Photographer: Dvir Kahlon
Style: Reuven Cohen
Fashion Editor: Nadav Eliyahu
Hair: Liraz Agam
Makeup: Natasha Denona
Model: Sendi Bar
There are not many store managers who would just shrug their shoulders upon hearing that one of the employees would be late for a shift. But Moran Goldfine – manager of The Women’s Courtyard at the Port – knew exactly with whom she would be working when she accepted the challenge to manage this social-venture boutique a few months back.
The store was opened in 2012 by the Women’s Courtyard, a multicultural organization that provides support and assistance for young-adult women in distress and at-risk who reside in the cities of Tel Aviv-Jaffa and Bat Yam.
Organization heads decided that an upscale clothing store selling top designer wear was a great way to offer these women a chance to enter the workforce on the right footing.
It is fashion and compassion combined: Brands like Banker, Top Shop, Billabong and local designers donate previous seasons’ wear to the store and proceeds go to at-risk youth.
“It’s a different experience to shop here,” Goldfine tells ISRAEL21c. “It’s a relaxed experience. We don’t pressure customers. You buy and donate.”
A visitor to the store would find it difficult to imagine that the shop staff hails from the extreme margins of Israeli society. Thanks to Goldfine, who has more than 10 years of experience in store management, the first cohort of eight trainees has learned how to do everything from greeting customers to operating the cash register.
This is the first job they’ve ever held and while it is their lifeline out of poverty, distress, discrimination and abuse, these young women are not “regular” employees. They come late for work or not at all, or may leave in the middle of a shift to run an errand.
But Goldfine encourages them to do their best.
“It’s a confidence boost for them,” says Goldfine. “It gives them hope to wake up in the morning and know that they have a place to go. The salary also gives hope and puts them in another position. These young women are amazing and what they’re doing is really admirable.”
“It is empowering beyond belief. Some of the young women can already hold a shift by themselves. It is beyond what we expected,” says Noa Turgeman, co-executive director of the Women’s Courtyard.
Like most of my generation, I’m a man of many hats. You might say we know too little about too much, but that’s the story of the multi-hyphenates. My day job is at the new, award-winning Design Museum Holon, only 20 minutes from Tel Aviv city center (or 13 minutes if you hop on the scooter with me). Since it opened in 2010 it’s become a leading force in the international art and design community, exhibiting the works of both up-and-coming and established talent, like Yohji Yamamoto, whose massive show at the museum recently closed. Architect Ron Arad designed the stunning building, whose dramatic façade is made of undulating COR-TEN (weathering steel) ribbons.
I head the external relations department, which includes fundraising, international relations, and cooperation with other institutions as well as individual artists and designers. I also directed the museum’s past two international fashion events—Holon Fashion Week 2011 and 2012.
Several people were walking around Hugh Hefner’s Playboy estate in Los Angeles this past November trying to pronounce a Hebrew phrase –shfanfanat Playboy (“Playboy bunny”). They’d just learned it and were having fun rolling it around their tongues.
The Israelis who taught Hefner and his staff the new term weren’t just in L.A. for a language lesson, they were there to do business and get tips on editing and producing the first Israeli edition of the famed adult magazine.
The man behind the plan to publish Playboy in Israel is Daniel Pomerantz, 37, an American Jew who immigrated to Israel last year. After a career as a lawyer in the United States, he decided that his place was in Israel. At the same time, he thought it’d be a great idea to bring Playboy on aliyah with him to satisfy the curiosity of Israeli men. He and several other U.S. businessmen bought the rights to distribute an Israeli edition and are investing a million dollars in the launch, which is a few months away.
“We went to Hefner’s estate with the Israeli team to learn from the Playboy experts,” Pomerantz told TheMarker. “Hefner was very excited that there was a word [for bunny] in Hebrew – it proved that there is a cultural link between the Playboy brand and Israeli culture.”
Playboy magazine, founded by Hefner in 1953 and known first for its photo spreads of nude women and second for its high-quality written content, is one of the best-known brands in the world. Although circulation in the United States has dropped and the company has had its share of crises, it is still a huge entertainment corporation that includes significant online activity, erotic television stations (which operate in Israel under a separate franchise) and magazines in some 30 countries. Playboy has never appeared in Hebrew although a local edition of its competitor, Penthouse, appeared in Israel between 1989 and 1993.
The leading men’s magazine in Israel is Blazer, published by the Yedioth Ahronoth Group, which, alongside articles and columns, includes more than a few revealing photos. Playboy plans to enter the same niche, but to be more daring.
How daring, exactly? The editors won’t say.
“I don’t want to get into all these details, because we want the public to be somewhat surprised,” says Pomerantz. “But I can promise you that we won’t disappoint the readers. The magazine will be very sexy, but it’s not about sex. It will be inspiring and broadcast quality and beauty.”