Vitamin G

Giving makes the grumpiness go away

Woke up in a grumpy mood today? We have a sure-fire cure. Works every time. It’s a one-word recipe: Giving. Ask Shmuel and his wife, Batsheva. They are members of Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life, a  whatsappp network where rides and deliveries  are handled to ease the burden of the ill. It may be a ride to therapy for an elderly patient or procurement of forgotten meds for a Parkinsons patient visiting his children. Perhaps a desperately needed ‘bankie’ for a hospitalized toddler or delivery of blood samples needed asap. Often only seconds elapse before the response comes in from one of the thousands of Linked to Life members: I’m on my way there and can pick it up in ten minutes.  This time it was a woman in desperate need of a walker not available through any of the standard sources. No problem. A few phone calls to friends by Shmuel and Batsheva resulted in enough funds raised to purchase a new walker, perfect for her needs. Note the smile on Shmuel’s face as he hand-delivers it to her door.

Battling cancer with puxxles

Then there is Elad. He has a different name when dealing with Ezer Mizion’s young cancer patients.  He is known as The Puzzle Man. There he is making his way with an immense pile of puzzles. Each child receives his choice and begins to work on it with Elad at his side cheering him on. The challenge takes their mind off the pain and fears they are dealing with and instills a feeling of confidence and accomplishment boosting their image of positivity.   The discipline and patience will spill over into his day by day battle with a monster named Cancer. The puzzle’s triumphant completion acts as a metaphor for the victorious completion of treatment accompanied by the longed-for glorious announcement: REMISSION!

If i can conquer that puzzle, i can conquer cancer, too!

Kofiko’s smile is hidden deep inside his monkey costume. Children know him as a popular entertainer in Israel  and can hardly believe he is sitting right there with them in the hospital room whose walls are now reverberating with squeals and giggles.  

Kofiko loves me!

Along with cancer’s frightening medical repercussions, the dreaded disease brings with it a host of other challenges, and drains families’ physical, emotional and financial resources. The Ezer Mizion Cancer Support Division offers cancer patients and their families comfort, love and support, as well as an array of services tailored to meet their unique needs: Oranit, Ezer Mizion’s guest home for children with cancer and their families, is a beautiful home away from home for families battling the dreaded illness“Mikol Halev”: From the Heart provides sick children with VIP visitors, parties, entertainers, gifts, computers, and games, and coordinates unique summer and winter retreats for cancer patients and their families.

Fun, fun and more fun! A powerful tool in fighting disease!

Vitamin G – Giving – one tablet a day puts a smile not only on the recipient’s face but erases grumpiness and brings joy to the giver, too.

