Besides being interviewed by CBC radio, there was also media coverage from the following: Associated Press, Austrian Broadcasting, Reuters, Barbara Sofer (JPost) and this evening a Swiss/German freelance journalist on this issue. Wow. Bring em on! Bz"H more coverage for wonderful, tolerant Israel, for womens rights to wear what they want, and hopefully for more sales for MarSea Modest:)
CBC RADIO - AS IT HAPPENS: http://www.cbc.ca/1.3726807
ASSOCIATED PRESS (DANIELLA CHESLOW):
ORF - AUSTRIAN BROADCASTING CORP (DR. BEN SEGENREICH) (IN GERMAN)
http://tvthek.orf.at/program/ZIB-2/1211/ZIB-2/13604165 (Scroll down to the item where you can see the word "Tel Aviv" - Click this item, then click the word "abspielen")
JPOST - BARBARA SOFER - THE HUMAN SPIRIT
HAARETZ - RUTH PEARL
MarSea Modest Swim & Casualwear www.MarSeaModest.com
Protesters demonstrate against France’s ban of the burkini, outside the French Embassy in London on August 25.(Photo by: REUTERS)
The Human Spirit: Waving a bathing suit as a flag of freedom
By BARBARA SOFER
Pundits, please step aside and let us figure out how we want to swim.
Here I am on the Adriatic seashore of Italy, the very beachfront where the bikini was long ago banned.
That’s right, bikini, not burkini, when it was designed seven decades ago.
I first read about the 70th anniversary of the bikini in the AARP’s magazine for folks over 50, but with the burkini ban in France creating headlines everywhere, the history of this popular swimsuit is getting a lot of exposure. Ironically, public figures and journalists – many of them men – wave either burkinis or bikinis as new flags in a cause célèbre.
Who invented the bikini? The two modern contenders are both Frenchmen.
It seems that in 1932, Jacques Heim, a Jewish designer who got his start in his parents’ fur business, designed a two-piece suit with bloomers and ruffles, but French women weren’t daring enough to wear it. He relaunched it in 1946, and hired skywriters to advertise.
Louis Réard, a mechanical engineer who took over his mother’s lingerie business in about 1940, created a similar suit. Heim called his “the Atome,” Reard called his “bikini,” for the atoll in the Marshall Islands where the United States tested hydrogen bombs beginning in 1946. Although Réard is more often referenced as the inventor, Heim managed to survive World War II in Nazi-occupied France, and went on to create a sportswear company whose customers included Sophia Loren and Mamie Eisenhower.
IRONICALLY, IT is here on the Adriatic beach, where I spend an annual summer retreat, that I have admired the seeming lack of self-consciousness with which the women wear bikinis.
The beach is peopled by families, not divas, and you’ll see grandmothers strolling, moms with toddlers on their hips, young women tossing beach balls in the waves – all wearing bikinis. Peddlers cross the sand with racks of bargain bikinis in all sizes, and customers buy without trying them on.
I contrast this astonishing ease with my experience both in my American childhood and adulthood in Israel to women hating bathing suit shopping.
According to an academic study on college students quoted in the magazine Self, these young women felt anxious and depressed about trying on bathing suits. Indeed, when I once wrote about Israeli bathing suit pioneer Gottex, I heard that even supermodels disliked trying on bathing suits.
When the late Leah Gottlieb, founder of Gottex, saw Israeli women wearing cotton suits in Tel Aviv, she used her experience with more amenable fabrics from the family raincoat business in Hungary to create more comfortable and attractive garb.
The story echoes that of Australian prize-winning swimmer Annette Kellermann who invented the modern one-piece suit. She was arrested for indecency in 1907 on Revere Beach, Massachusetts.
WHICH BRINGS us to the burkini, which was banned on a number of French beaches this summer.
In a fascinating interview in the Guardian, purported burkini-inventor Ahada Zanetti, also Australian, said she created this suit in 2004 so that her niece could play netball. Zanetti was worried that members of her community would object to the relatively form-fitting suit. Said Zanetti: “I looked at the veil and took away a lot of the excess fabric, which made me nervous – would my Islamic community accept this? The veil is supposed to cover your hair and your shape, you just don’t shape anything around your body. But this was shaped around the neck. I thought, it’s only the shape of a neck, it doesn’t really matter.”
To her, the garment “symbolizes leisure and happiness and fun and fitness and health and now they are demanding women get off the beach and back into their kitchens?” Last week, France’s high court suspended the ban, saying it “seriously and clearly illegally breached the fundamental freedoms to come and go, the freedom of beliefs and individual freedom.”
In Israel, modest women’s swimwear was first designed by Canadian immigrant Marci Rapp (profiled in these pages when both she and her son donated a kidney to save the lives of strangers) to provide the many women who cover their elbows and knees in public, with an option for the water. Her company, MarSea, offers a variety of designs – some close to wet suits and others that are water dresses.
Last month, I spent a summer morning at the beach in Herzliya near the upscale Arena Mall. Dozens of women in new burkinis are near me. Some have created their own style, half burkini, half tight jeans. A few Jewish women are wearing modest suits, either MarSea’s or one of many companies that now compete in this market. Mostly, the young women are wearing new trendy bikinis. Knowing how hard bathing suit shopping is for us non-Italians, I wonder how long it has taken them to choose those bathing suits and if they feel good. Self-image is a struggle. It’s hard to know in this world who chooses and who yields to pressure: self-inflicted, spousal, religious or governmental.
Pundits, please step aside and let us figure out how we want to swim.
I was just interviewed on CBC radio about the burkini-modest swimwear issue ..
Listen to the interview here: http://www.cbc.ca/1.3726807
No government should tell a woman what she can or cannot wear.
