From Our Files

Dear amazing Ezer Mizion family!

I’ll never forget that moment. I was in the middle of an important call with a serious client. Dozens of calls from a number I didn’t recognize kept interrupting with annoying beeps. Finally, I had no choice but to apologize and take the other call. In the background, I could hear sirens and shouts. My son’s friend screamed into the receiver, “Yoni was hurt in an accident and they’re taking him to Hadassah!”

I ran down six floors on foot, stopped a taxi and zoomed to Hadassah Hospital. I got there together with the ambulance. Yoni was wheeled directly into the operating room, with serious injuries to his extremities, damage to internal organs, and hemorrhaging in his brain. The doctors didn’t give him a chance. I summoned my wife and the whole family. We stood for hours next to the operating room, praying and organizing prayers for his recovery. And then you came, with hot food and kind, encouraging words. That was our first encounter, and since then, we’ve been meeting every day.

Two months of prayer and nine operations are behind us; sixty days during which we sat in shifts at his bedside, hoping for a miracle. Our home was on the verge of crumbling. I’d hardly stepped foot in my workplace. My wife had barely stepped foot at home. The other kids were miserable. And then, against all odds, Yoni woke up. It took a few more difficult weeks full of medication until we got to rehab. Thank G-d, now we have been there for five months, in a process of treatments and therapies to restore Yoni’s walking ability and movement in his hands.

We owe Yoni’s progress to your ambulance network and the devoted volunteers who escort us to treatments, provide hot meals, treats and trips for the kids,  relieve us for a few hours, and help Yoni with his difficult and painful exercises. I cannot imagine what would have happened without your amazing service, given free of charge. I couldn’t possibly have financed an ambulance trip back and forth three times a week, and without that — what would have been with Yoni’s legs?

Meanwhile, we put aside ten shekels for each trip we took with you (during such difficult times, even such a minor amount is not easy to come by) and the sum came to 1,200 shekels (attached), which means that we went on 216 trips in your ambulances!

I am deeply moved just thinking of how much you saved us during those difficult days. Tizku l’mitzvos! May you merit more mitzvos!

With appreciation and admiration,

E. Stern and the whole family

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From the Ezer Mizion Files

Dear amazing Ezer Mizion family!

I’ll never forget that moment. I was in the middle of an important call with a serious client. Dozens of calls from a number I didn’t recognize kept interrupting with annoying beeps. Finally, I had no choice but to apologize and take the other call. In the background, I could hear sirens and shouts. My son’s friend screamed into the receiver, “Yoni was hurt in an accident and they’re taking him to Hadassah!”

I ran down six floors on foot, stopped a taxi and zoomed to Hadassah Hospital. I got there together with the ambulance. Yoni was wheeled directly into the operating room, with serious injuries to his extremities, damage to internal organs, and hemorrhaging in his brain. The doctors didn’t give him a chance. I summoned my wife and the whole family. We stood for hours next to the operating room, praying and organizing prayers for his recovery. And then you came, with hot food and kind, encouraging words. That was our first encounter, and since then, we’ve been meeting every day.

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We’re there When It Hurts – Now in Teveria

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People have problems and Teveria is no exception. Until now, residents have been serviced by the Ezer MIzion Haifa branch but now, thanks to the Ohana family, Teveria will have its own branch. Representatives of the Ohana family spoke in the course of the Inauguration event and elaborated on the tremendous importance of opening additional branches of Ezer Mizion throughout the country. “When Ima passed away, we had no doubt that the best way to eternalize her memory would be through a respected organization like Ezer Mizion. Ezer Mizion is there for those who need it and we are certain that there is no greater merit for Ima than the establishment of a branch here in the city.”

The new branch will provide support to patients and their families via a broad range of services, including ambulances, volunteer drivers, meals, loan of medical equipment, volunteering, light household help for families of patients, after-school clubs for special-needs children, and more.

