A little over a decade ago, social entrepreneurs Guy Avihod and Elie Lederman embarked on a project to help people recovering from mental illness and emotional problems to rehabilitate themselves and regain their self-confidence, by gradually taking on responsibilities and interacting with strangers. The upshot was Haboydem – the Yiddish word for attic.
Haboydem started out as a secondhand clothing store in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood, then moved to the commercial area of the inner city, and more recently to much larger premises in the capital’s nearby Rivlin Street. The official opening on Good Deeds day this week, was attended by Michal Herzog, the wife of the President and Jerusalem Deputy Mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, who buys most of her clothes at Haboydem (this time she purchased a crocodile-skin briefcase).
Other guests of honor included Danny and Mimi Kaizler of Mimi’s Fashions. The Kaizlers are fashion importers and deliver surplus stock to Lederman’s garage in Ra’anana, which he then transfers to Jerusalem. “When we started,” said Lederman, “we used to raise money. Now we raise clothes.”
The new premises have tasteful displays of men’s and women’s clothes for all seasons, along with accessories such as shoes, boots, bags, hats, scarves, and jewelry – all in good condition, with many designer labels among them. Unlike most secondhand or thrift stores, this is not a business designed to benefit the proprietors. Clothes are not donated on consignment, but are an outright gift. Because they come from so many sources, the range of styles and colors is more extensive than in regular clothing stores, but the prices are much lower.
“It was important for us that Haboydem be in Jerusalem,” said Avihod, the CEO of Haboydem, while his wife Eris is the store manager. “This is home for a lot of people who feel good here and rediscover themselves,” said Avihod. Noting that most of the items are high-end, he added, “when you sell high-end, you feel high-end – not like a shmatte.” The Yiddish word for rag is shmatte, and for people recovering from any kind of mental trauma, it was essential to get away from a shmatte connotation.
Herzog chatted to members of the sorting and sales team, and did not leave empty-handed. An oversized, cinnamon-hued scarf that can also be worn as a shawl has been added to her wardrobe.
On Tuesday, together with employees of the President’s Residence, Herzog also visited the Adelis Center, which is under the auspices of Ilan (an Israeli umbrella organization established more than 70 years ago to help children with disabilities, Ilan is the oldest organization of its kind in the country). The center, designed for the rehabilitation of people with severe physical disabilities, is a joint project of the Adelis Foundation, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Ministry for Labor and Social Services, and the National Insurance Institute.
With the support of the Ted Arison Family Foundation, the team from the President’s Residence joined Michal Herzog in creating a hydroponic garden.
Good Deeds Day
■ ALSO PAYING attention to children, teens and adults with disabilities on Good Deeds Day, was Deputy Minister of Finance MK Michal Woldiger, who visited the Adi Center in Jerusalem which provides a rehabilitative, therapeutic and educational package for people of all ages with intellectual and motor developmental disabilities. Woldiger handed out chocolates to the children, hugged some of them, and agreed with the management and staff that Adi is a place where good deeds are done 365 days a year. Woldiger visited Adi after a long night of debate at the Knesset. She also chatted with Tamar Gelfand, whose young daughter is among those who benefit from what Adi has to offer.
■ KORNIT FAC Tel Aviv Fashion Week opens this coming Sunday night at Hangar 11 in Tel Aviv Port and continues till March 22. Legendary Fashion Week producer Motty Reif, who was associated with Israel Fashion Weeks in their most glamorous heyday, is continuing with his breakaway from traditional concepts of what fashion models should look like, and is instead focusing on diversity. This departure from the norm hails from the fact that clothes are worn by very diverse people, and viewers should be able to identify with models who have similar physiques and ethnic features and are of a similar age. Fashion Week in its entirety will be broadcast on the Israeli Fashion Channel 69 and on HOT and Yes.
■ ALTHOUGH MK Yuli Edelstein may have incurred the wrath of fellow Likudniks for failing to show up for the vote on judicial reform, he may have set a precedent for people voting in accordance with their conscience, and not as part of a herd mentality. There is little doubt that other Likud MKs are uneasy about the status quo. Now that Edelstein has demonstrated the courage of his convictions, perhaps other Likudniks will do likewise. But then again they don’t have Edelstein’s background of defying the Soviet authorities, spending three years doing hard labor in Siberia’s penal colonies. It takes a special kind of courage to be defiant of the ruling class.
