During the “For You” event, participants were pampered with massage treatments, reflexology therapy, and make-up consultations.
By Tsivya Fox-Dobuler
Tsofia Lax, 42, from Ofra in the Samaria region of Israel, wanted to give back to the world, in recognition of all the blessings in her life. To that end, she organized an annual “B’Shvilech” (“For You”) gathering, which brings together women with chronic illnesses, in addition to women who are caretakers for ill spouses, parents or children.
This year, around 120 women participated in this special evening, during which they were pampered and spoiled with massage treatments, reflexology therapy, and make-up consultations.
“On my 40th birthday I decided I wanted to give back to God and people for all the good in my life,” Lax told United with Israel (UWI).”I have been blessed with nine children, a new home and so much more.”
Lax’s journey has not been without challenges, as her third child, 19-years-old now, has autism. “I know what it is like to deal with bureaucracy in order to get a child with special needs into the right school or deal with the medical establishment, or worry about his future,” Lax said.
“We are worried all the time and very tired,” she shared.
After much effort, her son is now in a special program at Shalva, a school that empowers individuals with disabilities and their families in Israel. This initiative will help her son to enter a special program in the Israel Defense Force for people with autism.
Lax, along with five other women, birthed B’Shvilech in order to help others like herself. All of the staff volunteer their time and services in order to spoil the participants. Psagot Winery donated its beautiful venue in Samaria, which drew volunteer caterers, massage and reflexology therapists, make-up artists, clothing and jewelry distributors, photographers, and musicians.
“We were arranging for 100 women to receive an evening of fun, food, relaxing therapies and music,” Lax told UWI. “However, as word spread, our phones rang off the hook with women begging to come. They would say, ‘We won’t eat. We won’t take a treatment. Please, I just need to feel a bit of normalcy in my life for a night.’ Of course, we couldn’t turn them down.”
Lax explained that an evening like B’Shvilech is like “air” to a someone whose life is filled with sickness and suffering. “We had women say that it is such a relief to be in a ‘normal’ atmosphere where they are looked at as ‘people’ and not just as a sick person,” Lax said.
“Last year, a woman came who had cancer. We did her make-up and she enjoyed a healing treatment. She then went to our photographer who took professional pictures of her,” Lax told UWI. “She died five months later. These are the last pictures her family has of her looking happy. We are grateful that we were able to bring her joy.”
Due to the generosity of all the volunteers, the evening cost only about $1,500. “We see the importance and great need for an evening like this,” Lax told UWI. “Next year, we hope to be in an even larger venue and host more people who deserve a night of spoiling like this.”
Each woman left with a gift package. More importantly, they felt loved, pampered, remembered and cared about.