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Caring for the Aged

Guided Cognitive Activity Caregivers Training Program
Ezer Mizion’s Geriatric Division’s goal is to provide optimal service to aging care recipients while giving caregivers
additional tools which improve elder care provision and ensure optimal well-being of the seniors.
The challenges of aging and neurodegenerative diseases are well known and widely discussed as they become an
increasingly prevalent and significant social and economic issue.
Aging is usually related to decline and losses of various kinds. While there are several pharmacological agents
available which are known to play an important role in memory preservation, compliance with these protocols can
bear possible serious adverse effects. Thus, the most promising avenues of intervention now lie in prevention. In
this perspective, nutrition, physical activities, social interactions, and cognitive activities practiced by the elderly
are currently principal domains of interest and research and have proven to be highly successful in improving and
maintaining function levels and improving quality of life.
The goal of this specific project is the promotion of cognitive stimulation among the elderly, which will hopefully
play an active role in the preservation of memory and active cognitive function well in to old age.
The project is facilitated by hired caregivers who are employed by Ezer Mizion in the homes of the elderly. Many of the elderly are homebound and have minimal physical and cognitive stimulation. Caregivers of the elderly who are
interested in enriching their toolbox and broadening their ability for richer interaction with their aging clients, have
been chosen to participate in this exciting Ezer Mizion caregiver training course.
The course introduces approaches for cognitive stimulation through simple, fun activities that the caregiver does
with the elderly client at home, using art, crafts and game mediums that are readily available. Techniques for
encouraging involvement by the senior are taught and modeled by geriatric professionals from the Ezer Mizion
team.
Because cognitive decline is a natural part of the aging process, there’s a lot of benefit to cognitive stimulation
activities for elders such as like crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, word and card games, and other games, which
can help older people retain as much cognitive function as possible, assist in memory retention, attention, abstract
reasoning and problem solving. These functions, along with the social exposure that the training brings, enhances
self-esteem both for the caregiver as well as for the elderly client, making it a win-win project.
The training syllabus is delivered at three intense theoretic and hands-on sessions and is followed by professional
supervision in the home of the senior, with enrichment meetings for all the caregivers once every quarter annually,
to further enhance their skills.
The pilot version was done at Ezer Mizion’s Herzlia division and is currently being replicated at 14 different Ezer
Mizion service centers throughout Israel (Netanya, Kfar Sabba, Petach Tikvah, Bnei Brak, Tel Aviv, Holon, Bat Yam,
Ramat Gan, Givatayim, Ashdod, Rehovot, Lod, Modiin Ilit, Rishon Lezion).
This project has been made possible by a generous donation from Alex & Rosa Dembitzer, for whom support of the
elderly and the struggle with dementia, is a cause that is dear to their hearts. Ezer Mizion projects serving both
dementia patients and their caregivers have received the warm support of the extended Dembitzer-Fried family
through this project and other important initiatives.
Inter-generational Outings for the Elderly
An additional project that has merited the Dembitzer Family’s kind attention and support is Ezer
Mizion’s plan to promote inter-generational interaction, stimulating connection of grandchildren to their
grandparents by arranging for them to share a mutually exciting field day together.
The first of these outings is scheduled to take place in another three weeks and will bring together the
elderly grandparents, their adult children and their grandchildren. The outings will be arranged by Ezer
Mizion professional staff, after identifying families that would benefit the most from such an
opportunity. Ezer Mizion volunteers will also be part of the outing group and assist in facilitating
technical aspects of the outing.
The project is beginning as a pilot with several families going out separately to specific venues with preplanned shared activities. The outcomes will be assessed in order to evaluate the projects further phases
and ensure its strongest impact on the elderly through the strengthening of their bond with their children and grandchildren.

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Meron 2022

Preparations for Lag B’Omer are going full speed ahead.

Keeping everyone safe on Lag B’Omer at Meron

70(!!!!) Ezer Mizion male staff members are on site. The logistics are huge.  Ambulance drivers,  transport escorts, technical setup and management staff. Roles have been assigned and preparatory meetings were held. Included in the tasks are staff members in charge of collaboration with the police and local authorities, synchronization with others in the field at Meron,  protocol for varied situations: the expected and chas v’shalom the unexpected. Two huge tents are set up for use of the tireless Ezer Mizion team – one for sleeping and one for a kitchen and dining hall, plus toilet facilities – everything with lighting and A/C.

Ambulance transport for mobility impaired people up and down the mountain is a major undertaking synchronized via an Ezer Mizion Command Center trailer with a full IT setup and with computerized map displays of the entire Meron area. The trailer has its own AC and generator and its own land-line phone system for coordinating the trips  to and from the ziyon of Rabbi Shimon and the entire team.

Helping the elderly, the disabled, the weak up the mountain at Meron

Last year the cell phones all crashed, and Ezer Mizion was the only communication source, via our land lines. We gave one of our land-lines to Hazalah for their vital work. (The police were the only ones that had mobile phone communication when the cell phone systems were down last year, which they do via satellite).

By request from the police, we have one ambulance in Meron since Sunday when it did 42 runs in one day, taking elderly, seriously ill and mobility impaired people up and down the mountain (84 trips…) to daven at Rabi Shimon’s kever, a small hint of what is yet to come on the big day itself.

May all the tefillos be well received. May everyone who visited Meron return inspired, encouraged, empowered, uplifted, safe and sound.

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Because of You!

Because of your generosity, many lives were saved this past month – more than one a day!

Donor Pool NameApril 2022 TransplantsTotal Transplants
S. Adelsberg & Co.16
Eitan & Jessica Barak Family12
Boeing CompanyBoeing Company130
René & Susanne Braginsky19
Brazil Community2241
Caesarea Community12
Alan Cohen197
Damaghi Family1130
David & Sara Farajun2164
David & Judy Hager136
Hole In One1111

Jewish Bone Marrow Testing Fund
271
Ephraim & Sara Kriel14
Leora Kuhillow117
LA Young Professionals11
Los Angeles Community38
Yechiel & Odelia Radozki13
Ira & Ingeborg Rennert1195
Dudu & Chagit Saada12
Mark & Barbara Silber18
Stu’s19
Moshe & Lillian Tabacinic16
Teaneck, Bergenfield, New Milford Community22
Patricia Weinstock14
Marjorie & Arnold Ziff16
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We’re Proud of You, Rina!

