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It’s a Wrap

Barbara Bensoussan

Most of us view the tichel as something to throw on when you’re about to cook or wash the floors. But Andrea Grinberg and Rivka Malka Perlman are helping elevate the tichel to fine art.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A tichel was once considered a casual, at-home way to cover hair — not something many frum women would feel comfortable wearing in public. But an explosion of style in the tichel world, has turned these shmattehs best worn for doing the dishes into high-style headdresses that confer an air of elegance. Some of this is thanks to the French influx into Eretz Yisrael. “You have many Sephardic women who follow Chacham Ovadiah’s shitah to cover hair with a hat or head scarf,” says Yehudith Levy (aka Judith de Paris), who sells stylish French and Israeli head coverings. “But since they’re French, they want to do it with style! They’ve created many beautiful innovations in head coverings.” She herself agreed to wear only hats and scarves when she married her Tunisian-born husband, the rabbi of a Sephardic congregation. But you don’t have to be Sephardic — or even Jewish! — to appreciate the possibilities of tichel-wearing, or “wrapping,” as Andrea Grinberg and Rivka Malka Perlman like to call it. These two friends first connected through their shared loved of creative tichel-wearing. Andrea, a professional cellist, as well as an inspired baalas teshuvah, had started a site with the charming name Wrapunzel, in which she documents her tichel explorations and invites other women to share theirs. Andrea’s site attracted an unexpectedly broad following. Of the many women who post their stories online, some aren’t even Jewish. There are fundamentalist Christians enamored with the idea of modesty and Muslim women who cover for religious reasons. A Jewish clergywoman posted an entry now covers her hair all the time, professing a longstanding fascination with hair covering. 

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