Last week I posted about a new club at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester: a Midrash Manicures club, where girls in 6th and 7th grade decorate their nails according to the week's Torah portion. The club was created by Rabbi Yael Buechler, who began painting her own nails this way when she was still a student in college and recently founded MidrashManicures.com.
Though reports suggest club members enjoy learning about the Torah this way, not everyone agrees that it is an effective way for girls to engage with Judaism. "I am going to weigh in on the midrash manicure thing," wrote Sisterhood blogger Elana Sztokman. "This phenomenon is, in my opinion, a new low in girls' Jewish education. I cannot even believe I'm writing an essay that has the words 'midrash' and 'manicure' in the same sentence." Fellow Sisterhood writer Renee Ghert-Zand agreed.
Nevertheless, Midrash Manicures does have its defenders: "Let girls learn Torah... in a way that appeals to them," said Elissa Strauss. "Who knows, maybe the next Martin Buber or Maimonides will be a girl who attempts to condense to the story of Rebecca and Leah to an image on her thumb."
Curious to see how Rabbi Buechler would weigh in on the debate, I sent a few questions her way and she graciously agreed to let me share her answers here on About Judaism. You can read the entire interview in: The Midrash Manicures Club - An Interview with Rabbi Yael Buechler.