Women choose to cover not only for religious reasons (Jewish, Muslim and Christian) but also for sun-protection, to cover medical scarring, to hide weight gain, or perhaps just for personal modesty.
In Israel women are free to wear a bikini, burkini, or any other form of modest swimwear at a pool or the beach (as long as its swimwear fabric).
MarSea Modest also makes sun-safe modest swimwear for women with many choices of styles, necklines, skirt length, sleeve length, pants length.
We (at MarSea Modest) have been manufacturing modest swimwear for 7 seasons and our styles have grown to over 30 along with demand. We also dont dictate what modesty means - we let women choose how they want to cover (our slogan is "cover what you want...in style!) www.MarSeaModest.com
The Human Spirit: A kidney just like mom'sJan. 31, 2013
Barbara Sofer , THE JERUSALEM POST
For some people, the satisfaction of saving a life is so great that, having given up a kidney, they spend their time encouraging others to do the same.
You decide to give a kidney to a stranger – not the average person's decision.
Donors have extra measures of goodness and guts. The process is challenging. You can't be overweight. You have to undergo tedious tests. You have to convince a committee that you're emotionally stable. And then there's the surgery, and the fear of living with only one kidney. Still, for some of these extraordinary persons, the satisfaction of saving a life is so great that, having given up a kidney, they spend their time encouraging others to do the same. But what if your own son, a young father, decides to be one of your volunteers? Would you encourage him to endanger himself? Such was the recent dilemma of Jerusalemite Marci Rapp. A t 57 , she'd given away her own kidney.
Now her son Gershon, 24, wanted to give away his.
"Although I knew the risks were relatively small – after all, I'd gone through it myself – I was worried," says Marci. "I wasn't sure if he really knew what he was getting into. I'm not sure I did, either – only that I wanted to do it because I knew it was a mitzva."
Gershon says he'd been considering a donation even before his mom. "I'd actually thought of it when I was 19 and a yeshiva student," he says. "When I first thought of it, I was studying in Israel and heard about someone in America who needed a kidney. The logistics defeated me. But the idea stayed with me: thinking of people on dialysis whose lives would be saved with a kidney. There are more than 700 men and women waiting for a transplant in Israel. The alternative to transplant is dialysis, which doesn't fulfill all the functions of the kidney, such as the production of hormones. Many patients – some estimates say 20 percent – die while waiting for a kidney."
When he told his mother his plans, she was proud but still concerned. Her own donation in 2011 had gone smoothly. She had given her kidney to a younger woman with severe kidney disease. "It felt like giving birth to give someone life," says Marci, a mother of four who runs a successful business creating and marketing the Mar-Sea brand of modest bathing suits.
She had, of course, read the oftenquoted long-term study published in the 2009 New England Journal of Medicine, which says that kidney donors have normal life spans and actually have fewer kidney problems than the general population because of the careful screening of potential donors.
Still, surgery was surgery, with the possibility of bleeding and infection.
Gershon was married and had a young child.
She also worried that Gershon, a website designer, would lose his capacity to earn a living during the recovery, and she knew he needed the money. "The Israeli government compensates you for time lost during the actual donation and recuperation period, but you lose time from work and family before surgery and during the testing period as well," she says.
But Gershon was encouraged by his mother's example of giving and her good recovery. "I saw that my mother came through the surgery easily, and I'm younger and fitter," he says. "If she could do it, why couldn't I?" ALTHOUGH HIS wife, Sara, was concerned about having sole responsibility during his recovery, she was supportive of him doing this mitzva.
Spousal approval and support is required for donors. "She, too, had seen my mother's rapid recovery, and the thought of us being able to save another life is very powerful," says Gershon. And it was Sara who suggested that her husband was making a gesture to pay back God for the close calls he'd survived.
At age nine, growing up in Canada, he was hit by a car. When he was 17, while volunteering as a counselor in a Beit She'an summer camp during the Second Lebanon War, he and his campers came under Katyusha rocket fire. The rockets fell in a circle around them. No one was hurt.
And then came the joyous day of July 23, 2008, when his parents were joining him and his two brothers by making aliya. Serving in the IDF's Nahal Haredi, Gershon got permission to leave his unit to surprise them in Jerusalem. He was on a No. 13 bus in the city when a bulldozer crashed into it. At first he thought it was an accident, but soon realized it was a terror attack. He jumped off the bus and cocked his gun to shoot the terrorist.
A border policeman hit first. Gershon was slightly wounded. He woke his newly arrived parents to tell them their son had been in a terror attack on their first day in Israel. Like all altruistic kidney donors, he had to undergo a medical work-up: blood pressure checks, lab exams, Xrays and an EKG. In addition to kidney function, he had to be tested for liver function, lung disease and past exposure to viral illness. He breezed through it all, as well as the grilling to weed out donors with psychological problems or ulterior motives. He was called in January. He and the recipient, about whom he won't give details, arrived at Petah Tikva's Rabin Medical Center - Beilinson Campus. The surgeon – not the same as his mom's – made a series of small slits in his abdomen to insert laparoscopic instruments with a miniature camera. Once the kidney dissection was complete, a kidney was lifted out through a larger slit. Everything was stitched up.
A few days after surgery, he was feeling "pretty good, a little tired and achy, but not more."
He doesn't call his mother and compare post-operational symptoms. "My mother felt sick and nauseous after her surgery, but I was able to get up and walk around right away," he says. "For someone young and healthy, it's not a hard operation."
His only frustration is an inability to pick up 11-month-old daughter Ayelet until he's fully healed. Grandma Marci, full of pride and gratitude, is happy to help with that.