Manicures, facials, massages, fresh fruit smoothies and an array of hot teas. Sounds like a great night out for women, right?
On January 31, the Jerusalem branch of The Lone Soldier Center In Memory of Michael Levin pampered 100 male lone soldiers with a spa night that offered three masseuses, a reflexologist, two hairstylists, two manicurists, a cranial masseuse, two yoga and meditation instructors, three facialists from Devorah’s Cosmetics, a chiropractor, a sax player, two guitarists, three bartenders and three smoothie chefs.
How did this pampering bonanza happen?
“We began the process about a month ago. We realized after the success of the girls’ spa night in November that the guys wanted one as well, so we went for it,” Bonnie Rosenbaum, community coordinator for the Lone Soldier Center enthused.
Surprisingly, the team, which included dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer Esti Rosen Snukal and Devorah Horowitz from Devorah’s Cosmetics, had no trouble getting the men to sign up.
“There was such a huge response that, for the first time ever, we had to close registration, because there was no way we could service all of them in one evening,” Rosenbaum reported.
The abundance of excited male soldiers who signed up, ready for an evening of care and feeding, meant the planners had to scramble to get more volunteer vendors.
“When we started to see more and more guys sign up, we knew we were short on people to offer treatments. We told all the possible vendor volunteers that the soldiers really are in need of a day of pampering,” Rosenbaum explained.
“It’s something that they never have time for when they get off base. Soldiers barely have time to take care of the essential items before they go back to base, so an evening of pampering is unheard of.”
Rosenbaum praised the volunteer vendors, who got at least as much as they gave.
“All the vendors and volunteers were incredible and want to offer their services again in the future. They were shocked. They loved to take the extra minute or two to connect with the soldiers they were treating. They heard all kinds of stories and were really touched when they realized that this was filling a big void in a lone soldier’s life.”
Volunteer event coordinator Snukal described the transition many of the participating soldiers underwent as the evening progressed.
“The guys came in excited and unsure. Most had never heard of a facial and never had a massage, and ended up going back for a second treatment. Their hands and nails, broken and cracked from the army, were treated and healed. The line for our chiropractor was literally out the door, treating their aches and pains! The soldiers were so gracious and so appreciative.”
Snukal reflected on the success of the event.
“All evening, soldiers were coming over to us [the staff and volunteers] thanking us profusely. They were so overwhelmed that strangers could care so much about not just their physical well-being, but their mental and spiritual well-being as well. It really was very moving.”
The evening included food – and plenty of it. Snukal detailed the menu: “Homemade chili, rice and pasta, a full dessert station, gourmet chocolate, turkey wraps, salads, fresh fruit smoothies, a full tea bar from Ceremonie Tea and enough food from Crave to feed an army.”
Not satisfied to nurture the soldiers for just one evening, the volunteers also put together goody bags, filled with “high-end body wash, lotion and muscle relief balm from Sabon and mud hair treatment from the Waldorf,” Snukal noted.
On top of all that, Yair Goldstof from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and some of his fellow students raised funds to provide winter thermal underwear for the soldiers.
“There are currently over 7,000 lone soldiers serving in the IDF from all over the world, including many from Israel. The Lone Soldier Center is there to be a constant support for many of these soldiers in so many different areas of life,” Rosenbaum said.
Is there another spa night in the works? Rosenbaum and her team are ready. They would “absolutely do it again. We see that these events are so important on so many levels for soldiers. They have a great time, see friends, get a good meal and have a special treat that they could not get anywhere else,” she said.
To volunteer for future projects benefiting lone soldiers, email email@example.com