The Connection between Tu B'shvat and the Chuppah

There is a lovely old minhag (tradition) that connects Tu B'shvat to weddings.  But before I discuss this connection, I guess I should first explain a bit about Tu B'shvat

First of all, Tu B'shvat is the 15th of the month of Shvat (usually celebrated somewhere around January/February) and marks the New Year for the trees.  A year in the life of a tree is reckoned from one Tu B'shvat to the next year's Tu B'shvat.  Tu B'shvat heralds the very beginning of spring in Israel; when the earliest of the trees begin to bloom and a new fruit-bearing cycle begins.

One of Israel's best-known children's Tu B'shvat songs "The Almond Tree Blooms" "השקדיה פורחת")), (lyrics by Yisrael Duchman), says (loose translation): "The almond tree blooms and the sun shines… Tu B'shvat is here, A holiday for the trees…".

It may still be cold and rainy in Israel, but somehow you know that spring is just peeking around the corner.  This is a day when school children all over Israel plant trees. Tu B'shvat is celebrated all over the world, usually by eating a new fruit (one that has not been eaten since last year) or fruits, such as figs and dates, which grow in Israel.  Many people make a se'uda (a festive meal) and even use a Tu B'shvat Seder Plate, reminiscent of the Pesach Seder plate and place on it a selection of the fruits of Israel.  For more information you can read these sources and many others:

I have this vivid memory when I was a kid growing up in the Bronx and I had to get Bukzar (carob) for a Tu B'shvat celebration in school.  I remember trudging through the snow with my mother and I remember thinking: how is it possible that this is the beginning of spring?  But when you live in Israel, the holidays and the timing of the holidays make sense!

Now, what is the connection between Tu B'shvat and a chuppah?  It says in the Torah (D'varim 20:19) that "…a man is a tree in a field" ((כי האדם עץ השדה.   The symbolism is very significant on a number of levels.  Many halachot surround the planting and growing of trees, as well as the harvesting of the fruit of these trees.  Many minhagim have grown from these halachot, a famous example of this is the minhag of not cutting a baby boy's hair until he is three, just as we do not eat the fruit of a tree until its third year of producing fruit.

The Connection!
There is a very old minhag that the parents of a new born child planted a tree in his/her honor.  A cedar tree was planted for a baby boy and a pine tree was planted for a baby girl. 
When a couple married, branches from "their" trees where cut and joined together to create the chuppah.  Thus this chuppah helps join the couple in marriage and while it creates the bond between a man and woman, it also helps create a stronger bond between the couple and the trees and the Land of Israel.

A special occasion hairstyle you can create at home! The Starlet Look.


One of my favorite hairstyles for any occasion is a remake of the classic 40s and 50s hairstyle – the starlet look - soft, full, open curls.  This style is perfect for hair that is shoulder till just below the shoulder blades length. 

Trying to create this style with hair shorter than shoulder length, will simply create a look that is somewhere between Shirley Temple (boy am I dating myself) and a sad 70s afro; as the hair will not have the weight to hold the curls at cheek level.  Hair that is longer than just below your shoulder blades may be too heavy and drag down the curls, making them loosen too quickly and ruin the style.

The starlet look is perfect for girls and women with average to full facial structures. This look may overpower smaller, more delicate faces.  As to long, narrow faces - it is really a tossup. The look could be perfect or it can accentuate an already too narrow face.  You need to try out the look to decide if it is for you.

When deciding if this starlet look is right for you - you must take into consideration your entire look: facial structure, height, hair length, jewelry and clothing.


Every good hairstyle begins with a good hair cut. For this style, the best results will be achieved with a good length-appropriate basic hair cut without too many layers. 

If you are working with thick hair - two to three layers will take out the heaviness or bulk from the hair, while "freeing" the hair to curl more naturally.  Cutting too many layers, like too much of any good thing, defeats the purpose of this style; as the layers will ultimately produce thinner curls and a less luxurious look. 

Which brings me to talk about the dreaded Split Ends:  Split ends occur naturally and unnaturally as we brush, comb, style, curl, heat, shampoo, tease, color, blow dry and generally abuse and torture our hair.  As we go about our daily hair routines, the ends of the hair strands, which are the oldest part of the hair, tend to break, tear and split and so are born the dreaded split ends.

No matter what the style (or no style!), split ends are NEVER a pretty sight.  Many gals - especially brides - want long hair; but instead of growing the healthy length of their hair, they let their split ends lengthen.  This may give the impression of long hair, but when creating a style these split ends give an unkempt, messy look to any style.  There is a simple solution to this problem: have your ends trimmed or have, what I like to call, a "micro-trim" once every six to eight weeks (depending how quickly your hair grows).  Do it and don't cry! Twelve centimeters (or five inches) of split ends does not make your hair LOOK longer! Trust me.


Now we have our optimal hair length and hair condition, let's finally begin.  In order to create this style, you will need:

  •  A medium to wide tooth comb or a medium to wide tooth brush
  •  Blow dryer (if you are starting with freshly washed, wet hair)
  • Electric curlers (a curling iron is also acceptable, but for this style you will get optimal results with the electric curlers)
  • Large hair clips for sectioning hair
  • A heaping hand-full of hair pins/bobby pins for holding the curl.  The number of pins depends on how thick your hair is and how many curls you create.
  • Hair products: a heat-protecting product; a silicon-based (or argan oil-based) shine-producing product and good quality hairspray. (Find a list of my favorite brand at the end of this article.)

