ערב שבת קודש פר' ויקהל-פקודי/החודש תשע"ג
רבקה בת ישעיה הלוי
In memory off RivkA bat Yishaya HaLevi
But this post is not about trying to prove a halachic (Jewish legal) point, one way or another.
This is simply about providing an additional option to those women who want to pass on their sheitels (pe'oth in Hebrew), when they are finished with them.
Why not donate them to a wig gema"h (gemiluth hassadim - provider/lender)?
But, I am not recommending just any gema"h, which lends wigs out to women to meet their temporary needs. I am recommending that you donate your wigs to a gema"h, which lends them out specifically to women with medically-related hair loss, such as those women undergoing chemotherapy.
I must admit the idea came to me out of my anti-sheitel beliefs. When I was asked by a friend to bring some old wigs and styrofoam heads to Jerusalem, and to find a gema"h for them, I asked if it would be ok to find one catering to women with medically-related hair loss, instead of a general one. She agreed wholeheartedly.
I emailed RivkA, may her memory be for a blessing, whose blog Coffee And Chemo, describes her life in Israel, including her battles with cancer. I figured that if anyone knew of such a gema"h, then she would. Sure enough she had a friend who was in the process of starting one up.
Certainly, this is not a new idea. I remember years ago when a friend of mine underwent treatment for cancer in the U. S. My friend's treatment included surgery and chemotherapy, with an expected loss of her hair.
Even though she said did not care about losing her hair, she felt it would be better for her to wear a wig at work. The cancer patient support group she joined referred her to a wig exchange which lent her two wigs. All she had to do was to bring them back when she was finished with them. I remember that her spirits were raised, knowing that she had the wigs to wear if she decided to. There were so many wigs, she even succeeded in finding two which matched her hair color and style.
Not all women decide to wear wigs, during treatment, but many do. Many feel it helps to lift their mood. Most professionals now acknowledge that a raised mood, and lowered anxiety, are better for the immune system than the opposite.
Regardless of what medical treatment a woman chooses, she should know that wigs can be an option. They certainly do not look out of place in Israel, either.
So, if you were thinking about passing on any sheitels, please consider a gema"h, catering to women with medically related hair loss. There are several out there. Please feel free to post such gema"him in your area below in the comments section.
Hadadi - The Center for the Breast Cancer Survivor has the gema"h in Jerusalem, started by the friend of RivkA's mentioned above. It also have a selection of hats available. Hadadi's contact information can be found by clicking here.