The Shmooze

Say Thanksgivukkah With Your Nails

By Anne Cohen

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Every week, Rabbi Yael Buechler paints her nails. Only, unlike most of us, she isn’t on the prowl for the new Essie obsession.

Every manicure has a purpose: to represent that week’s Torah portion.

“I started doing nail art designs back when I was in middle school, long before nail art was in fashion. One of my earliest designs was Israeli flag themed nails for an Israel rally,” Buechler explained over email. “Throughout high school and college, my weekly manicures for the Torah portions and Jewish holidays became a personal way for me to connect to my Jewish learning.”

The result is Midrash Manicures, a website where the 27-year-old graduate from the Jewish Theological Seminary shows off her designs and new nail decals, available for purchase for those unwilling (or too unskilled) to spend an hour on their nails each week — the Ten Plagues have never looked so good.

Buechler also uses nail art as a teaching tool: her day job is as the Rabbi-in-Residence of the Lower School at the Solomon Schechter School of Westchester. She also offers educational workshopsin synagogues, day schools and summer camps.

“Students in my classes first study a text from the Chumash with their Chevrutah (learning partner) and they then work with [them] to paint each other’s fingernails.”

Though only the girls actually paint their nails, Buechler pointed out that more and more of the boys are intrigued by the process, and follow along with their classmates.

In honor of Thanksgivukkah, Buechler came up with a design worthy of this extra festive hybrid-holiday. The Forward’s own Maia Efrem got to experience it for herself:

How awesome does this look?


First, sketch out the designs on a blank piece of paper.


Hands bare and ready to go.


Use a double-coat of white nail polish as a base.


Ready for the fun to start!


No fancy nail-art brushes here — just good ol’fashioned toothpicks.


Trust a pro.


Place nail decals using tweezers so as not to smudge the polish.


One nail really can say it all.


Imagine having this little guy for company…


You’ll look extra festive spinning the dreidel.


Final result.


Happy Thanksgivukkah!



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