Henna was a hit this conference, with most of us choosing to temporarily tint our skin in various orange-brown patterns, some with glitter, that will last us for the next ten days or so.

Pictured below is Jaclyn, Hillel mainstay and all-around energetic personage, who is also responsible for doing a henna good job on my left hand (at left). Jaclyn’s own hand (right), sports a design that I believe was of her own creation. Or at least she did it herself. In either case, she did a Jewlicious job.

henna good

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see EstherK.com, MyUrbanKvetch.com and JDatersAnonymous.com.


  • Esther thanks for the shoutout and the wonderful picture on the website for the whole world to see. Let’s just say it’s a good thing that it was post makeover! Enjoy your henna for the next 8 days!

    *Note to self: before starting a henna on any visible parts of your body, keep in mind that you work at the “so-called” happiest place on earth and they don’t really promote henna on the hands! The outcome: I have to wear a glove for the next ten days!

  • whimper. I don’t like tatoos. Even temporary ones. What does Rabbi Yonah say? I HATE to be a party pooper. Is this what happens when you get to be an old woman? I read a nice book. It’s “French Women Don’t Get Fat”. She’s not Jewish but she thinks like one of us. She says, “with a good haircut, a good perfume and a bottle of Champagne, you can make a life” or something like that. She is in the Champagne business. Yes, there is kosher Champagne. She advocates sunscreen and walking upstairs instead of taking the elevator. A very clever woman. I hope you lot are using sunscreen and wearing good quality sunglasses. And pareos. Lots of pareos.

  • My 19th century Jewish Libyan Star of David pattern turned out really well. Thank you henna artists! I’ll have to take a pic soon, since its probably at its peak darkness by now. Its on the inside of my right forearm, so I had to come up with a cover story at work: I went to a Jewish Libyan wedding in LBC! Heh, kinda. “Bo’i Kallah, bo’i Kallah…”

  • Msg left in my inbox….

    I am Flavia, Jessica’s henna partner.
    I just wanted to say we had such a great time with all the students.
    They were fun,(the most ) adventuresome and lovely to work with.
    I am sure there will be some great henna results today.
    The people were the best group we have ever had the pleasure to work with.
    Thank you for the opportunity,
    “an all woman effort bringing the ancient art of henna to you”

  • Thanks for sharing the photographs. The henna design on the left hand in the pic is looking beautiful.

  • Doesn’t this have a pretty long Jewish history? I remember reading about it – Persian Jewry? I don’t remember.

    Could someone more knowledgeable confirm this?

  • While as a 3rd generation Iraqi Jew I am very culturally flattered at all this attention to henna etc., please remember it’s just fun and culture. It’s nothing to do with religion or Torah or ethics.

  • i have to agree with Jewish Mother on this one. i like tasteful tattoos, but this just looks like what bored 13 year olds do in class. it just looks messy and dirty.

  • I actually like the fact that it looks homemade.

    My wife once went to a “khinna” – yemenite(?) engagement party/bridal shower, and came home with just a stripe of this stuff on her hand, “for good luck”. No pattern.

    Thanks for the link to the history stuff. I’m sure there must be Talmudic reference somewhere.

  • I was SURPRISED how much henna IS rooted in Judaism. B”SD
    VERY briefly, the 3 aspects (still preserved amongst, of course, YEMENITES)
    1) 24 jewels of the bride, Adam’s first impression of Eve
    2) henna which is “kofer” in Hebrew meaning kaporo as in Yom HaKIPPURIM, meaning the people put it on to show they’ve atoned for their mistakes
    3) red finger nail polish so that that crazy 1st wife of Adam known as (be careful not to actually SAY HER NAME) LILITH doesn’t see those originally shiny nails & be reminded of her first husband whose reincarnations (namely, JEWS, especially MALES) she is still trying to seduce (that’s what’s REALLY occurring during an nocturnal emission!).
    These ideas are rooted throughout Jewish textual sources, but only in a VERY fragmented way, it took me some 3 years to put them together. I think the most prominent aspect that comes out is that every 24 in SHAS et al are really references to JEWS (which is considered FEMALE relative to G-d/HaShem Who is considered “MALE”) trying to “seduce,” so to speak, HaShem by “turning Him on” through being attractive in GOODNESS!!!


    Here’s one Jewish origin of henna:
    Song of Songs 1:14 Eshkol haKOFER dodhi li