Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ask Chaviva Anything: The Grab-Bag Edition

As I prepare for yet another bowl of Gluten-Free Fruity Pebbles ...

This is going to be quite the grab bag, because there hasn't been a theme as of late. Question Number One asks,
How does hair care when you cover your hair work? Do you get your hair trimmed or cut, or do you just let it do whatever? And if you do get it cut, how does that work?
Since moving to Israel, I've had my hair cut twice -- once up in Ra'anana (near Tel Aviv) in December and one by a local friend before the wedding. Since getting married, I've been sort of letting my hair do whatever it wants, occasionally trimming my own bangs (or, if you're from the U.K., "fringe") against my own intuition. It's long enough now that I can put it in two little pigtails in the lower back, or one sort of loose small ponytail in the back with pins. The interesting thing that I've experienced is that my hair is reacting a lot better to being covered this time around than last. When I was married the first time, my hair started thinning out and became really frail, but this time around it's getting thicker and longer much faster. It can be hard to maintain hair while covering, but it just takes some attention to shampooing and conditioning to really make it work.
How long did your Orthodox conversion process take? 
I started attending an Orthodox synagogue before Pesach in 2008, moved to Connecticut in August 2008 and started attending an Orthodox synagogue in West Hartford around November 2008. My official "training" began in January 2009, I applied with the RCA to officially convert in October 2009, and had my conversion dip on January 1, 2010. So it was roughly, officially, a year.
I'm turning green with envy at your head covers you're posting on Instagram. I live in the U.S. Do you know where I can find some like that?
I wish I knew where you could find some of these coverings. The thing that I've noticed about head coverings here in Israel is that the fabric is more breathable, flexible, and forgiving than those I've seen in the U.S. Here, the designs are functional and easy to wear, and in the U.S. they're just ... fabric. Maybe I should start an import-export business? If you can, find a way to get someone to bring you the scarves they sell at Hoodies -- they are a lightweight stretchy cotton that is so comfortable and flexible and gives an amazing body. Also, look out for the "fake poof" -- yes, I use a fake poof to give my scarves body. Until my hair is long enough to build it up, I'm faking it. (Fake it 'til you make it!)
Hi Chaviva, I'm learning hebrew and I'm interested in knowing about you experience with this language? it's hard? what books do you use (or did you use)?
I wish I had an answer to this question. The truth is that my best and most valuable Hebrew learning experiences were by sitting in a classroom or at an ulpan desk. When you're immersed, things stick. When you're learning in a book and then going back to the "real world" where English is the norm, it's hard to really feel entrenched in the language. That being said, there are all sorts of learners out there, and some really do benefit from Rosetta Stone or similar programs. I, unfortunately, did not. The best textbook out there is the one put out by the Brandeis University Modern Hebrew program, but I'm not sure if you can find the answer book.

Does anyone have tips on hair care while covering, Hebrew language learning, or any other topics discussed here? Please share!

Have a question? Just ask at Ask Chaviva Anything!