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February 13, 1987 - Image 93

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-02-13

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

iplwa larzipww- ir-
, W. Wid

ippe

rk.

. FOR THAT 'SPECIAL' DAY ..

my in-laws' garden in
Aviv. A partial briefing by
the "elders" provided me
with a vague idea of what
to expect. I was "queen for
a day" and from the early
hours of the morning, the
family waited on me hand
and foot.
Five o'clock in the after-
noon and Rachel Karvani
arrived. A woman in her
70's, she wore a floral
housedress and covered her
head with an old kerchief.
She was my "dresser," who
brought with her the robes,
jewelry and headdress I
would be wearing that
night. Rachel dressed and
"garnished" Yemenite
brides for a living. Her ren-
tal fee, a mere $10 for the
evening. Her riches — ster-
ling silver jewelry, and a
gold-embroidered floor-
length gown with matching
harem pants — were the on-
ly possessions she brought
with her from Yemen 30
years ago.
The preparations for the
"Henna" began. I stood in
a small bedroom, wearing
no more than a cotton shirt
and with my mother there
to help. Rachel took four
cloth diapers and wrapped
them around my neck.
Next, she helped me into a
black embroidered dress.
The dress itself weighed
nearly 10 pounds, but little
did I know that this was
only the beginning. She put
a heavily weighted‘breast-
plate over the diapers. I
felt as though I was
preparing for a joust!
Rachel opened a small
jewel case, and neither I
nor my mother could
believe what we saw.
Strands of beads and silver
medallions, pendants,
bracelets and a selection of
nearly 100 rings. She
placed necklace after
necklace around my neck.
With each one, she blessed
me, wishing me good
health, happiness and
many, many children. The
detailed filigree work of
each piece, the gold and
silver mesh, glistened on
the 22 necklaces she even-
tually placed on me. By
this time, I had realized
that the diapers served as
padding for my neck.
Rachel carefully closed
five bracelets around each
wrist. Rings, two on each
finger, including my
thumbs. "I have to sit
down before I fall down," I
told her. "You will stand
and be proud. Today is like
no other," she replied. She
then opened a large card-
board box and took out a
gold embroidered head-
dress, nearly a foot-and-a-

Continued on Page 52

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