Dressing a mitzvah project
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Dressing a mitzvah project

12-year-old's unique 'lending library'

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Bat mitzvah girls: Darbie Sokolow wants your dresses.

Sokolow, 12, just last week celebrated her becoming a bat mitzvah.

As a chesed project, she is starting a “gemach” – a free lending library – of dresses for girls aged 10 to 14. (Gemach is not a word, but a transliterated acronym for the Hebrew “gemilut chasadim,” or “righteous deeds.”)

“I love fashion,” says Sokolow, explaining why she chose this as a project.

She’s calling her gemach “Darbie’s Dress Shop.”

“I am collecting dresses that girls can wear to a friend’s bat mitzvah or to their own, so they can be so happy and enjoy,” she wrote in the flier she distributed at her school, Moriah Academy, and elsewhere.

She is looking for dresses only in excellent condition.

So far, 17 dresses have been donated.

She hopes to collect at least 50.

In figuring out how to operate a dress lending library, Sokolow has been speaking with a family friend in Israel who operates a dress gemach.

“I asked her, where does she do it, how does she make sure she gets the dresses back? She has a door in the basement for people to walk in and look for dresses. They give $20 for the dress. They must return it in the right condition,” said Sokolow.

“She also told me that they can alter the dress and do whatever they want to it,” she said.

Sokolow said that she – or more likely, her parents – will pick up dresses that are donated. She can be reached at (201) 568-7998. Or you can visit her “Darbie’s Dress Shop” page on Facebook.

“My slogan is, ‘There’s no party without dresses. Darbie’s Dress Shop will donate your beautiful dress to the right address to make another girl smile.'”

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