Ramaz Students On Tzedakah’s Cutting Edge


Most girls, especially tweens, are not thinking about other people when they’re getting a haircut. It’s a time of life when the pressure to look a certain way, to measure up to the standards of both friends and crushes, is intense.

But last week, a group of about 17 girls, students at the Upper East Side’s Ramaz School, defied that pressure to donate at least eight inches of their hair to Zichron Menachem, an Israeli organization that makes wigs for young cancer patients.

The girls found an eager partner in a neighborhood salon, the Shaggy Hair Studio, owned by two Israelis who were happy to shut down the entire operation the afternoon of May 22 to treat the girls, and a few of their teachers, to a free haircut after school.

A Ramaz staff member delivered the donations to a rabbi from Zichron Menachem.

“It’s not easy to get rid of long hair. You have to shape it, and give them a new style,” said co-owner Yossi Shaar, originally from Netanya. “They were very nice, and very brave.

Fans of the movie “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan,” in which Adam Sandler plays an Israel Defense Forces commando who comes to America to style the ladies who line up outside his Manhattan salon for his many services, might wonder if the Shaggy Hair Studio was an appropriate place to bring a gaggle of young girls. Shaar says his salon is not that kind of place.

“We have fun at work,” Shaar said, “but we’re more professional. We don’t have a back room.”

He and partner Oren Lanzanski have already given free cuts to those donating their hair to Locks of Love, a similar, U.S.-based organization.

“Because this supports Israel, we feel even more connected,” he said. “I told them, ‘Call me or my partner any time. We’d be happy to do it again.’”

Helen@jewishweek.org; @thesimplechild