As Director of the Geriatric Surgery Department at Emek Medical Center in Afula, Rina Cohen’s days are full. Her side position in the Oncology Department accompanying, treating and supporting women undergoing  treatment for breast cancer fills up any empty spaces in a very long day. But Rina’s compassion doesn’t allow her to stop there. Using her extensive medical knowledge combined with her sensitivity, she volunteers to escort Ezer Mizion stem cell donors who are anxious to save a life but understandably apprehensive regarding the process.

Rina was chosen as an outstanding contributor to the city of Afula and has been awarded the Annual Afula Citizen Prize in recognition of her work. No doubt the best choice – Rina, we are proud  that you are part of the Ezer Mizion family!

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He Who Orchestrates the Footsteps of Man

The home was permeated with sadness and the tears didn’t stop. A young father passed away, leaving a helpless widow to bring up her babies alone. Little Shmuly* would learn to read from a siddur and there would be no father to look on in pride. Bar Mitzvah’s, weddings with no smiling father at the head table.  They searched desperately for a wisp of straw to hold onto. Something to give them a bit of comfort in their devastation. A family project for the elevation of his soul. A chessed to help others. Something that would save lives so that other families will not have to undergo such shattering pain. A decision was made and money was raised to purchase a much-needed defibrillator for an Ezer Mizion ambulance. The money was raised through generous donors, the paperwork taken care of, the defibrillator purchased and the file closed. 

But the Heavenly file is never closed and He orchestrates every one of our steps. And so the story unfolds. Last week Nuta, an Ezer Mizion ambulance driver went on his daily rounds using the ambulance with the defibrillator purchased for the elevation of the soul of the young father. With list in hand, he stopped at the first noted address to bring a woman to the clinic for medical treatment.  A standard, routine assignment. Wheel her into the ambulance, strap the wheelchair securely.  Suddenly the assignment was no longer routine. “Urgent! Urgent!” His Hatzalah beeper beeped. “Cardiac arrest! Urgent! Urgent! Go to Rechov xxx Number xxx.”   “ Go to??? That’s where I am!” Instructing the family to remain with the patient in the ambulance, he grabbed the defibrillator and raced upstairs. Seconds later there he was desperately working to save a life.

At the first possible moment, this powerful story of divine orchestration of the footsteps of man was relayed to the family of the deceased. Its impact became even more compelling as the story unfolds further. “You mean to say it happened today?! Today???!  I can’t begin to tell you what this means to us. We…we…we have been crying all day. Today is his birthday. So many memories. He was such a good father.  Such a good man. We talked of all the birthday presents we had given him. How appreciative he had been. And now, it seems, Hashem has sent us a birthday gift.” One by one, the tear-stained faces began to smile.

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Nothing in Your Life

Mordechai Shapiro releases a music video for “Nothing in Your Life,” by Abie Rotenburg

Mordechai Shapiro’s latest music video release began months ago, when Abie Rotenburg composed a heartwarming song about the impact of kindness. “Nothing in Your Life” is inspired by the myriads of chessed in our communities — and emphasizes the value of dedicating yourself to help others.

When the team at Ezer Mizion heard a demo track of the song, they knew it was a perfect fit. “Every line talks echoes what Ezer Mizion is here for,” the team explained. “We’re here to help as many Jews as we can.”

Filming the music video is what veteran singer Mordechai Shapiro describes as, “One of the most powerful experiences of my life.” During the shoot, real-life bone marrow donors meet with the recipients of their kindness.

“It was humbling to see first-hand how my small action made such a difference for someone,” one of the donors shared. He had swabbed at a community drive, on a whim, and was shocked when he got the call.

“You’re a match,” Ezer Mizion said. And with that simple action, the man saved another’s life.

“The song is right,” he said. “I don’t think anything I’ve done in my life matches up to this — the chance to save someone’s life.”

SHARE A PIECE OF YOUR HEART: Ezer Mizion, the world’s largest Jewish Bone Marrow Registry, has saved thousands of lives to date. You can save another. Join the registry or sponsor a match at ezermizion.org.

