it comes to tips and tricks for covering, I really have nothing of my own as every tip and trick I do know I’ve learned by watching Wrapunzel tutorials and other women that cover. I do however like the idea of wearing a thin scarf as a base underneath the one that will be exposed (for the extra volume). I wrap the base scarf to make it look neat and round; this way, I know that the top scarf will look neat as well (this is optional as I don’t do this all the time). Accessories can be tricky for me—I have so many that sometimes it’s hard to choose! There are times I’m afraid I may over accessorize, so I observe caution. When in doubt, a simple string of pearls goes a long way in my experience.

 

From covering my own hair, I’ve learned that a woman that covers herself, whether for religious, health or personal reasons, will always be the center of attention especially in a community that does not use head covering. Positive or negative comments will surely arise, but that is something that can’t be controlled by the barer of the cover. I’ve been fortunate; so far I have received nothing but compliments from those around me. But I must say—the journey can be lonely. In my case, I’m the only one that uses a hair covering in my family, the community in which I live, and my work place (for the time being). The most amazing thing is, through discovering Wrapunzel, I have realized I am not the only woman going through this, not by a long shot! Reading the blogs and posts, seeing the daily/weekly pictures, and learning new wraps have inspired me to start and keep going with this self-expression. 

 

I am overjoyed that my husband love’s my wraps, too, and somehow I get the feeling this is something he planned all along (as it was him who found the Wrapunzel site). I am grateful he sticks up for me and pushes me to be confident in myself and my decisions. 


 

Lady Wrap Star: Introducing Heather!!

The first moment I saw Heather’s glowing face when she posted a photo on the Wrapunzel Store facebook page, I was bowled over!  Her smile!  The infectious love for hair covering!  Wow!  Who is this woman?  A few photos later and it was more than clear that she had to be a Lady Wrap Star on this blog!  I was also very curious to hear her story and get to know the woman behind the smile!  Well, thankfully she was happy to share with us!  Let’s hear it for Heather!

I wasn’t raised frum.  I was barely raised with any real Judaism at all.  My idea of Orthodoxy was full of misconceptions and stereotypes galore.  In my own naiveté, the idea of hair covering brought up images of women shaving off their glorious locks, only to deprive them and their husbands, and made me cringe.  When my mother, a”h, learned I was becoming frum, she initially cried thinking that I would also do this.  I assured her that this wasn’t the case.

When I got engaged, I struggled with the idea of covering my hair.  My hair was my most prized physical possession. It was long and red, and k”h, pretty amazing.  So what changed my mind?

I was teaching at NYU at the time and living on the Upper West Side.  While I was waiting on the subway platform, someone came up behind me, and raked his fingers through my hair, from the nape of my neck to the ends and then just walked away.  I never saw his face.  Of all the parts of me to be groped on the subway (and as New York women know, unfortunately that happens) he chose my hair.  I immediately called my husband (then fiancé) and told him what happened, and we both decided that Hashem had just sent us a message.

That doesn’t mean that it was easy for me.  I started with berets (it was the 90s, and that was the cool thing) and moved on to hats of all sorts.  When I started teaching at the Yeshiva of North Jersey, I chose a sheitl because that seemed to be the thing to do.  My main problem was that I would have to cut my hair to fit under the wig, and every time I did it made me sad.  Wrapping allows me to keep my hair as long as I (and my husband) likes.

One of the reasons that I became frum was that I craved a connection to the past.  I tried to connect to the generations before me, all of whom lived a life of Torah and mitzvot.  When I came across the Wrapunzel website, the first thought was that the Imhaot did not wear hats and they certainly did not wear sheitls; they wrapped their long beautiful hair.  I could imagine them wrapping, and showing nothing but their beautiful shining faces, and I wanted to emulate that.  

Truth be told, my husband was not initially a big fan, as he loves my hair, and for him, a sheitl is as close as you can get in public.  But what I told him was this: The hair is for us, but the cover is mine.  He couldn’t argue with that.

I spent (spend) many hours watching Andrea’s and Rivkah Malka’s tutorial videos, and they are beautiful.  They are always smiling and glowing, and there is no way that radiance shows with the distraction of a sheitl.  To each their own of course, and there are some beautiful sheitls out there, but there is nothing like a wrap to show the true beauty of an Aishes Chayil.

