Ready for the Runway Show
After months of planning, on Sunday May 20, 2012 friends Naomi Citron and Noa Horvitz joined forces and blew the Manhattan fashion community away with their joint Bat Mitzvah Fashion Show Fundraiser held at Park East Synagogue in Manhattan. 

Even up to the last few days before the event the young ladies continued to receive sponsors to help them with their event. So many amazing organizations got involved to donate their services, including food and raffle items, that the girls were able to raise over $5,000 entirely in profit of which 100% is going to benefit the Clothing Fund at the Children’s Home in Netanya!

Over 150 guests were in attendance where Naomi and Noa’s friends modeled clothing designs from Elie Tahari (who himself was raised in an Israeli orphanage), Boutique Volfe and Diva Kids. Guests participated in fashion sketching workshops and enjoyed raffles of designer jewelry from Jewelista, makeup and skin care products from Sisley-Paris, and Shimi 2 Zumba gift cards. Everyone munched on delicious food from My Most Favorite Food restaurant and Chocolate Works NYC, sponsored in part by ASG Real Estate.

Naomi & Noa with Lev LaLev’s Chaya Feuerman (center)
The event was so inspiring and the girls brought so many people together that Jewelista was even inspired to donate 20% of proceeds from items bought on their website, http://www.jewelista.com/, to Lev LaLev! 

Just enter offer code Lev2012 at checkout (valid until December 2012) and Lev LaLev will receive 20% of the sale!

Our heartfelt thanks and Mazal Tov wishes go to the amazing Bat Mitzvah girls Naomi and Noa and their families!

You can still help Naomi and Noa benefit disadvantaged girls in Israel by visiting their donation landing page: www.levlalev.com/fashionforpassion

Special guest blog post from Lev LaLev on how Braces helped save their Director of Development, Rachel's teeth and face from disfigurement! 

See braces aren't all bad! 

I’m a seatbelt fanatic with straight teeth.
This will all make sense in a moment.
You see, everyone knows that when I’m the driver the car doesn’t move until everyone is properly buckled. It’s no surprise that my babies always had the right car seats. As they grew, I consulted experts for proper positioning and requirements to make even their smallest journeys as safe as possible.

I know it’s to be expected, but even in this regard, my children are growing up different than me. Seatbelts were newly mandatory in the 70s. They were not yet considered a passenger’s #1 safety mechanism.

To my high school friends and me, they were a real bother. Many times we would hop in a car and ride on without buckling up. Seatbelts? Are you kidding? The shoulder strap would ruin our hair or crease our outfits. There were better things to focus on, fun was awaiting us, and we just didn’t have the patience to strap ourselves in.

While my friends and I were eager for our licenses, I personally had a much stronger yearning: all I wanted was for my braces to be REMOVED once and for all!

It was November 1983, and I was in the home stretch of my orthodontic era. For months, my orthodontist promised they would be removed…..next month. So by October, I lost my patience. “Just one more month,” he said. Another month…sigh….well, what was I to say?

Flashback to the scene with my friends and me in the car, sans seatbelts. I am on the passenger’s side in the front seat, a friend is in the middle, and another girl is driving. Music is on but not too loudly. Starry night. Content.

We leave the main highway and navigate country roads that border cornfields. This is farmer territory; they drive their plows from the roads to the fields all the time. No big deal. Until numerous tracks form a path up a small hill and make it appear as if the road – coming into a T intersection – continues up that same hill.

We realize too late. The driver makes a delayed left turn which forces the car to skid up the side of the hill and slam into the ditch. Of course, the passenger side meets the crash with the fullest force.No seatbelt to protect me, my head rams into and smashes the passenger window, then rams again into the windshield, fragments of glass spraying everywhere. I’m unconscious.

The other girls step out, the driver with fractured ribs, dazed and shocked. I hear dulled voices screaming at me to move. I can’t. They’re hysterical, telling me to get out of the car because it might blow up. Whether this was a coy to get me to move, I’ll never know, but it worked.

Foggy, dazed and shocked, I stepped out of the car. I realize broken glass is in my mouth and spit it out. Somehow, we manage to walk the entire length of a farmer’s driveway and ask for help. (No cell phones back then, remember?)

I take a look at myself in the mirror of their bathroom and cry. My face is huge, swollen and disfigured. I look closer and realize my jaw has shifted out of alignment with the rest of my face. I can barely open my mouth.

That’s all I remember. I don’t know how I got home or to the hospital. My next memory is lying on a hospital bed, a very empathetic doctor at my side, apologizing profusely for the excruciating pain he was about to deliver when he locked my jaw back into place. There was no other choice; it simply had to be done, and right away.

