Chanukkah Lights

As Chanukkah comes to an end, we stop adding candles every night, but we can continue to bring down Hashem's heavenly light into our physical world, through increasing our mitzvos and ahavas yisroel! It was wonderful sharing our chanukkah lights with you on Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook, thanks to everyone who liked, reblogged, sent warm wishes and joined us in sharing the light!

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Modest Monday: The Modest Problem

This week's piece is published in my school's paper, The YU Observer. Read a sneak peak below and then check it out the full piece!

In the wrong hands, the beautiful laws of modest attire become a means of objectification by placing an inappropriate emphasis on the female body and narrowing our valuation and evaluation of Jewish women to the dimensions of our skirts, our tights (or lack thereof) and the lengths of our sheitels. But can the dimensions of my skirt encompass the dimensions of my soul? That's not my modesty. I refuse to think that's what God meant by this mitzvah.
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Life in the Fast(ing) Lane

I didn't realize that it was a fast day when I ate breakfast this morning. It didn't occur to me because I didn't plan on fasting. Tzom Gedalia is a "minor" fast and I usually only fast on Tisha B'Av and Yom Kippur, so it wasn't even on my radar.

I woke up exhausted and starving, feeling "hungover" from Rosh Hashana and our late night drive home from my in-laws. The only thing on my mind was CARBS. After too many slices of toast, I put on gym clothes and went out to run errands. The plan was to eat lunch and hit the gym when I got home. 

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Rosh Hashana Looks

I had four goals for this year's Rosh Hashana looks: 1. Create four unique outfits 2. Mix and match as much as possible to fascilitate packing light. 3. Get one last wear out of my pretty summer dresses. 4. Work around the fact that clothes were limited because I didn't have time to do laundry last week.

I took these goals as challenges and turned my limitations into opportunities for creativity. Even thought I ended up using almost the same accessories throughout and stuck with mostly the same color palette, I still ended up with four unique looks.

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Wiggy Wednesday: Notes to My Newlywed Self

Starting a marriage is all about taking a relationship to the next level and with that comes a lot of adjustments. For me, the most remarkable adjustment of all didn't have a thing to do with the exciting new relationship I was in. No, my biggest adjustment occurred on my head. Navigating the new world of hair covering was quite the adventure and today I'm going to share what I wish someone had told me when I started covering my hair.

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What's Cooking: Shabbos Menu

We have a running joke that my mom doesn't need to bother making a main course on Friday night: everyone's full after her delicious gefilte fish, dips and chicken soup. But every week, without fail, she makes a full meal that has us all licking our plates and our guests begging for recipes. 

The first Shabbos I made with my husband after we got married, I went all out even though it was just the two of us. I probably didn't actually make that much but it felt like I did, because a) it was my first time cooking shabbos and b) we didn't make it past the soup course. 

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Wiggy Wednesday: Just a Few Strands of Hair?

SometimesIblendmyhairlineintomysheitels. There, I said it. I know, I know, how could I do such I thing? I know, I know, a few strands of hair is not worth keeping me up at night.  

But it is a big deal and it does keep me up at night. Because I feel judged. Because I'm afraid of judgement. 

Do I have hair pulled out here? I don't even remember. 

Do I have hair pulled out here? I don't even remember. 

But who's judging me, anyways? No one to my face. And who would judge me?

Not the women who cover every strand of hair. If that does somehow denote that they're more frum than me, more pious and zealous, then they wouldn't look down on me. Looking down on another Jew's practices has got to be worse than showing a few strands of married-lady hair.

Definitely not the women who show more hair than me, or cover in different ways than me or don't cover at all. What would they judge me for? Not being "better" than them?

While we're talking "better," who's to say who's better, anyways? Maybe a few strands of hair truly don't matter and it's the same as "fully" covering? Maybe a few strands is the same as not covering at all and, horror of horrors, I'm no better than the married women who walk around bare-headed and proud?

I think the real issue is not whether I show a drop of hair or you cover every strand or she leaves her hair uncovered or they pull out three inches. The problem is the comparison. The obsession with "better". I don't really care about a few hairs showing, and while I do believe in the interpretation that every strand should be covered, there's a part of me that thinks my conviction has less to do with halacha and more to do with a desire to be "better". I want to cover every strand -- and I want to do it with a gorgeous sheitel that keeps people from knowing my hair is covered at all -- for a sense of superiority over everyone who covers less, for everyone who covers differently. And with so much hair covered, in such a specific way, there are a lot more women that fall into the latter categories of covering less, covering differently. Which makes me feel "better". 

Well, then. That feeling doesn't come from a place of holiness at all. It comes from a place of self-righteousness. From my animal soul, which wants to feel good -- now! -- by looking down on others. And I think we can at least all agree that's so not the point of hair covering.

Yeah, I'm sure there's the objective "right" way that Hashem intended, but with thousands of Jews and tens of thousands of opinions, we just don't know exactly what Hashem would deem "right". Also, part of His plan was to allow for multiple interpretations to be valid and for us to love and respect each other, regardless of our differences. In some way, we're all right. And whether or not I show a few strands of hair, I'm doing alright.

Do you cover your hair? How? Do you you ever worry about facing judgement?