How a small beauty shop is dispersing the darkness of south Tel Aviv
The most pressing issues in this world are difficult in and of themselves, and still, majority of them are even more complicated when you look under the surface.
Tel Aviv, apart from being the tech capital in this part of the world, holds also some very dark secrets. When one takes up the challenge of standing against abortion which is very prevalent in Israel, it is impossible to detach it from its complexities.
In Tel Aviv unwanted pregnancies are strongly linked with the issue of human trafficking.
This was the realization of an Israeli couple, Ishai and Anat, who were moved to take action against abortion by providing practical help to troubled mothers, but also felt a heavy burden in their hearts to reach out to women controlled by mafia and human traffickers.
They started an organization called Chaim Beshefa (Hebrew for ‘Abundant Life’) where they are surrounded by dedicated staff and volunteers who share in their mission.
A turning point came when Anat got a phone call from a social worker in Tel Aviv old bus station area. She asked Anat to meet and care for a victim of sex trafficking from Uzbekistan who was also a drug addict and just gave birth to a child she could not support. Thus a new avenue of work was initiated for Chaim Beshefa: reaching out to women in prostitution by the old bus station in Tel Aviv.
The southern neighborhood of the city near the old bus station is home to brothels and drug hangouts, dealers and crime – a place where many women have long abandoned the dream of leading a free and comfortable life.
Chaim Beshefa team stepped into this miserable place with a novel, and possibly risky, idea: let’s open a beauty shop! The center, ingeniously named “Red Carpet Nail Center,” offers manicures, pedicures and hairstyling free of charge. But more importantly, it is a safe space for the women to enjoy a hot meal, take a shower and receive counseling.
The main goal is to send them to rehabilitation centers, to move from their current situation and experience true breakthrough.
Men are not allowed inside, so even Ishai, Anat’s husband, does not enter the center during its opening hours, and guards the entrance instead. The Red Carpet center gives them an escape from their weary lives, where local and international volunteers show them care and are willing to pray with them.
They offer the mistreated women of the slums something they may have never experienced in their lives, respect and unconditional love.
The stance of Chaim Beshefa is straightforward: each woman who enters the center is a king’s daughter, precious and loved, who is stepping on a red carpet to meet the King of Kings.