Heather Okoskin Benjamin

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Proud Tichel Wearer, Rebecca!

Hi Wrapunzelers!  I’m happy to introduce you to Rebecca, a woman who proudly wears her tichels in the workplace and writes about her experiences!  Here is what she has to say to us Wrapunzel ladies about herself… let’s give her a warm welcome!

Hi everyone!
I’m Rebecca, and I’ve been covering my hair since I got married about for about four and a half months ago. When I was engaged, I put a lot of time and effort into researching how and why I was going to cover my hair. I wanted the mitzvah to be meaningful and something I connected with. I really enjoyed reading the book Hide and Seek: Jewish Women and Hair Covering by Lynne Schreiber. I recommend this book to anyone who is considering covering their hair for Jewish reasons. While I was engaged, I took a trip to a sheitel store and tried on a few wigs, but I just didn’t connect to the wig. So hats, scarves, and tichels it was!

I have a lot of fun covering my hair and matching my coverings to my outfits. And my collection of hair coverings keeps growing! As times goes on, I’m getting better at adding accessories, like hair pins and earrings. I’m still working on getting more of the elaborate tichels and wraps to stay on my head all day without having to re-adjust!

I work as a school psychologist at a public high school with essentially no Jewish community. I had worked at my job for about two years before I got married and covering my hair. So, when I started covering my hair, it was very obvious. I get a lot of questions, comments, and remarks from co-workers and the students I work with. And the remarks are overwhelmingly positive! I get comments saying how classy I look, and I get into meaningful discussions about the Jewish concept of marriage.

Now that I’ve started covering my hair, most of the people I work with know that I’m Jewish. I look at this as an opportunity to be a Kiddush Hashem; to be a positive example for the Jewish people.

Because all of my friends and family enjoyed the stories I told them about the comments I get about covering my hair and being Jewish at work, I started a blog. It’s called Jew In The School: The Adventures of the Tichel-Wearing School Psychologist. You can follow me on Facebook  and read the blog too!

Our Lady Wrap Star: Naomi

Our newest Lady Wrap Star is a wizardess with scarves, deep, talented, brave, and genuine.  You may remember her face from the zig-zag criss-cross post:

This is Naomi. When this photo was taken she wasn't yet covering her hair publicly.

This is Naomi. When this photo was taken she wasn’t yet covering her hair publicly.

Additionally, she also happens to be a very special friend, and most recently she became my sister!  Yes, less than two weeks ago, my brother married this beautiful woman!  My husband and I were lucky enough to be able to stay in their area for the week after the wedding, and therefore I got to experience her ethereal head wraps.  These photos were taken during the sheva brachot (meals eaten for the week after a Jewish wedding), one for each day.

Day One

Day Two (the first day was the wedding!)

Day Three:

Day Four:

Day Five - Morning

Day Five – Morning

Day Five – Evening

The only one we didn’t get was from Friday night (day six) where she paired a colourful sari scarf wrap with a black dress.

And finally, Day Seven - taken after Shabbat!

And finally, Day Seven – taken after Shabbat!

So yes, her wrapping skills are out of this world and she is a stunning woman.  However, she is so much more than these pictures can even begin to convey.  You’ll see.  I will now hand the writing over to Naomi so you can get to know her better.

The Weight of the Crown: Thoughts on the Visibility of Hair-Covering

My name is Naomi and I didn’t grow up religious. I want to write about hair covering, not my spiritual journey, but I felt I had to put it on the table. A lot of the practices of orthodox Judaism don’t mesh very well with secular American culture, and hair covering is definitely one of them. When you grow up identifying as an observant Jew, most people understand, even if they don’t agree with your religious reasoning, that you have a cultural practice of covering your hair. However, when you decide to become religious later in life, things become more complicated. For the rest of your life, you will have one foot in your new, observant Jewish community and the other foot at home with your non- (or less-) religious family and childhood friends. If you want to preserve your childhood and family relationships, you have to be ready to explain why you would obligate yourself to do all these frustratingly complicated things when you could have had a perfectly easy life by staying just the way you were.

