GRAPEVINE By Greer Fay Cashman
April 18, 2019
IN NOVEMBER 2014, Nechama Rivlin accompanied the president when he visited the WIZO home for battered women in Jerusalem. She was both impressed and shocked. She was impressed by what WIZO does to help the women regain their self-esteem and their independence, and she was shocked by some of the stories she heard about the abuse the women had suffered from their husbands. She would be very pleased to know what a great pick-me-up the current residents of the shelter received this week by way of a model Seder, albeit not in the literal sense.
To buoy their spirits for Passover, the women were visited by 20 leading fashion models, plus hair and makeup artists from ITM, one of Israel’s foremost modeling agencies. Among the models was Maria Domark, who has 1.2 million Instagram followers. The match between ITM and WIZO was struck not in the Holy City or even Tel Aviv, but long distance in the Big Apple, by WIZO USA Co-President Mireille Manocherian and ITM International Director Danielle Cohen, who subsequently worked in cooperation with Rinat Leon-Lange, the director of the shelter. While ITM’s hair and makeup specialists conducted a styling and makeup session for the mothers of the shelter, the models kept the children busy with gifts, games, a tie-dye workshop, fancy balloons and more. The youngsters fell in love with Jackie, the cute puppy that belongs to model Naomi Eliav, and had a great time playing with it. The day concluded with a festive meal of schnitzel and sushi provided by the models.
WIZO’s shelters for battered women in different parts of the country are a six-month haven of safety and security for women and children who have suffered at the hands of abusive husbands and fathers. Many of the youngsters suffer trauma, and they and their mothers undergo individual and group therapies to prepare them for a violence-free independent life. If they are still in need of help they can stay longer than six months. There is also a sense of camaraderie among the residents as they are all able to empathize with each other. They also share some of the cooking traditions of their diverse backgrounds.The visit by the models added some glamour to the lives of the residents, though many are glamorous in their own right, regardless of their difficult marriages.
The models were actually emotionally moved by the experience. Not only were they doing well, but they were learning about a side of life with which most were not familiar.“I can’t express what it means to me to spend time with these wonderful women and their amazing children who have been through so much,” said model Eden Fines.
At one point, a nine-year-old girl of Ethiopian background who was at the shelter with her mother, asked a dark-skinned model whether she was Ethiopian. When the model replied in the affirmative, a big grin spread across the child’s face, as she imagined that one day, she too might be a model.
To read the full Grapevine article in The Jerusalem Post , click the link below: