gets his chalakah, or first hair cut
Many hundreds of three-year-old boys were at Meron on Sunday to get their chalakah, or first haircut. But none was as extraordinary as that of David, whose locks were shorn with his sobbing mother standing nearby.
The story begins with a desperate plea that reached Yad L'Achim one evening via email. R., a Jewish woman, poured out her heart about her difficult life with an Arab husband, a former soldier in the South Lebanon Army who moved to Israel when the first Lebanon War ended. After an initial "grace period," he became increasingly violent.
"Two months after I gave birth to my son I knew I had to make a change," R. wrote. "If not for my sake, than for my son's, that he shouldn't grow into a life as miserable as mine. After a quick check I found that you are the organization that helps women in my situation and decided to turn to you."
She explained that she had no home to return to, as her father had died in her youth and her family had cut of all contact and refused to have anything to do with her.
"I can't take anymore of the violence and humiliation," she concluded in her email. "Please help me; soon, before a tragedy occurs."
Yad L'Achim's emergency task force took up the case and contacted R. to learn more details and explore options. Within days she and her little boy were rescued and living in the home of her brother, who was excited and moved to hear from Yad L'Achim that his sister was making her way back to Judaism.
Following the rescue, R. was in constant contact with a Yad L'Achim social worker who offered emotional support and practical assistance in her rehabilitation. At the same time, the organization's counter-assimilation department found her a job, paving the way for her to successfully rebuild her life.
For some inexplicable reason, R. had stubbornly refused to cut the hair of her son David until he reached the age of three. On Sunday, Lag BaOmer, she merited to bring him to Meron and celebrate his chalakah together with, and as part of, the multitudes of the Jewish people who had come to mark the special day.