"Hats off to Life” is a division of the “Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation.” It was founded by Ezra’s cousin, Margi Bijou.
“Be the change you wish to see in the world”
There was nobody who lived by that more than Eddie Abraham.
Eddie was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 16. Shortly after, he originated the "To Life” foundation, by selling green rubber bracelets around his hometown. This act served as a catalyst for what was to come.
While Eddie was undergoing treatment, Margi’s cousin Sherri was planning her son’s Bar Mitzvah, and thus, in search of the perfect green hat. Margi offered her eBay ordering services. And 100 orders, and 100 hats later, the perfect green hat arrived. Then, the day before the Bar Mitzvah, Sherri’s dog, Othello, chewed up the hat. Margi was left at her dining room table, sewing the remnants of Othello’s dinner to a green Kippah, and the problem was solved.
On October 13, 2005, after a 7 year battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma , Ezra “Eddie” Abraham passed on. However, his legacy did not.It was that same year that Margi’s son was getting bar-mitzvahed. So she re-opened those boxes from eBay and stuck one navy vintage hat on her head. Not long after that, Rachel Greenstein was painting Margi’s dining room, when the eBay boxes caught her eye. She too, was planning a bar mitzvah. And so was her cousin Candy. And so were 10 of their friends, who all offered to pay Margi to wear something from her hat collectioThe chain reaction was set into motion when Candy ran around collecting friend’s once-worn hats and throwing them Margi’s way. And she wasn’t the only one. Everyone wanted to be a part of this new “hat-lending” organization. And with that, “Hats Off To Life” was born. The idea was that people would pay to rent a hat for their special occasion, and return it afterward for someone else to wear. But “Hats Off” went beyond that. The demand for headwear was so high, and Margi’s collection grew so great, that it was far too great for one person to handle. And then came Lucy. And Lorraine. And Merle. And as the staff grew so did the clientele. There was no one, and still is no one that does what we do.
At “Hats Off” it’s more than just coordinating headwear. It’s about the experience. Just ask the thousands of woman who have come, and continue to come back, again and again. The beauty of our system is that it is so personal. Each client is allotted at least an hour for their appointment. They come with their dresses, ask our opinions on their outfits, their shoes, their hair and makeup. Our hats are matched specifically to the client’s ensemble; whether they are vintage, new, or custom-made. And everything is the same price. All of “Hats Off’s” proceeds go directly to “The Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation,” whose main goal is to alleviate the stress of those in a hospital setting.
One should never know the dreariness long hospital stays can bring. “The Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation’s” goal is to make sure no one ever has to, by granting “To Life” living rooms in as many hospitals as possible. These rooms consist of TV’s, computers, books and games. They are designed to boost the morale of the patients. Each room is built according to the needs of the youths, and cost about $150,000 to design.
With the funds that were raised from our very successful fashion shows and fund raisers, we were able to make Eddies dream a reality.
In August of 2009, we cut the green ribbon on our first teen “Living Room” located at Monmouth Medical Hospital in New Jersey. Since then, we have completed two more; One in Jersey Shore Medical, and one in the New York City Hospital For Special Surgery.
We are approaching our 10 year anniversary and we continue to be the Number 1 stop for headwear in our community.