Varied services for the ill and disabled have been an integral part of Ezer Mizion’s programs since its inception in 1979. Listen to some comments from Ezer Mizion staff and volunteers and share our pride in the accomplishments that you, our friends and supporters, made happen:

“I got a call from a woman crying so hysterically that I could hardly make out what she was saying. The next day I got a call from the same woman full of smiles and effusive thanks. ‘I married off my son last night. My mother has been waiting for this day for over twenty years. It was unthinkable that she would not attend. We thought we could manage the wheelchair but on the night of the wedding we saw how impossible it was. We struggled. We cried. My mother cried. We were about to give up when someone suggested calling Ezer Mizion. In moments, there you were at our doorstep. Like a knight in shining armor. My mother traveled in comfort and dignity in your ambulance set up for the mobility impaired. When she alighted, she was glowing with joy as the revered Bubby of the chosson.’ “

And this one – an emotional call from a volunteer right after he dropped off a hot meal for a cancer patient who would find it too difficult to prepare food for himself: “I can’t believe it. Till this second, I am still stunned and in shock. The man poured his heart out to me and said, ‘This cancer caught me. I don’t have food. This – this is all my food to this day. My money is all used up. There’s no money left.’ ” (Of course, appropriate Ezer Mizion departments got right on the case.)

The festive inauguration  and affixing of the mezuzah of the new Teveria branch was attended by Hagaon Rav A.D. Auerbach shlita;Ezer Mizion International Chairman Rabbi Chananya Chollak; Commission Chairman Boaz Yosef; Chairman of the Religious Council in Teverya, Yaakov Shitrit; Director of Social Services in Teverya, Rivka Ben Elisha; and Yossi Navah, Director of Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes Institutions. Also in attendance were Kobi Ben Akiva, NCO commander of the Chareidi sector; Shlomo Tausky, coordinator of Linked to Life Northern Region; and many, many public figures, social activists, volunteers, and residents of the city.

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Solving Problems One by One

When things go smooth, we tend to forget that it may not be the norm everywhere.  Should we move to a different location, our expectations may be in for a shock. A man recovering from a broken leg is released from the hospital to complete his recuperation at home. He is given the necessary equipment upon his release. Of course. How else can he manage?! It wouldn’t occur to us to think differently. Unless we move to another country. In Israel, the released patient is accompanied with – nothing. He is on his own. Insurance will cover certain items but the roll of red tape is l-o-o-o-o-ng. If he is unable to purchase or borrow, what is he to do?

Ezer Mizion, the answer to so many problems, maintains a Service Hub in many hospitals. A family member can stop by and a friendly, trained rep will provide him with what is needed at no cost until he has recuperated or the insurance sends a replacement. Medical advice is also available at the Hub through the Ezer Mizion Medical Referral Division. At the Hub, he can discuss obtaining a home aide from Ezer Mizion’s Home Attendant Division. Should he need transportation that will accommodate mobility challenges, that, too, can be arranged at the Hub through Ezer Mizion’s Transportation Division. Ezer Mizion Linked to Life Division will arrange rides for family members to visit him while he is hospitalized. Do the family members require meals while they are at his bedside? A quick stop at the Service Hub can have that arranged via Ezer Mizion’s Food Division. Is the family worn out and in need of volunteers to take over shifts at the hospital? This also will be taken care of at the Service Hub. In short, the Hub is the liaison between the bewildered, exhausted, often helpless family and Ezer Mizion’s many services.

Recently Ezer Mizion’s Modi’in Ilit branch coordinated the inauguration of Ezer Mizion’s Service Hub at the Shamir – Assaf Harofeh Hospital to serve patients and their families.

The event took place in the plaza near the hospital’s Emergency Room, with the participation of Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau shlita, Ezer Mizion International Chairman Chananya Chollak, Hospital Director Dr. Osnat Lev-Zion Korach, hospital department heads, medical and administrative staff, and directors of other Ezer Mizion branches and services.

Stirring speeches were delivered. Everyone wished Ezer Mizion’s Modi’in Ilit Branch administrators much success with the project and congratulated the trained volunteers. Wishes were expressed for additional collaborations in the future and that the service hub that was opened should provide a response for every person who needs assistance in the hospital and following release.

Rabbi Chollak was given the honor of affixing the mezuzah in the room designated as the on-site branch service hub. He blessed the hospital and branch administrators for joining together with Ezer Mizion to better the situation for the hospital patient and his family.

