By Simona Bernstein
“May you deliver the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few” is part of the al hanisim prayer recited on Chanukah. I therefore found it very fitting that the National Council of Jewish Women held its first Festival of Lights Fashion Show on Chanukah since this organization strives to do just that with their incredible programs every day, from mental health support to supplying children with back to school supplies and massive clothing giveaways. The Fashion Show was hosted by NCJW/LA’s Young Professionals Leadership Circle (YPLC). As a model in the Fashion Show, I found it very meaningful to be part of something special. Sure, I got to pick out two adorable outfits from the Council Thrift Shop (including an $8 J Crew dress-score!), but I also felt that in buying those clothes that the proceeds would help someone else’s light shine even brighter.
As mentioned by Helen Davidov, the board chair of YPLC, “NCJW is there for people who are really struggling, who really need our help.” The sensitivity of this message confirms the criticality of the organization to the members of our community, and their inclusiveness for people of diverse backgrounds strengthens the Jewish principle of “being a light unto the nations.” This message, and the positivity embraced by the team members of the NCJW made me really grateful for the blessings in my life, the latkes on my plate, and the opportunity to learn more about volunteering with other young professionals for this organization.
In the spirit of giving during the holidays, donations collected from the fashion show benefited the Back 2 School Store lead by the YPLC. I learned more about this notable event where NCJW equips children in LA with new clothing, backpacks and school supplies for returning to school in the fall, and I plan to join the next YPLC meeting to help to plan it! Not only does this fulfill a physical need for essential items, it also instills a priceless confidence in these kids as they start a new grade.
On Chanukah we light the menorah every evening starting with just one candle, and add one candle for each night signifying that with each action one can enhance the light in the world. The Fashion Show took place the fourth night, right in the middle Chanukah, and it was an inspiring night that undoubtedly made a beautiful impact on the rest of the holiday for myself, the models, and all guests present.
Simona Bernstein is a CPA and works at the corporate headquarters of a trampoline park franchise. Her interests include spending time with family and friends, volunteering, fashion, fitness, and coffee.