■ DIASPORA JEWRY needs Israel more than Israel needs Diaspora Jewry. This is the opinion of Rabbi James Kennard, the outgoing principal of Australia’s pioneer Jewish Day School, Mount Scopus College which was established in Melbourne around more or less the same time as the establishment of the Jewish State.
Kennard, who is retiring at the end of this year after 17 years at the helm, has already registered for aliyah with the Jewish Agency, and during his current stay in Israel, is discovering some of the bureaucratic hassles confronting would-be immigrants.
He has three children living in Israel, so he already knows that the bureaucracy doesn’t stop when citizenship begins. It actually becomes worse, but is somehow easier to bear. From his observations, Israel gives Diaspora Jews a sense of Jewish identity, a sense of belonging and a sense of pride.
He discussed this on Wednesday with a number of Mount Scopus alumni at the Jerusalem home of Howard and Andrea Finger. Kennard noted that more than 700 Mount Scopus old collegians live in Israel, and that one of his hopes is that they can come together to create a community with ties not only to each other, but also to their former school.
He divided Diaspora Jewry into four main groups, while acknowledging that there are various additional groups. There are those who know that Israel is the cultural center of Jewish life, where Jewish history is being made, and think that one day, they or their children will live in Israel. There are staunch Zionists, who identify strongly with Israel, visit frequently and donate money – but would never live in Israel. There are those who identify as Jewish, but don’t feel any connection to Israel – for them it’s just another place in the world. And there are those who feel the need to criticize Israel, to demonstrate and to tell Israel what to do.
Kennard is against any criticism of Israel by people who don’t live in Israel. Being Jewish does not give them the right to speak out against Israel, he said, noting that they are often joined by so-called fellow travelers who are anti-Zionists.
■ JEWISH COMMUNITIES worldwide are recruiting healthy Ashkenazi Jews in the 18-45 age group to join a bone marrow registry in the hope of finding a donor to help save the life of Murray (Moshe) Foltyn of Sydney, Australia. Foltyn, 42, the father of two infants aged three and nine months, has a rare blood cancer. Unless he receives an urgently needed stem cell transplant, he will die.
No suitable donor has been found in existing registries. Not everyone is registered with a bone marrow bank, which means that there may still be hope for Foltyn among potential donors, if people come forward to be tested to see if they are a match.
Ezer Mizion, which runs the world’s largest Jewish bone marrow registry, is in touch with the family, and is working to recruit more bone marrow donors who can help him or anyone else in need of a bone marrow transplant.
People who fit into the category of a bone marrow donor are asked to contact Ezer Mizion’s bone marrow registry at 40 Kaplan Street, Petah Tikva, which is open from 8.30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. When joining the registry, all that is required is a cheek swab, which can be done on the premises, or can be self-administered. To order a cheek swab kit and a check for a match, telephone 03-9277772.
Dr. Bracha Zisser, Director of Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry, says that everything possible is being done to find a suitable donor, including tests at army recruitment bases and in Canada and the US. Testing is painless and simple, she said, and just as easy as giving a blood donation. The bottom line is that it’s about saving someone’s life.
■ MANY CANCER patients suffer hair loss during the period in which they undergo chemotherapy. Some women take being bald in their stride, and cultivate a whole new image, whereas others are embarrassed, and wear full or partial wigs. But wigs made from real hair are expensive, if one has to pay for them. A number of hairdressers who are trained in wig-making, are willing to do so free of charge, providing they have the hair.
This has led long-haired women and girls to braid their hair, and to cut the braid at the nape of the neck. On Good deeds day, Shaked Fash and Noam Hillel, of the Tirat HaCarmel branch of the Israel Volunteers Association, launched a braids campaign in memory of Effie Vertenshtein, a former resident of Tirat Hacarmel, who two years ago succumbed to cancer. The two girls cut off their own braids and received 10 additional braids as contributions to their campaign.
IVA chairman Yaron Lutz, stated that it was very moving to end Good Deeds Day on such a note, because it reflected the generosity of spirit of young volunteers.