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Changing lives in style with Haboydem

A unique nonprofit sells used clothing in Jerusalem and offers a healing path for those with mental illness
Illustrative photo of aerial view of Jerusalem (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of aerial view of Jerusalem (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Ingredients: 1/4 fashion, 1/4 social endeavor, 1/4 recycling, 1/4 donations. Mix them all together and you get the uniqueness of the second hand clothing store which is Haboydem.

A little less than two years ago, with not much more than a whisper, one of the most fascinating and meaningful social enterprises to spring up in Israel, opened its doors off the busy Pierre Koenig Street, behind the Hadar Mall in Talpiot, Jerusalem. “Haboydem” – originally  Yiddish, but now very much part of the Hebrew/Israeli vernacular, for  the attic where you keep the stuff you don’t use anymore – is the name of this second-hand clothing store which looks and feels more like a Gap or H&M than anything else.

Haboydem - social entrepreneurship at its best. (Credit: Haboydem)
Haboydem – social entrepreneurship at its best. (Credit: Haboydem)

However, there is much more to Haboydem than meets the eye. And what meets the eye is a gorgeous store with amazing clothes of high quality (sometimes brand new) for women, men and children, at affordable prices that will blow you away. This is though far from what makes shopping at Haboydem unique.

The uniqueness of Haboydem is its staff, some whom are individuals recovering from mental illness. Haboydem was not merely opened to be a vintage clothes shop. Its true objective is to provide transitional employment training for people who are facing mental challenges but have the potential to return to a competitive workplace. Each of their workers receives on-job training for all operational aspects of the store including sorting of clothes, customer service, and operating the cash register. Their work program is designed to suit each individual, offering short shifts when required, and each employee also receives professional support from an occupational therapist.

Rama Dahan (60) was one of the central figures of the store since its inception. Her story is a story of success, as she no longer works at Haboydem. Today she is an instructor at the nonprofit organization Enosh which deals with the rehabilitation of the mentally ill. “I decided to accept my illness – the schizophrenia – and to deal with it”, says Rama. “This Haboydem is a gift that I received from the Creator of the Universe. This place has given me insight that the sky is the limit. I received security, warmth and a supportive family, companions, and especially, the will to live. Now I have hope and faith that I can work, outside of sheltered workshops.

I received security, warmth and a supportive family, companions, and especially, the will to live. 

Rama Dahan, former Haboydem employee

The brainchild of Elie Lederman and Guy Avihod, the pair co-founded Haboydem in July 2014. Elie is an active and passionate social entrepreneur, whose previous philanthropic projects have a distinct rehabilitation flavor. He initiated the rehabilitation of the Yarqon River project, and has been an active promoter of the recently-completed Sderot Medical Rehabilitation Center on behalf of the Ezra LeMarpeh Organization. Guy is a serial social activist and one of Israel’s leading experts in the field of mental health.

Elie and Guy dream of making Haboydem into a national chain in order to provide opportunities for work integration for hundreds of people. Based on the success of the Talpiot store, earlier this year they opened the doors to their second branch on Kikar Zion in central Jerusalem. The grand-opening event for the Kikar Zion branch takes place on 1 June 2016 – make sure to be there.

Haboydem at Kikar Zion in Jerusalem - do-good-shopping in style (Credit: Haboydem)
Haboydem at Kikar Zion in Jerusalem – do-good-shopping in style (Credit: Haboydem)

So what can you do?

  • Go shopping in one of the two stores in Jerusalem – both with a large selection of clothes for men, women, children and babies, as well as toys, homewares, jewelry, shoes and more. The bargains are amazing!
  • Know that each one of your shekels spent goes to fund the operation, paying the salaries of the people who are trying to make it back into living productive lives in our society.
  • Recycle your clothes – have a look in your own ‘boydem’ and bring your clothes over.
  • Let your friends know – like Haboydem on Facebook.
  • Support Haboydem by making a donation on their current ‘Cause Match’ campaign where every gift you make is matched and hence doubled. Donate here.

The magic of their current fundraising campaign is that a donation to Haboydem goes directly to generate vouchers for welfare recipients and lone soldiers, who may not have not the means to buy clothing on their own. Your generosity enables them to shop with dignity, which in turn, ends up paying for the salaries of employees like Rama who carry the burden of a mental illness. Your donation helps both those in poverty and those fighting a disability. And thanks to a generous donation, every dollar you donate will be doubled!

The founders of Haboydem have managed to create a shop which is an enjoyable, vibrant and fun place to be and their employees love to come to work! All you have to do is come and shop.

Haboydem – giving people and clothes a second chance.

About the Author
David Metzler is the founder of AppleBay Media, Arcadia Consulting and Noon Philanthropy. He has a burning passion for the nonprofit sector and is active with a number of NPOs. Metzler previously held senior positions for major Israeli and Jewish Diaspora institutions before embarking on his current entrepreneurial endeavors. David has lived in California, Sweden, Australia, and calls Israel his home since 2001.
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