Yes, I screamed, yes, my brother cried as he watched me scream. Quite traumatic.

The doctor continued by expressing the miracle of not only surviving the crash, but going through it with braces on. My orthodontist’s whim of giving me yet another month in braces had saved my face from traumatic injury, not to mention all of my teeth.

My jaw was fractured in three places. It needed to be restrained in order to heal. My braces were wired shut for one month, during which time I learned 1) even the most flavorful ice cream can become a dull treat, 2) spaghetti and meatballs taste the same when they’re blended and sucked through a straw, 3) what a blessing it is to be able to YAWN. (Try avoiding it for a month and you’ll know what I mean.)

Now you can understand why my passengers sometime feel like everyone is strapping up to go into outer space when they drive with me? More than this, do you see the miracles, especially of the ‘Braces That Felt Like They Would Be On Forever’?

Lev LaLev Girl shies away from the camera, embarrassed by her teeth and headgear

There’s a reason I chose to discuss orthodontics this week.

Just recently, I was informed of at least 6 girls at the Home who are in dire need of orthodontics to improve theirseverely misaligned teeth. Already, our supporters provide each girl with basic dental care, so I have no doubt that these sweet, vulnerable girls will eventually have what they need. That’s just the type of people who donate to Lev LaLev: People who are always ready to go above and beyond the call of duty.

This reminds me of a lesson in this week’s Torah portion, Chayei Sarah, which highlights Eliezer’s quest for someone to fill the esteemed position as the wife of Isaac.  Upon arriving in Haran, Eliezer finds Rivka at the well and asks her for water. The Torah tells us that she “quickly lowered her jug and gave him water to drink.” When she finished, Rivka said, “I will also draw water for your camels until they finish drinking.”

Extending her kindness so much more than what was being asked of her propelled Rivka into the role as one of the future mothers of the Jewish nation.  Amazing how wondrous things occur when we strive to meet the greater needs of others.

Becoming a seatbelt fanatic wasn’t the only result of my accident. The memory of this event reminds me of G-d’s protection over me, not only when He rescued me from danger, but even the added blessing of  a normal life without severe dental maladies.

Thanks so much for listening. And especially for any help you provide so that our abused and neglected girls can have the same opportunity.

Rachel Weinstein

Director of Development

What do you love or hate about your braces? 

Would you consider raising funds at your Bat Mitzvah, or upcoming Charity event, to help the Orphans receive the orthodontic care they need to have a confident smile?

Your best friend is hosting a big shindig. You want to attend so you can show your support, meet new people and have some fun. However, you're apprehensive about going because your face is full of zits and you're worried about what others might think. Will the people at the party think you have bad hygiene? Will they think you're hideous? Will they be grossed out by the sight of your skin?

It doesn't matter who you are or how old you are, having acne sucks. Pimples, blackheads, whiteheads and cysts on your skin can pummel your self-esteem and make you shy away from social situations. You don't have to let acne keep you from being the life of the party for much longer. There are several products and medical treatments available to remedy this condition.

Over the Counter Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid Products

Over the counter medications that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid are commonly used to treat acne breakouts. These two ingredients work in unison to rid your face of unsightly pimples. Benzoyl peroxide kills acne causing bacteria and salicylic acid helps slough away dead skin cells. Side effects of over the counter acne treatments include redness, dryness, irritation and peeling of the skin.

Prescription Medications

If over the counter acne products do not work, medical intervention may be necessary. A dermatologist can prescribe medications that contain stronger concentrations of benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. Prescription strength meds that contain these two ingredients can cause irritation, redness and sensitivity to the sun.

If acne breakouts are severe, topical medications may not be enough. A medical professional may also prescribe oral antibiotics. Oral antibiotics may be used alone, or, if the dermatologist feels it is necessary, in conjunction with topical treatments.

If you suffer with cystic acne, topical treatments and oral medications may not work. If this is the case, a medical professional may inject intralesional corticosteroid into the affected areas of the skin to reduce inflammation and lessen the appearance of acne cysts.

Hormone fluctuation that occur during menstrual changes can contribute to zits. Taking birth control pills can help regulate these hormonal changes and curb acne breakouts. Your primary care physician can work with your dermatologist to determine if birth control pills are appropriate for you.

Dermatological Cosmetic Procedures

If your doctor feels that your acne is best treated with a cosmetic procedure, he may choose either cold laser therapy or clear light acne treatments. During cold laser treatments, a laser wand applies waves of light to your skin. This process helps stimulate the cells, kill bacteria, reduce inflammation and heal acne.

