During the long, lonely years when Tzivia Hendelsman was a young divorcée, she had no idea that her challenges were planting the seeds of what would become her life’s mission.
Tzivia had a brief, untenable marriage, then divorced. It took over a decade of dating and disappointments before she remarried.
“I learned a lot during those years,” she says. “Intense inner work, speaking with mentors, and many heartfelt tefillos led me to skills and mindsets that strengthened me and helped me during the dating process.”
During that time, she became a life coach, and took several counseling courses. She started helping woman clarify their goals — and find the inner resources to reach them. When she got remarried at the age of thirty-four, a lot of older singles reached out to her, both professionally and personally.
“I realized I could give them the support I wished I’d had during my single years.” She began focusing her practice on older singles and young divorcées.
When she saw an ad for Temech networking groups, she jumped at the opportunity. “I’ve been part of several networking groups in Temech, and each one gave me something else,” she shares. “Building a business and promoting yourself requires a lot of emotional energy, and the groups energize you. When you see others dealing with the same issues you are, it’s so validating.
There’s another aspect. “Working alone can be very lonely, particularly if you work in the therapeutic realm where absolute confidentiality is crucial. Every time I came to a Temech group, I felt like it was filling my need for social connection.”
Tzivia’s business grew. Some girls came for just a session or two, wanting a fresh, professional perspective. Others came for the long haul. “Some girls, usually those who don’t have a supportive family, want me to hold their hands throughout. I accompany them up until the chuppah. At their weddings, I almost feel like I’m marrying off a child.”
When Tzivia started out, she was working from home. Eventually, that became impossible. Most of her clients worked during the day, and wanted to meet during evening hours. “My house wasn’t quiet enough for sessions, and it was starting to feel unprofessional.”
Temech provided the solution.
“The Temech Hub has offices you can rent, and I’ve been working out of there for the past three years. My clients like coming there. The location is central, the offices are nicely furnished with comfortable couches, and the vibe of the Hub is upbeat.”
Tzivia finds that clients often work on one area in their lives, and the changes they make impact other spheres as well. “One girl came because she couldn’t figure out what she wanted to do professionally, and was debating between a few potential courses. I discovered that she was extremely artistic. We explored options, and she realized that she’d like to create hair accessories. She started with basic supplies and scraps of fabric, and within four months, had launched a growing business along with a website.
“She was dating someone at the same time, and the clarity she got about her strengths and needs helped her realize she wanted to marry this boy. She got engaged shortly afterward.”
Similarly, Tzivia’s connection with Temech morphed from networking groups to office rental, and she’s currently part of their “Imahot Yozmot,” incubator, a program that, in conjunction with the Jerusalem Municipality, gives mothers the tools to spearhead educational initiatives.
“Over the years, I’ve seen how thirsty people are for compliments,” she says. “We need to hear kind words both from others and from ourselves.” To that end, she’s created a game — available in Hebrew, English, and Yiddish — that includes three types of cards. The first is fill-in-the-blank compliments: “I appreciate that you_______,” or “You get so much credit for ________.”
The second is pats on the back you give yourself: “I’m role model for _________” “I’m dealing courageously with_______.”
And the third is fun getting-to-know-you questions: “My favorite color,” “A historical figure I admire.”
She’s been supported, and she offers others support. And now Tzivia will extend the ripples of support ever further.