Wedding Day. The day every girl dreams of from the time she was still toddling around the living room in diapers. Every little girl’s dress-up bin contains a wedding gown as she plays “house”. Such frivolous and joyous fun. The girl grows up and starts imagining who she will walk down the aisle to meet; Who she will spend the rest of her life with creating a family- the next generation.
Then the time comes. She has dated and met the man she will marry. Engagement. With a creative story to tell all her friends. Preparations- invitations, wedding hall, flowers, music, caterer. But the most exciting part is the bridal gown. The beautiful white or ivory, cream or peach gown. Tulle or satin, lace or beading, vintage or modern. So many choices. Most likely she has been imagining the style but it still takes time to find the exact one she will want to greet her groom with as she is about to become his wife.
And that is where Jerusalem’s Chasdei Yaela Wedding Gown Gemach fits in to this story. Sisters, Naomi Tuch and Rachel Nicholas, have owned and run this non-profit organization for the last 13 years. They have been located in the same location off of King George for all this time. They named their Gmach in memory of Naomi’s mother-in-law, Yaela Tuch, who had been a popular bridal coach in her native South Africa.
These wonderfully caring and sincere sisters have been helping to make those dreams come true. With over 300 beautiful, top-of-the-line wedding gowns in stock, donated by brides from across the world, they help bring smiles to brides, alleviating any stress they may be feeling.
Brides from every background come to this beautiful Gmach. Some that will get married in the fanciest of wedding halls, but then there are brides that many not have the financial means to spend so much money on a wedding gown. Naomi and Rachel hope to ensure that every bride will walk down her wedding aisle with a sense of deserved dignity.
As I went to visit their Bridal Boutique, I was in awe at their attention to each bride’s needs and desires. They listened attentively as she described what she always dreamed of. As I was observing the interactions, a newlywed bride walked in holding a beautiful wedding gown that she had just worn at her wedding. At that moment, the bride that was already there turned around, spotted the gown and said- That one! That’s the one. She tried it on. It fit. It was meant to be. Passed down from one bride to the next. Pure happiness on both faces.
And that’s when I had the opportunity to have some fun too. Having been married for almost 14 years, I haven’t worn a wedding gown in a very long time. Rachel and Naomi took exceptional care to show me how they would help a bride. They found a gown that would suit me, lifted it over my head, zipped it (miraculously it zipped!), fixed the tulle, placed a crown and veil on my head, and turned me around to see myself in the mirror. I was a sight in white! If that’s how special they made me feel- someone not getting married, you can only imagine how special they make the brides feel.
May the Jerusalem Municipality give them the rights to continue using this space for many more years to come. I say that because they are in fear of being evicted from their location after 13 years of loyal and dedicated service. All these years, they have operated under the auspices of another organization. Recently, this other organization decided they do not want to use this space anymore and told the city they wish to vacate the premises. This announcement triggered a chain reaction which led to the municipality giving the Wedding Gmach the notice that they have to leave immediately!
Rachel and Naomi are frantically searching for another place to relocate but hoping it won’t come to that. They are hoping for the city to show compassion and let their non-profit organization remain in this location. They want all future brides to have the same opportunity as all the past brides they have matched to a gown.
A beautiful testimonial came from a very grateful bride:
Thank you so much!!! The gowns are stunning and the help from Rachel and Naomi was perfect! They have such good energy here.I’m overcome with gratitude! Thank you! Thank you! Now I have the gown I dreamed of! Hannah P. 04/02/16
For more information or if you know someone they can speak to, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will direct the messages to them. Or you can check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WeddingGownsShalshelet/
Thank you Naomi and Rachel, for giving me the opportunity to help shed light on this current situation. May you both merit to help many more future brides.