Thursday, 23 July 2015


Today is my late father's Yartzheit, so I decided to post a few reflections.

In other posts I have mentioned that most little girls dream of being a bride. If you take a look at the streets in Israel at Purim time, a large percentage of the little girls dress up as Kallot (brides). I too dreamed of the day I would marry. I dreamed of starting my own home and my own family. I dreamed of walking to Chuppah with my father and mother (I did not know the custom some have of mothers to walk with the Kallah and fathers to walk with the Chatan). Still I dreamed of both parents being there. I dreamed of my father singing at my Chuppah. My father had the most beautiful singing voice. Such a rich, deep voice. I loved to hear him sing in the choir, or on his own. He had acted in musicals too and his singing was so special. I dreamed of my own Abba (father) being at my wedding and participating in a meaningful way.

I dreamed of picking out the bridal gown that I would really want and receiving a blessing from my father once I was all dressed up in my bridal dress. 

My dreams went on but they were dreams that had to be adapted. My father left this world 31 years ago today. I have not found anyone who knew him who has his singing voice recorded. I could not have him walk me to Chuppah or sing at my wedding or give me a blessing or give me advice or meet my Chatan. 

It took me years to find a Jewish husband and when I did, sadly life had sent me so many knocks that I could not pay for a basic wedding. I could not afford a simple bridal dress. Most people I turned to for help refused.

One kindness that stands out was that I was given the opportunity to borrow a bridal dress, veil and full petticoat at the cost of only the dry cleaning. I remember going to the Gemach with my sister-in-law and being overwhelmed by the rows and rows of dresses.

I looked at a few dresses and some were OK but not quite what I liked. Then my sister-in-law tapped me on the shoulder and said "Shoshanah, you have to try on this dress." I took a look at it and smiled. Yes, I had to try on that dress. And I did and the dress fitted perfectly. No need for adjustments, alterations or anything. It was a perfect fit and perfect design. 

We managed to borrow the dress with a suitable veil and petticoat and my sister-in-law hid it in her cottage so that my Chatan would not see it. 

My first wedding date was cancelled due to lack of funds. Finally we had a very simple wedding. There were aspects that were hard, and some even harder, but the dress was beautiful and I felt special in it. 

At the wedding, someone somehow caught the petticoat of my dress when trying to move my chair and it ripped a bit. A lady I did not know came up and ripped it further, then along came another and pinned this long rip up under my dress. I felt dreadful. My heart sank. My precious dress and petticoat were now damaged. They were borrowed. I had no sewing machine to repair them, no means to pay a seamstress and was in a panic from that moment until I spoke to the ladies of the Gemach. They were so kind, they accepted the dress back (cleaned of course) and torn petticoat too. "It's OK," she said, "we'll take care of it." And at that moment somewhere inside of me I thought, that was so kind, someday, some how I want to help an orphan like that too. I want to provide another orphan with the most beautiful bridal gown and to tell her "don't worry if it tears, we will take care of that for you. Wear it in good health and may your wedding and marriage be blessed."

It's been hard to get our Gemach off the ground, as we began with no contacts, no space to do it, no resources, just a few ideas and a desire to do something meaningful in the merit of my father that would turn my heartache to good. But we have done it and now the amazing thing happened. Now Hashem has provided an answer to one hidden wish. Now we have 60 bridal gowns and they are so nearly ready for Kallot to be able to wear them in good health and enjoy feeling like a queen. So close and yet so far.

Thank you for reading my own story. Please, make a contribution and help us make this dream a reality. I did not have my father at my wedding, not in person, but through helping other orphan brides I have the comfort that somehow in a mystical way I can help my father wherever he might be. I do not understand the life after this one. It is too mysterious. But Torah teaches that doing something in the merit of a loved one brings an elevation to their soul.

I would really love to have my father with me in person, but sadly that can not be. But he is with me in another very real way. And if we can just get through this last hurdle and have the bridal gowns dry cleaned, purchase the sturdy clothing racks, come up with funds to rent larger space, then every time an orphan Kallah (bride) borrows a bridal gown, I can know, that somehow, in this beautiful mystical way, my father has benefited. No it is not the same as having him at my wedding in person, but it is the only practical thing I can do to interact with the talented, intelligent man who is my father. 

My late father loved life. He went through a phase of saying every day is my birthday because today I was born a new. In truth, this is what every Jew should feel as they recite the Modei Ani blessing in the morning. The world is a very big place and I can not help everyone, but helping other orphan Kallot to begin their life a new with blessing and beauty and kindness is one small thing that I strive to do.

So please join us in making this happen. You can donate via our crowd fundraiser

Or if you live in Israel, Canada or the U.S.A we have formed a connection with two organizations to help us provide tax receipts. Method of donating differs depending where you are from. If you do not wish to donate via our crowd fundraiser, please be in touch and we can let you know the method to donate. 

Thank you for your kindness

Together we can make a better world. Every kind act can bring us closer to the Moshiach, a time for Techias HaMeisim where everyone can be re-united with their loved ones. A time where Every orphan can be re-united with their parent(s). A time where no-one need feel alone again. A time where there will be peace and love and unity.

Shoshanah Shear of Chessed Ve'Emet 

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