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Why We…

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Why do we work here?

A non-profit holds a Chinese auction. Employees are asked to go above their job description and contact friends and relatives to purchase tickets. And what is their reaction? Eye rolling? Whispered complaints at being put upon? Attempts to get away with a minimum? Or none of the above? The Ezer Mizion staff would be shocked at such suggestions. Each request sent out by employees to friends had a note attached, many entitled ‘Why We Work Here’. Here are some samples:

At Ezer Mizion, somehow, cancer always takes center stage. The bald head, the boy with the bulging eyes, together with the fear that lurks deep in the heart of every one of us. My job is coordinating rides. Not front page material. But for the young mother spending months in the hospital with her preemie, it meant a breather every so often, time to spend with her other kids.

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food for the Body/ Nourishment for the Soul

Running such a system of transport, meals— costs money. And this money has to come from people like me and you. From people who can understand why the transport system is a lifesaver, and how, with a hot meal, you can give someone life and hope. Continue reading Why We…

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Behind the Scenes at Ezer Mizion with its Founder, Chananya Chollak – A Three Part Series

pr gen R' Chollak IMG_9149A full night’s sleep is a rare luxury for Rav Chananya Chollak, founder of Ezer Mizion. Those that need him are told that they can call anytime and they do.  It is not unusual for his phone to ring at 3:00 A.M. Rav Chollak hears a panicky voice of a son, whose father is terminally ill and on oxygen. “The tank is almost empty! What should I do?!” Rav Chollak’s soothing, caring voice calms the son. Another tank arrives almost immediately. Rav Chollak does not return to his bed until he is certain that it has come, is set up and the father is doing well.   His phone remains at his bedside, ready for the next opportunity to help another Jew. Continue reading Behind the Scenes at Ezer Mizion with its Founder, Chananya Chollak – A Three Part SeriesFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Fulfilling A Dream

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Elderly holocaust survivor enjoys the planning of his dream with Ezer Mizion

A man grows older. Sometimes parts of his body do not work as well as when he was young. Does that mean his inner feelings lessen? His wishes? His longings?

Rabbi Yitzchak Elchanan Gibraltar, a native of Kovno was just 12 years old when World War II broke out. He endured all the horrors of the Holocaust, suffering illness and hunger and doing forced labor under severe conditions. Together with his brother, he carried their father until the end of the horrible marches. After the war, he moved to Israel where he established his home and raised his children. Here in Israel, he wrote and published three books about the Jews of Kovno, from its golden era until its destruction in the Holocaust.

In his weekly meetings with an Ezer Mizion volunteer, Rabbi Gibraltar mentioned that in his childhood, he had been an expert swimmer. After the war’s end, too, he did a lot of swimming, in preparation for his planned Aliyah, since he had heard that the British do not allow the immigrants’ ships lay anchor close to shore. Those days, with his swimming skills, he saved many people from drowning.

Today, due to a substantial decline in his physical functioning, he is at home most hours of the day. When he was young, he hopped in and out of a car many times a day. Now his body fails him and getting into a car is as difficult as flying to the moon. When he was young, he had spent his vacations at scenic places, taking in the glorious beauty of Hashem’s world. He traveled where he wished. There was nothing holding him back. Now traveling from one room to another is a battle. In his mind’s eye, he can see the awesome beauty of the ocean. He yearns to be there once more…to make the brocha Oseh Maaseh Breishis (blessing) as his whole being becomes one with the roar of the waves.

He is a 90 year old Talmid Chochom (man learned in the Torah), a holocaust survivor. He is so grateful for the life he was given. He has no complaints. But oh, to see the ocean once more… to feel the power of the waves as they come crashing down… to gaze at the horizon as sea meets sky far, far into the distance. And then to make the brocha (blessing) in full awe and what HaKodosh Boruch Hu (G-d) had wrought.

