Daily Archives: October 23, 2009

My Judaism

Guest Post from Elianah Sharon.

Where I live I can guarantee you 100% that I am the only Jewish woman in the county who covers her hair.  I am the only person in my synagogue who does…as well, I think, as the only one who maintains a kosher kitchen and buys kosher meat.  I am also the only one who goes to the mikveh every month and has a sheitl hanging off the side of her bedroom mirror.

My therapist once asked me if I liked to create controversy.  And to be quite honest, I don’t!  I’d rather NOT be the “token Jew”, rather NOT be looked upon as weird when I insist on vegetarian options at office luncheons and NOT have people stare at me when I go into WalMart.  I can also tell you that driving 45 minutes each way to the mikveh, especially in the summer, well, that can be a chore.

The thing is though that I AM a Jewish woman.  It didn’t FEEL right not to have a kosher kitchen.  Likewise, it didn’t FEEL right that I didn’t use the mikveh every month.  And once I started using the mikveh every month, it felt weird to just cover my hair on the trip to and from and not during the time in between.

I felt weird at first, covering my hair.  I also didn’t know what to cover WITH.  My friend Wendy uses snoods but in the greater Pittsburgh community, I would think the most common covering is a sheitl and at that time, I just wasn’t ready for it; it’s one thing to cover your hair with a bandanna and quite another to obviously be wearing a wig. It made me feel awkward. But something inside was pulling me.  I started covering at home when I’d arrive from work in the afternoon.  I had gotten a pre-tied tiechel from www.coveryourhair.com and LOVED it.  My online friends (especially Hadassah) were writing blogs about hair coverings and how important it was to them and their families.  I decided to take the plunge.  Just like when I started using the mikveh , I found I felt at peace.  I felt it was a mitzvah I could do and so therefore I should do it.  There are so many we can’t do…we should always do those which we can.

So, after having surgery on June 24, I started covering my hair.  I did it in the hospital.  I did it when I went out.  I did it when I came back to work.  Initially, I was given some grief but my wonderful Rabbi consulted an attorney who sent back information so that my hair covering at work became a non-issue.  I have covered every day ever since.  Normally I wear pre-tied bandannas and some snoods.  I have a sheitl but I only wear that on Shabbat.

My husband asked me last night why I still insist on coloring my hair.  I guess he has a point that since my hair is covered, it IS a waste of money.  Still, I like to know I have pretty hair under my hair covering, I mean…what would be the point if I didn’t?  What would there be to save just FOR my husband to see if I just used a hair covering to hide behind?

I will admit I love my hair coverings.  I have pre-tied bandannas in an array of colors and patterns now and several hats I love to wear. I can match any outfit I choose!  I also talked to Hadassah about banded falls and thought that would work for me so I have a pair of those as well.  Two wigs I got earlier that just didn’t do it for me went in a box to a little girl in Alaska who has alopecia.  I really enjoy covering.  I can’t imagine NOT doing it now.

Finally…my hairdresser told me last night I should stop covering as it may be damaging hair that is already in a fragile state since I have some serious vitamin issues right now because of my surgery.  The thinking was that letting my hair just “be” would be healthier than covering.  I couldn’t even consider it this morning as I picked a snood to wear.  I am still a newbie to this whole observant lifestyle but I do know that now covering to me is as natural as putting on shoes.  It’s like my kosher kitchen…I can’t even imagine NOT doing the 45 minute-each-way-round-trip to buy kosher meat or visit the mikveh. It’s just what we do now.  To do anything else would 1) throw away a lot of hard work and commitment and 2) just not be the Jewish way to live our lives. It may sound weird, but I feel holier when I cover my hair because I know I am doing a mitzvah that I am commanded to do.  I don’t feel that it makes me any less of a woman or degrades me.  It’s just a mitzvah I am asked to do, I CAN do and so I do. With pleasure.

I really believe deep down in my heart of hearts that my increased observance this year has led directly to wonderful blessings for my family.  I started going to the mikveh in March and my husband received his heart transplant at the end of that month.  How can I not do what G-d asks of me when it is so little compared to all that He has given to me?

sharonElianah Sharon is a 40-something mom to a very, special 16 year old boy and wife to her bashert who just received the blessing of a heart transplant in March 2009.  She loves to read, write, knit, Facebook and she texts like a fiend. She writes a blog tooIrresistably Me. She is Jewish to the bone, loves her faith, her heritage and her life! Her feelings are her own as is the unique way she sees her life. She thinks it is ALL bashert. The rest? It’s commentary.

If you would like to submit an essay for the MY JUDAISM column, the guidelines and disclaimers are here.

Bookmark and Share