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Swabbing for Miri

A bone marrow transplant can save the life of eight year old Miri

She is only eight years old. Her parent try to smile when she talks of what she wants to be when she grows up. But it’s so hard.  You see, Miri is not well and only a bone marrow transplant can save her life. To be successful, a genetically matching donor must be found. With the transplant, Miri will someday become a Mommy. Her children will, in turn, mature and produce grandchildren for Miri –  generations…eternity. But without the transplant, …

Ezer Mizion, the largest Jewish registry worldwide has saved the lives of so many around the globe. A drive was recently held in NY and NJ where thousands made their way, in the rain, in the cold, to the Ezer Mizion stations in order to ‘Swab for Miri’. As the drive progressed, Ezer Mizion received requests from more precious members of the Jewish nation – two in Flatbush, two in Lakewood, one in Buffalo – who were desperately waiting in hope and prayer for the genetic match that will mean Life.

Jews rallied. Busy mothers maneuvering the crowds with double strollers. Fathers trekking to the stations late at night after Evening Prayers. In twos and in threes. Another and another and another. Thousands!  Closing time came and went, virtually ignored.    How could we close when more people, so very tired after a long day, were detouring away from a relaxing cup of coffee in a warm home? Instead they were heading toward the still bustling stations to save the life of another!

A woman arrived with two babies in tow. “I never go anywhere,” she told us. “No weddings, no shopping. Nothing. I have a cancer patient at home. I don’t even have the time for basic housework. But for this? To help save a life? For this I just had to come!” “Yes!” we thought to ourselves. “You really understand. The pain. The fear. That tiny glimmer of hope that, at times, seems all but extinguished. A dying spark until Ezer Mizion arrives to fan it into a flame of faith.

Founded in 1998, Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Registry, is the largest Jewish registry worldwide and has saved the lives of 4,293 patients whose sole chance of survival had been a transplant.  Three hundred and ninety-four lives were saved in 2021 alone, more than one per day! Several years ago, Ezer Mizion opened its Stem Cell Harvesting Center, one of the first centers in the world to operate outside a hospital. A full medical staff operates at the Center, including a doctor, nurses, medical technicians, and a Clinic Director, operating according to the strict guidelines and regulations of World Marrow Donors Association (WMDA), which guarantee the quality of the stem cells and ensure the highest standards of performance.

The Registry now numbers 1,130,526 potential donors ready and anxious to donate their stem cells to save a life. It is our fervent prayer that among the many new swabs taken, some will emerge to be perfect match for each of these Yidden and all those around the globe for whom a transplant will mean a Future. 

To view heartwarming video of transplants entitled Nothing in Your Life:  www.ezermizion.org

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Because of You!

Life-saving stem cell transplant
Lifesaving stem cell transplant

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Giving Wherever There Is a Need

Giving on Wheels

Some people put their lives into neat little compartments. Nine to five on weekdays is work… Tuesdays from 7-9 is chessed (giving)…Mondays and Wednesdays…Avrohom is not one of those people.  Together with his family, he delivers hot meals to families dealing with serious illness. Yes he has set times to do it but it doesn’t stop there.  Chessed permeates his every hour. Avrohom drive a bus during his 9-5 work hours but he is not an ordinary driver and his bus is not an ordinary bus. With the permission of his boss,  Avrohom’s bus sports a large sign notifying families in need of help in transporting food packages, meds, personal items – anything to make the life of a sick person easier – from one bus stop to another. And, like any businessperson, he is happiest when lots of “customers” use his services. Avraham we are so proud that you are part of the Ezer Mizion family!!!

Giving underlies every service provided by Ezer Mizion whether it is alleviating the stress of illness, working with a special child or the mentally ill. Many services ease the predicament of the lonely holocaust survivor such as the One Wish program which seeks to strengthen the elderly’s fast receding sense of self.

Like Aspir. She is originally from Ukraine and immigrated to Israel with her brother. Neither one remarried. They are the sole survivors of their family with no future generations to ease their loneliness and the pain of growing old. No children to erase the feeling of helplessness and no grandchildren to give them an identity. She had lived in Israel since World War ll but her childhood roots remained in Ukraine. She longed to connect once again. And so, in barely a whisper, she responded to the ‘What is Your Wish’ question: If at all possible…do you think you could…I heard there is a museum. I forgot what it’s called.  They talk about Ukraine about, you know, about what happened. Maybe I could find something about my home town…the streets… the people….?

Re-living her child in pre-holocaust Ukraine

What a wonderful day it was at Yad v’shem, a day of closure for the lonely golden-ager. The soft smile remained on her lips, accompanying her into her dreams that night. Another wish fulfilled by Ezer Mizion’s Golden Age Program bringing a feeling of identity to so many whose self-image has been gradually becoming nothing more than a room number.

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