With the exception of a mild stinging sensation, cold laser treatments are painless. Side effects may include dry skin, redness, irritation and inflammation of the treated area.

During clear light treatments, a medical professional will apply a concentrated blue light to the affected areas of the skin. The blue light penetrates the skin and kills bacteria below the surface. Most people don’t experience any adverse side effects from this procedure.

Cold laser and clear light treatments are noninvasive, so there is no down time required. Both of these procedures may require multiple treatments before you get the kind of results you want.

With the variety of over the counter products, prescription medications and dermatological treatments available, you don’t have to let acne keep you from being the person you were born to be.

This is a guest article from Mountain View Dermatology. Located in Boulder, CO Mountain View specializes in acne facials.

Hey BBM girls! Don't let acne get you down; confidence is key; everyone is usually more focused on their own faces than to worry about yours, especially if you're not worrying about it!

Granted, there will always be the token person who will come up to you and say you should do something about your beautiful face, (as if you hadn't noticed-thanks lady!) but don't let it get in the way of enjoying your life, hanging out with friends or even celebrating your bat mitzvah (that's what acne friendly cover-up is for after all!) and of course, changing the world!

It’s Labor Day weekend and for many that signals the end of a summer of sleeping in and doing things on your time. On Tuesday, the alarm bell announces the return of the school year. Back to school is a time of transition: new classes, new teachers, new schedules, and a new social scene.

So here are the Beyond Bat Mitzvah, tried and true, Teen Survival tips to ease the transition:

Take a Tour - If you're headed to a new school, try to arrange a visit before classes begin. If you have your class schedule already, even better! Visit each of the classrooms and your locker location and plot out your daily commute, i.e how often you’ll need to visit your locker if it’s far from your classroom locations, quickest route, any shortcuts through the gym, etc. That way, when the halls flood with your classmates, and lost underclassmen, you can know exactly where to go if there is a traffic jam. Knowing where the nice, clean bathrooms are is helpful too. 

Pick out your first day outfit – and try the whole ensemble on first (hairstyle to shoes) to make sure it matches, is comfortable to walk around and sit in for long periods of time, and most importantly makes you feel pretty and confident. If you wear a uniform, you might wear a favorite watch, a new hair band, or a piece of jewelry to show your personal style. Then lay it out, accessories and all, the night before the big day, it will shave off a lot of time to avoid the last minute stress of rushing to school, because inevitably your hair will be obnoxious the day of. 

Pack your bag - Some schools distribute supply lists before the year begins, so you can come stocked up on pencils, notepads, change of clothes for P.E. and whatever else you need. Just remember how teachers love to change things up on the first day so don’t overpack; but make sure you did any summer assignments so you’re not shocked at a first day pop quiz! Also pack copies of any paperwork the school office may need, now’s the time to take on the responsibility of being your own best advocate with authority figures (especially when you need to ask them about getting off school for Jewish holidays.) 

Pack healthy snacks (and don’t forget breakfast) - You can't absorb new knowledge without a well-fed mind and body. So take along healthy snacks, like carrot sticks or trail mix, to stave off hunger between classes. The old saying "breakfast is the most important meal of the day" is never more true than when you're going to school. You will be more alert and perform better in class if you eat a good breakfast. With these healthy options starting and fueling your day, you can feel confident in enjoying lunch with your friends wherever they decide to go.

SLEEP! - Studies show that teens need at least 8½ hours of sleep each night to feel rested. Sleep deprivation can make it hard to concentrate in class thereby leading to poor performance and just plain feeling exhausted. I know your summer let you enjoy your natural body clock of sleeping from 2am-12noon but until they change the school hours (trust me, teens have complained about this in every generation) try to get on a healthy sleep schedule for the week. Remember, sleep is the time when your body does its most growing so if you want to see if you can grow a few inches taller, get your shut-eye! Sleep also helps you look better with clearer, less stressed skin, bouncy healthy hair, nice strong fingernails…need  I go on?  

Bring your Smile - School is a time to make friends and try new things, but it's also a place to learn skills like responsibility for self, organization and decision making that will impact and come in handy for the rest of your life. But seriously, try to enjoy and have fun too, make the most of the opportunities you have to learn who you are today and make changes for the future. It’s never too early to start being the person you want to be!

What’s your favorite first day memory? Embarrassing memories work too ;)

About the Author 
Sheena Levi
My family moved a lot so I like to think of myself as an expert on first days at new schools, feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below or email: sheena@levlalev.com, maybe if you ask I'll post of picture of me from my first days of middle or high school; talk about embarrassing!