Brad Chenkis shows off a couple Sonovia masks. (photo from Tikva Housing)
It all began when Boris Chenkis, owner of After Five Fashions, was watching Israel Daily TV (ILTV) and saw an interview with Liat Goldhammer, the chief technology officer of an Israeli startup called Sonovia. She was talking about a new fabric-finishing technology for textile manufacturing developed at Bar-Ilan University, explaining that the technology could repel and kill bacteria located on clothing. Because it was in early January, a few weeks before COVID-19 became a worldwide pandemic, Chenkis just listened with interest.
On ILTV March 18, Dr. Jason Migdal, a microbiology researcher in Israel, discussed how the Sonovia technology mechanically impregnates metal nanoparticles into masks that destroy microorganisms in fabric. This was verified by two independent labs. It was also durable and washable. Now Chenkis was very interested.
With COVID becoming widespread, Sonovia had positively impacted Israeli doctors and health professionals by providing them with the technologically advanced masks. On May 12, Chenkis saw another interview about the Sonovia mask technology on ILTV – and an opportunity to get involved.
During his teenage years, Chenkis lived in Israel, studying and working at Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra. With this connection to Israel that never left his heart, he wanted to support an Israeli startup and so he purchased some masks to keep his family, friends and community safe. Soon after, he received an email from Sonovia, offering him an opportunity to help distribute the masks in Canada. Chenkis said yes. The masks were shipped from Ramat Gan to Vancouver and, within days, he was delivering hundreds to friends and family.
One of those who received the Sonovia mask was Yosef Wosk. Being both pleased and impressed with the technology, Wosk, like Chenkis, saw an opportunity to help not only the community here but also Israel. Wosk wondered how the masks could be made available locally to community members who might not be able to afford them, as they cost $65 each.
Wosk spoke with Shelley Karrel, chair of Tikva Housing, who contacted Tanja Demajo, chief executive officer of Jewish Family Services Vancouver. The need for the masks was confirmed and the shidduch almost complete.
Working with Chenkis’s son, Brad Chenkis, and with Wosk’s help, Tikva has acquired and will distribute 500 masks to residents of Tikva Housing, as well as clients of Jewish Family Services. It’s a win, win and win – tikkun olam, tzedakah and chesed.
For more information about the Sonovia masks, contact Brad Chenkis directly at [email protected].