Andrea and many other married Jewish women liken covering their hair to wearing a crown. Now that I’m doing it, I think this analogy is apropos on more than one level. It’s not just that both crowns and scarves are beautiful and royal-looking. It’s that by covering my hair, I become a public figure: a visible ambassador of an entire culture. To my non-Jewish friends, colleagues, and even to strangers, my behavior gets filed under “How Jews Act.” Like a queen’s crown, a judge’s robe, or a policeman’s badge, my head covering is not just an accessory. It has weight; it puts me under scrutiny. I carry on my head the heavy responsibility of giving people a positive impression of Judaism.

This certainly didn’t sink in for me right away. Even before getting engaged, I was spoiled rotten as far as preparation for hair covering goes. I poked through all of Andrea’s posts and videos. I sneakily collected scarves for months from thrift shops and piled them in a box at the back of my closet. When I was stuck at home doing laundry, I would have a complex, fancy triple-scarf wrap on my head just because. At this point, I loved hair covering in the same way that I loved cute shoes or nail polish. It was FUN, and I quickly became pretty good at it – even though I was secretive to avoid scaring my not-quite-fiancé. This period of girlish excitement persisted through most of our engagement, until about two weeks from the wedding. One day, I looked at myself in the mirror, and I realized that married me could never leave the house without a hair covering again. And then the old righteous I-should-be-allowed-to-do-whatever-I-want instinct and the why-should-“organized religion”-tell-me-what-to-do instinct kicked back in. I hadn’t heard from either of them in a while, but we all deal with them. Even those of us who stand strongly by the decisions we’ve made. It’s part of human nature to fight against obligations and limitations that make our lives more difficult, and maybe even more so when the only one to blame for the obligations is ourselves.

While I struggled to make peace with hair covering in the little time remaining before my wedding, other parts of my Jewish life blossomed in ways I had never imagined. The community around us came together and literally made our wedding. In the same sense that people say “it takes a village to raise a child,” it took our whole village to marry us. Our food was home-cooked by a couple of powerhouse local women who’ve personally catered over 150 weddings for couples who are still students or just starting out financially. Our florist lent us 30 vases and gave us a bunch of floating candles for free. I bought my dress for next-to-nothing from a Jewish vendor on Etsy who was getting rid of old inventory. Friends from the synagogue drove us around everywhere on errands since we don’t have a car.

Never before had I felt so welcome in the Jewish community, but I still had difficulty with the notion of becoming so visibly religious. What eventually helped me reconcile all of these feelings was this: When someone you trust with your life gives you a piece of advice, even if that advice is very strange, you don’t throw it out immediately. It might be hard. It might not fit the picture of what you grew up with, or what’s popular right now. Though the advice isn’t easy to take, the source of the advice is so important to you that you’ll follow it anyway. When we’re little, we think we should be allowed to eat cookies every day. Maybe we even have a friend down the street who does eat cookies every day and we resent the carrot sticks that we get in our lunches instead. But in the end of course, our moms were right – the carrots are healthier. We just weren’t in a place, as children, to understand.

My G-d and my community, collectively, represent a force of kindness, caring, and pure knowledge far greater than I possess alone. Even though it is hard to look different, hard to explain to someone on the street, when a piece of wisdom comes from Judaism, I listen. The morning after my wedding, I did that same fancy triple-scarf wrap that I’d secretly worn while doing laundry. It used to take me five minutes. That morning, my hands shook and it took me over twenty. My husband was looking on in curiosity, but I had to ask him to go away because he was making me even more nervous.

In the end, covering my hair has been both easier and harder than I thought and feared it would be. In this and many other areas of Jewish life, I am still very much a child. I struggle with wanting to eat cookies instead of carrot sticks. But the weight of the queen’s crown, the responsibility of my visible presence as a Jewish woman, reminds me that I must make the best of myself. I’ve only been married a week, and already I’ve made a concentrated effort to greet people with a smile (Should a stranger’s only contact with an observant Jew consist of a distracted frown?). I try to show up earlier, tip more generously, and listen more attentively so others know that I value them. It takes effort to push myself like this, but I’m so glad my covered head is forcing me to do it.

It is tempting to live life pursuing comfort instead of growth. But if you stay comfortable, you will never find your full potential. Cover your hair beautifully, with inner commitment, and you will literally turn heads in the street. You are in the limelight now. It isn’t going to be comfortable at all, but you just might change the world.