In this blog post, we welcome the multi-tasking maven of manicures and holiday gifting mishegas: Rabbi Yael Buechler!
Rabbi Buechler inspires creative connection to Torah learning, as well as fun (and funny!) product reviews on her popular social media feeds. She is a writer and entrepreneur (covered by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times), and an active contributor to a variety of Jewish publications.
Rabbi Buechler’s take on modern merchandisers’ Hanukkah “fails” caught our eye, and we wanted to learn more about this educator, entrepreneur, author, cook, and mom!
…Also - we LOVE the nail art!
Below are excepts from our conversation and video clips from our interview:
The Woman Behind the Manicure
“I am a Rabbi and an artist and I’ve always loved thinking about creative ways to understand my own Judaism and express myself…” “When I was much younger (I was in middle school), I did nail art - before it was cool.” Rabbi Buechler shared her adorable finger-tip designs for Torah portions and Jewish holidays on social media, and explains how this project, “transformed into something much larger than ‘only’ nail art and now I design all kinds of Jewish fashion items. I love designing Jewish memes as well, so the whole gamut.”
More on her inspiration
“Initially, I was doing the Torah study, weekly for the Torah portion, Parashat Shavuot as we say in Hebrew, and after I studied the weekly portion, I would design a manicure that became known as Midrash Manicures. (“Midrash” is a creative commentary on the Torah.) Since launching a line of nail decals over a decade ago, so many other people have said that has become their way of connecting to their own Judaism which makes me thrilled.”
Folks of all ages connect in creative ways to Judaism. For me that’s nail art, fashion, and creative Jewish objects. It’s always been a part of who I am and I love sharing that with everyone else, including my kids.
“Yay or Nay?”
“I have a series called ‘Yay or Nay’ on Instagram and TikTok…I head into different stores…usually secular stores, like Target or HomeGoods or Marshalls, and I assess their holiday options for Hanukkah or Passover.” As a household shopper and mom of youngsters, Rabbi Buechler enjoys finding new decor items for family celebrations - but was astounded by the number of cultural “faux pas” in the marketplace.
“There are many 'Yays', I want to acknowledge that…but there were definitely a number of 'Nays'.”
“…My kids sometimes accompany me on these shopping excursions and they notice it too!” From an occasional “thumbs up” for the correct number of candles on a Hanukkiah to the questionable (cuddly?) “Hanukkah Gnomes,” these videos explore fun ways of connecting with holidays!
Connection Between Generations
“I think my life has really been shaped by what I call m’dor l’dor (from generation to generation) moments. As far back as I can remember, many of my memories are connected to doing Jewish holiday preparations with my family. One of my earliest childhood memories is actually of hole-punching Rosh Hashanah cards to hang in our sukkah….which was a tough job for a young child, but I had a lot of fun doing it.”
“My kids know that I love to do a lot of fun things connected to holidays…We just had the Fourth of July, so we made a Fourth of July challah that came out really cute!”
Rabbi Buechler’s kids now also help with photographing products, “...they make their own background areas for Instagram and it’s really sweet to see that they’re invested in these Jewish holiday projects as well.”
“I started making my first line of pajamas a few years ago when my son had the idea for matzah pajamas…I did not intend to get into the pajama world, but it felt right and was such a great idea that we ran with it.” Shabbat and Hanukkah designs soon followed, and more styles are in the works. Rabbi Buechler explains, “When I think about designing pajamas, I first want them to be grounded in the Jewish holiday itself…and I want everything to feel fresh and very much something you would want to wear comfortably in this modern time period.
Interview Lightning Round
- Latkes with: Sour Cream or Applesauce? Apple Sauce
- Favorite Yiddish word? Oy Vey!
- Do your kids have a favorite Hanukkah “Yay or Nay” video? The TJ Max Video
- Favorite nosh? Apricot hamentashen
Learn more about Rabbi Buechler on:
Instagram @midrashmanicures; www.midrashmanicures.com
Photos provided by Midrash Manicures / Rabbi Yael Buechler