Israel News

My long, crazy, culturally significant Israeli hair salon appointment

Click photo to download. Caption: The result of Eliana Rudee's long, crazy, culturally significant Israeli hair salon appointment. Credit: Courtesy Eliana Rudee.
Click photo to download. Caption: The result of Eliana Rudee's long, crazy, culturally significant Israeli hair salon appointment. Credit: Courtesy Eliana Rudee.

Never having gotten my hair cut in Israel before, I was mildly concerned about finding a good place for a cut and some highlights. I scoured the Facebook group “Secret Jerusalem,” where Anglos turn to the online community of Jerusalem to ask any questions they have about life in Jerusalem.

After some back and forth with a few recommended hair salons, I came across Eyal Harel Hair Studio, conveniently located at the top of the Ben Yehuda Street pedestrian mall. Trained at the Vidal Sassoon Institute in London, Eyal was my choice, based on the photos of some very cutting-edge (no pun intended) hairstyles on his Facebook page. I called him, asking about the price for a cut and color for two girls. After some negotiation, he told me, “You know what? I don’t want this to be about the money. We will find a price you like, come in tomorrow and we will discuss before I begin.”

So the next day, my roommate and I left for the hair salon, which started out like any normal hair appointment. We sat down on the couch and were offered coffee. As Eyal finished with some other clients, we contemplated grabbing lunch before we began—it was about 12 p.m. when we arrived and we were told that the appointment might take about two hours. But before we could make a decision, by 12:30 Eyal had us in his chairs. We explained in “Hebrish” (a mix of Hebrew and English) what we wanted. After continuing to negotiate the price, Eyal said, “How about this—I want you to be happy. The hair is more important than the money. Why don’t I cut and color, and at the end, you tell me how much you want to pay. Once I touch your hair, you will be my customer forever, I promise.” With that confidence, we agreed and he began by 12:45.

As he started cutting away, I admitted my nervousness to him.

“I haven’t gotten my hair cut here in Israel before,” I said.

“Don’t worry,” Eyal responded, “you’re not ‘here’ anymore.”

I smiled, as my apprehension melted away.

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