EASY AS 1-2-3-4-5 (you get the point!)

1.    Plug in your electric curlers (optimal heating may take a few minutes, so you should plug the curlers in as soon as you can).

2.    Start with clean hair *.

3.    If you just shampooed your hair, make sure the hair is almost completely dry (towel or blown dry) and combed straight. If you are starting with dry hair, you can shpritz it with a few drops of water (I like to mix this with a drop or two of conditioner), so your hair is not bone dry when you begin to work.

4.    You can apply a very small amount of a heat-protecting product to the hair (working from the hair roots to the hair tips) and comb through the hair with a medium to wide toothed comb or brush. 

Tip: How do you apply the product to your hair and avoid applying too much?  Place a few drops into the palm of your hand, then gently rub the palms of your hands together to distribute the cream/oil on to both palms and then lightly apply the product to your hair, beginning at the hair root and working down to the tips of your hair.

5.     Comb and divide your hair into sections.  The easiest way is to first divide your hair into two large sections – parting your hair down the middle, from the crown of your head straight down through to the nape of your neck (even if you do not want a style with a middle part).

6.    Next divide each of these halves into lengthwise sections, cutting across your head from the nape up to the crown on either side of the middle part.  As each of these sections is divided, clip it. These lengthwise sections should be just thick enough to curl around a curler.  If the sections are too thick they will not curl well or acquire the heat needed to hold the curl.  If the sections are too thin, you will "waste" a curler on only a few strands of hair.

7.    Once your hair is divided and clipped, you can begin to curl.  Beginning at the nape, comb out a section and divide this section into two or three smaller sections of hair, about the length of the curler.  Comb and then curl each smaller section onto a curler.  

Tip: The best way to curl hair around a curler is to place the curler on the tip of the hair (facing up) and roll up the length of the hair until almost the root.  Clip in place with curler clips.

Tip:  If the hair is very long, you can roll the hair sections in the curlers until the curler is level with the ears and not to the root; as curlers rolled high on the head can cause too much lift or height to the hair section. The only problem with not curling until the root is that you may create an ugly crease or line in the hair section where the curler was placed.  Sometimes it is better to curl completely to the root and then later brush the curl down.

Tip: Electric hair curlers usually have several sizes of curlers – larger for longer hair (wider, more open curls) and smaller ones for shorter hair (smaller, tighter curls).  The larger curlers should be used on the longest sections of hair – usually at the back of your head. 

Tip: Many women have shorter, thinner and finer hair along the hair line framing their faces.  We call these hairs 'baby hair' in Hebrew.  You can simply curl these hairs with your fingers and then pin them in place and/or use a curling iron to curl them later in the styling process.

8.    Once all your hair is curled, you can give a light misting of hair spray all over your head.  The hot curlers must be in the hair for at least 30 to 40 minutes and left in until the curlers are completely cool. 

This waiting time is the perfect time to apply makeup.

9.    Once the curlers are completely cooled, you can open the curls CAREFULLY.  Remove the curl clip and, this is very important, slowly uncurl the hair - in the direction of the curl.  Do NOT brush out the curl.  Now re-curl each of these curls in its curl direction and pin in place.  Lightly spray with hair spray.  Do not uncurl until you are ready to finish the style. 

10.   Now you can finish your makeup, get dressed (especially if you are wearing
  a pull-over type top), put on jewelry and so on. 

Tip: If you plan to wear earrings, especially ones that tend to get caught in a brush or comb, you can put these on at the very end of the process, once your hairstyle is COMPLETELY finished.

11. Ready?  Remove the bobby pins and let each curl loose. 

12. Now is the time to create the part in your hair – middle, off-center or no part.  You can also create more lift or style the front of your hair with a bit of gel and a gentle tease up in the front or crown.  

13. Next gently brush out each curl with your fingers or with a large tooth comb or brush.

 14. Now is the time to curl the "baby hairs' with a curling iron. You can also use the curling iron to retouch and reshape any other curls.

15. Finish off this look with a few drops of a shine-producing hair product.  This time apply the product from the tips to the roots.  Use the bare minimum amount of product or it will weigh down your hair, lose the curl and make your hair look oily.

16. If you wish, you can finish off the entire look with a light misting of hairspray to help keep the curls through the entire evening.


·        Hydrating Styling cream by Morrocanoil for pre-styling

·        Elini Argan Oil for post styling shine

·        Natural Formula Moisturizing and Styling Hair Cream to add a bit of "oil" to freshly shampooed hair and also to help with sculpting

·        Schwarzkof's Silhouette Pure Formula invisible hold hairspray for all hairspray needs

*I used to ask my brides and other customers to NOT shampoo their hair on the day of the styling.  The reasoning behind this is that shampooing strips the natural oils from the hair and these oils help create and keep the style.  This request used to upset some gals, so now I let each customer shampoo and care for their hair as they wish.  If I need to make the hair a little more "oily", before styling I apply an oil-based hair product to the hair, especially around the roots.