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March 19, 2014 / Rabbi Laura

Laura, are you nervous?

People keep asking me if I am nervous about shaving my head.

Well, I have to make a confession.  I’ve secretly wanted to try on the bald look.  My earliest memories of a bald woman were of

sinead o'conner

Sinead O’Conner. I found her to be so beautiful. I admired her chutzpah and her rebelliousness.  As a goody-two-shoes in the 80’s, I just so wanted break out of the what’s-expected-of-me mold and be like her. Except I can’t sing, and I don’t really want to piss off any world leaders…

And then there’s a fellow MOT, Natalie Portman.  She can truly rock the bald head.

natalie portman

But lately, as I’ve seen more and more women and children who are bald-not-by-choice, because they are each fighting a very hard fight, it is from them that I am finding even more inspiration.  Their strength of being.  Their determination.  Their honesty and fear.  Their groundedness.

Here’s my friend Gail, who had cancer a couple of years ago and is thankfully cured. She proudly shared this picture with me.

Gail Newel

And there are two women in my life right now who are each undergoing chemo treatments for breast cancer. One is very nervous about loosing her hair. And that is fine.  As women, our hair says so much about who we are.  And the other one, well she has jumped in “head first” and is now sporting this amazing mohawk with a “chai” (the Hebrew equivalent of the number 18, which spells the word “life”) on one side of her head and a SF Giants logo on the other.


And of course, I think of Sam.


So, am I nervous?  Not really. I have been preparing myself for this since November.

Will I cry as my hair falls to the ground? Of course I will.  I’ll cry because I am Laura, and I always cry.  I’ll cry for Phyllis and Michael and all the other parents who have lost their children to cancer.  I’ll cry because I am so proud of what the #36rabbis campaign has done. I’ll cry in appreciation of all of you who have given – or will give – to our St Baldrick’s Shave for the Brave campaign to find cures to childhood cancers, and of my community who will come out to support me.

My only fear.  I just don’t want to look like her:

cone head

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