06.19.2011 – Bat mitzva girl donates her hair to wig for cancer patient

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
LAST UPDATED: 06/19/2011 23:01

Salon owner calls on anyone with long hair to follow Keren Urzach’s example.

KEREN URZACH lets Eli Ben-Zikri cut her hair.
PHOTO: COURTESY

Keren Urzach, a 12-year-old pupil at Jerusalem’s Evelina de Rothschild School for Girls, had her bat mitzva last week and gave a gift instead of taking one. She went to a wig salon for cancer patients run by Eli Ben-Zikri at Rehovot’s Kaplan Medical Center and donated much of her lovely, straight, light-brown hair, which she had been growing for six years.

The hair will be made into a wig for a 13-year-old girl who is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer and has gone bald.

“I thought about what I could do to donate to somebody for my bat mitzva. I started to make saucers and sell them to make a donation for the needy, but then I thought of my hair.

I asked my father if it was possible, and he went to the Internet.

Then he told me we were going to Rehovot to Eli Ben- Zikri. I was very excited.”

The Rehovot hairdresser, who had cancer in the past, volunteers to make wigs for cancer victims.

Keren’s parents, Stephanie and Shalom, are proud of their daughter, who has been growing her hair long since she was a small girl. They have three sons who are older, and before she was born, they thought they would have another boy.

“But to our joy, it was a girl,” said Shalom, who trains emissaries to summer camps in the US. “Her idea moved us very much, and there is no doubt that one gets much satisfaction from giving.” Keren has already persuaded her best friend to give hair, but it isn’t yet long enough to donate for the purpose.

“This is the beautiful face of Israeli youth,” Ben-Zikri said. “Keren’s initiative is a blessing.

I urge everyone with long hair to come to me at Kaplan and donate it so we can make new wigs for sick adults and children.

There is a great shortage of natural hair,” said the hairdresser, who set up shop two years ago to improve the appearance of cancer patients, calling his initiative PELEH.

The sudden baldness embarrasses and breaks them, said Dr. Noa Ben Baruch of the oncology institute. “They can’t hide it unless they have a wig.”