Changing Perspectives – post-COVID-19

Interior of the Girls Only store in Hod Hasharon. Picture taken by the writer.
Interior of the Girls Only store in Hod Hasharon. Picture taken by the writer.

A few days before Pesach this year, our youngest child celebrated her bat mitzvah.  Although we had already made four bat mitzvahs in our family, this event was different from our previous parties. When our eldest daughter had hers back in 2010, I spent months planning and preparing for a serious celebration. At that time, it was all new to me, and I didn’t know what was expected at a bat mitzvah party in Israel.  When I was a kid back in der alter heim (=old home/old country, i.e. America), bat mitzvahs were no big deal. Usually just a party for friends- at home- like any other birthday. For my own bat mitzvah my parents actually sponsored the kiddush in shul, where I said a short d’var Torah, and then I had my usual sleepover party for my classmates- all 14 of us. That was it. We didn’t have a photographer or music, or any special meal. It was quite different than the typical bar mitzvahs, which were big events, but that’s the way it was in our small suburban community in 1982.

And I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t have wanted anything different. But I admit that when it came to my own daughters, living here in Israel, I kind of went all out. I never had an excessive number of guests, but I did pay quite a bit of attention to all the details- venue, decor, menu, music, itinerary, photographer, give-aways, outfits, and hair and makeup. And that’s the way it went for the next three bat mitzvahs in our family, to varying degrees. (Incidentally, all the parties were for women and girls only. In fact, I like to take a bit of credit for starting what was then a new trend in our east-side Ra’anana community- inviting only the gals to the bat mitzvahs. Our children were in schools with separate classes, so it made sense to just invite the girls. And my own friends came as well- without husbands. Honestly, the men didn’t really want to come anyway. It was a win-win for everyone.)

Fast forward 10 years, and COVID-19 entered our lives- or rather, took over our lives, for almost three years. Everything came to a standstill, literally. As I look back now, it seems like an eternity ago, and I still can’t believe the extent to which the whole world was affected. But I can say that since we have bounced back, I have definitely changed my outlook on things, including celebrations and parties. My perspective in general has also changed. My new mantra is: How will I see this issue or event five years from now? Ten years from now? When making plans, I ask myself, What is the ultimate goal and how can I achieve it? Basically, is all this important? 

Which is why, for daughter #5, I decided to do a “one-stop-shop”. I found a great venue in Herzliya, called Glow Events, which offered everything together. DJ, photographer, magnets, food, activities. All-in-one. It was the first place I saw, and I booked it. All that was left was a dress for my special girl. Walking in Ra’anana one day, I chanced upon a charming little dress shop aptly called Girls Only, in Mercaz Giron. I had been told that all the girls in the class wear white to their parties, and this store had an abundance of white dresses, in all styles and sizes. I was approached by the owner Alina, who helped me browse the enormous selection. She told me about their bat mitzvah package- it includes a dress-any dress we choose- as well as hair and makeup on the day of the party, done at their second location in Hod Hasharon. Another all-in-one? Perfect. I booked it.

And what a perfect experience it was, indeed. Alina and her assistant Korin helped my daughter choose a beautiful dress, and did all the alterations as well. They even suggested some accessories, such as a lace flower belt and detachable tulle skirt, which can be tied on or removed to make two completely different outfits! My daughter was thrilled. On the day of, I dropped her off at the Hod Hasharon store. Alina is also a cosmetician, and has converted the the second floor into a salon,  where the guest of honor is made up and pampered. When I arrived a few hours later, my daughter was glowing as she walked outside, dressed like a princess on the way to her ball, complete with a tiara in her hair.

The party was a success. In my daughter’s class, which is mixed boys and girls, everyone is invited to all the parties. It was, however, the first mixed bat mitzva in our family, and I am happy to report that all 35 kids, including the boys- were involved from beginning to end. Needless to say, everyone had a great time, and we were so happy. This proved to me that my new motto was working. Don’t go crazy over every little thing; Keep the big picture in view; Pay attention to what really matters the most. COVID taught us that life is just too short and precious to fret the small things.  The concept of perfect is different for all of us and is all relative anyway.

I need to end off here with a plug for Alina’s awesome shop, Girls Only. Open since 2014, it offers adorable dresses and outfits for reasonable prices. The bat mitzvah package that I took cost 699 shekels, and was worth every shekel. They also sell flower girl dresses, and recently opened a new line of casual wear. They do offer other services, such as providing desserts, and other specialties such as neon makeup which glows in the dark. They are there to make the customer- the bat mitzvah girl- happy, and they definitely succeeded. The Hod Hasharon store has been open for two years and has changed the basic store concept into a boutique and salon. I couldn’t recommend it more.

Check out their Instagram page for pictures and all the details, or stop by if you are in the neighborhood (Ra’anana and Hod Hasharon). You won’t be disappointed!

Girls Only: Ra’anana- Jabotinsky 3 (Mercaz Giron) 09-8327311 and Hod Hasharon- 10 Sokolov 054-8781312

GLOW Events: Harishonim 7, Herzliya

Alina and her sales associate Korin, outside the Hod Hasharon shop. Picture published with permission.
About the Author
Chana Resnick Pinto made aliya in 2005 and lives in the Sharon area of Central Israel. She has a BA in English from Yeshiva University and an MSEd from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. Chana works at Eric Cohen Books in Ra'anana and loves living in Israel. She encourages everyone to stop and smell the flowers and always appreciate the small things.
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