Is Sderot Blossoming into the Fashion Capital of Israel?

Sabina Stermklar-Davis (sixth from the left) with Sderot?s budding ?fashionistas.?
Sabina Sternklar-Davis (sixth from the left) with Sderot’s budding “fashionistas.”

Sderot, Israel, Dec. 27 – Never mind Tel Aviv – is Sderot the next fashion capital of Israel? At least hundreds of people from southern Israel and beyond think so, after they attended a very different kind of fashion show in Sderot last Thursday night. The show highlighted the creations of a growing number of girls in Sderot who share the same dream – to become the next big thing in Israeli haute couture.

About 45 of these budding “fashionistas” have actually been gathering in Sderot’s community center to learn their craft for more than a year now, thanks to a new initiative by Sabina Sternklar-Davis of New York, who decided a year ago to donate her Bat Mitzvah money – 40,000 shekels – to establish a new fashion design class for girls her age in Sderot.

The inspiration came from a similar class Sabina attends in New York, which was popular with girls her age. “I wanted to give these young people a new creative and fun outlet. Over the past few years I have enjoyed learning how to design and sew clothing. In honor of my Bat Mitzvah, I donated all monetary gifts given to me to set up a fashion design training program for the young women of Sderot and the neighboring southern town, who have been under constant stress and attack from Gazan missiles,” said Sabina. “The program consists of two groups – the first of girls my age who have an interest in learning clothing design and sewing and the second, a group of young women who would like the opportunity to develop a passion they already have into a career. Who knows? Maybe my program will end up training the next top Israeli designer!”

Sabina’s parents, Sarah Sternklar and Marvin Davis, who have been involved in Sderot for years, contacted the staff of UJA – Federation of New York that runs a project for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs called “Give a Mitzvah-Do a Mitzvah,” and decided to donate Sabina’s gifts to help open a fashion design class for girls in Sderot. Through UJA’s assistance, Sabina’s contribution went to the local community center to help open a first-of-its-kind fashion design class offering sewing and design equipment, study manuals and professional instructors.

In Thursday night’s show, the budding designers modeled their own creations, which they had designed and sewed. Joining the guests were Sabina and her family, who traveled from New York especially for the event.