I have just returned from HennaCon and I’m full to bursting with henna excitement… Wow! Another extraordinary experience. It was amazing to be around so many amazing artists and a great honour to share my research with them.
A blog reader emailed me with a question (what an awesome idea! Feel free to do the same!). She writes:
"How much Jewish Henna do you see happening in the States? From your documents and research, it seemed like there is much more going on in the Jewish Henna world overseas than in the States but I would love to hear your point of view!"
A great question. It depends on what we mean by ‘Jewish henna’...
First of all, there are many Jewish communities from henna-using traditions throughout North America (some especially concentrated, like the Persian Jewish community in Los Angeles, Moroccan Jews in Montreal, and the Syrian and Bukharan Jewish communities in New York). However, like in Israel, traditional Jewish henna ceremonies are not (and cannot) be practiced as they were in “the old country”. So while many North American Jews from henna-using backgrounds are interested in having henna ceremonies, they are faced with the same issues as their Israeli relatives: so much cultural material and knowledge has been lost in the generational gap, and even within their own communities many henna traditions may not be remembered.
I am honoured that my research has been able to help many couples from Jewish henna-using backgrounds (whether through my work in person or online) incorporate henna traditions into their wedding ceremonies. Especially in North America, where non-Ashkenazi Jewish identity is even less visible than in Israel, henna ceremonies can be an important way to affirm one’s connection to their family and heritage.
|A henna ceremony in NYC for a Jewish family of Persian origin|