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Ezer Mizion fulfills a dream of an elderly holocaust survivor

He yearned but he understood that it cannot be. Until the Ezer Mizion volunteer heard his whispered dreams. Then things began moving fast.  Contacts were made. Logistical hurdles were surmounted.  More problems. These also were vanquished. Then a date was set. A slot was cleared with an Ezer Mizion ambulance for his trip. An experienced, Ezer Mizion trained volunteer was thrilled to facilitate the outing. And a dream became reality.

Another holocaust survivor. Another dream.  This one is 99 years old. His neshoma aches to, once again, experience a davening at Meron. Impossible, say the naysayers. Lets try, says Ezer Mizion. It’s not easy. For each impediment conquered, two more crop up. It would be easy to simply say, it’s too hard. But Ezer Mizion is not about to take the easy way out when there exists even a remote possibility of bringing such spiritual joy to this centenarian. Phones buzzed and emails flew across cyberspace. It was not long before this dream, too, became reality.

Ezer Mizion’s Ambulance Division with its fleet of vehicles outfitted to handle the mobility impaired, the respiratory patient and so many more challenges, handles hundreds of calls for patients to be transported to and from clinics for chemo, dialysis and other treatments and emergency calls. A small number of slots are reserved for its “Fulfilling A Dream” program which has brought happiness to so many homebound.  It enables elderly people to choose an event they wish to experience, something they can look forward to. Ezer Mizion receives requests from social workers or family members of lonely, disabled, elderly people throughout Israel. After reviewing the requests, Ezer Mizion coordinates the logistics of making these dreams come true.

Typical requests include trips to the Kotel and other special places, visits to relatives and friends and participation in family celebrations. Ezer Mizion’s Ambulance and Transport Department plays an integral role in fulfilling dreams, providing the necessary vehicles and personnel

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A Note Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters

pr fileThis  post is my platform to scream it out to the entire world – THANK YOU!

On the way home from Tel Hashomer this morning, just when I had finished saying, “Thank you,” for all the great mitzvahs that this organization does for us, a song started playing on the radio that could not have been more symbolic for me:

Hallelujah, forever,

Hallelujah – everyone will sing.

With one, lone word,

The heart is full of tons of gratitude.

It, too, shouts  – what a wonderful world!

Hallelujah – with the song.

Hallelujah – for each day that dawns

Hallelujah – for what was,

And for what wasn’t yet – Hallelujah.”

Until quite recently, Ezer Mizion was “just another organization,” as far as I was concerned.

I didn’t really know what they did.

I linked up with them via a co-worker who understood that I was coming from a place of deep frustration.

I explained to them that my father is a cancer patient whose condition is not good and, unfortunately, he cannot get around now. When he needs to go to  Tel Hashomer, he has no other means of transportation other than a so very costly ambulance.

On the other end of the line was a nice fellow named Shmulik, with huge patience and a pleasant demeanor. In an instant, my father was added to the Ezer Mizion Transportation Roster and only a quick phone call was needed to bring the nicest, kindliest, most respectful drivers each time transportation was needed. Cost: $0

Even when Abba was hospitalized and we forgot to cancel the transport.

Even when we forget to update some detail.

Even when we canceled at the last minute because our head isn’t on straight due to everything that’s going on.

Even when they had to explain everything to me 80 times over.

Even when it means having to send an ambulance especially for us because we’re not on the route,

Even then, they responded with  full understanding, giving us such a good feeling.

So thank you, dear, special people on the other end of the line and behind the steering wheel. Thank you to Shmulik, Danny, and the wonderful girls at the ambulance call-in center and the message reception center. Thank you for being the entire world for people like us, who lose their way a little at the beginning.

Thank you!

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Hospital ‘Rounds’ via What’s App

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Linked to Life: We’re all connected!

I was trying. Friends and relatives were also helping. The situation was beyond hopeless and I was helpless to keep things together.   I had three children in three separate hospitals, located in various parts of the country. One was in a mental hospital, two in medical hospitals. Can you imagine the anguish, the sights I witnessed daily? The despair when I had to leave one to visit another. The tiny bewildered faces at the window at home watching Mommy leave…again. The exhaustion- both physical and emotional. The frustration when twenty-four hours were far from enough in each day. The astronomical expenses incurred on top of less money coming in. Continue reading Hospital ‘Rounds’ via What’s AppFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail