Chanukah Torch of Chessed in the Corona Wards

Chanukah is a holiday of light, warmth, and family togetherness.

For someone who is hospitalized, it is hard to feel all that. When the hospitalization is in a corona ward, the situation is even more complex.

Ezer Mizion’s volunteers in the corona wards took upon themselves a challenge: to bring the light of the Chanukah candles into the corona wards, too. Every day of Chanukah, a candle-lighting ceremony was held in the Jerusalem’s Herzog Hospital corona ward

One day of Chanukah, the volunteers — all “corona alumni” — came in full protective gear, with guitars and sufganiyot, to hold a Chanukah party in the ward.

In Shaare Zedek Hospital, too, there was candle-lighting each night and visits by volunteers to the wardo

In Hadassah Ein Kerem’s oncology ward, activities went on throughout Chanukah, climaxing with a special event with Yishai Rebo, who sang with the hospitalized children.

“We’ve set as our goal that no patient should remain alone on Chanukah, whether in the corona ward or in oncology,” said Yisrael Yeret, director of Ezer Mizion Jerusalem region services. “In addition to parties in hospitals, we distributed craft kits to families of oncology patients and large amounts of food to families who needed it. We also gave out groceries to people in quarantine, to cheer them up and to keep them supplied.

“In spite of the difficulty rallying volunteers on Chanukah in general, and specifically volunteers for the corona wards, we achieved our goal of brightening the holiday for people in challenging situations.”

Ezer Mizion held many Chanukah parties for patients, elderly, and people with special needs.

Ezer Mizion also operates a nationwide volunteer initiative in which people who have recovered from corona come to volunteer in corona wards, after undergoing a screening process in the hospitals. The volunteers give the hospitalized patients warmth, attention, encouragement and support and alleviate the burden on the medical staff. Every Ezer Mizion branch and many departments partner in these activities, along with their routine tasks and obligations.

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Take a Deep Breath

It’s 3:00 AM. Dark outside. The world is asleep. The shrill tone of a phone wakes him up. “Hello,” he answers groggily, unsure if the phone was part of his dream or not. “He can’t breathe! I’m so scared! The doctor says he needs an oxygen concentrator! Please, oh please help us!”  Gone was the grogginess. In its place was concern and professionalism. The right questions were asked and answered. A trained volunteer was immediately dispatched with the machine and the Ezer Mizion director returned to his dreams…for a few minutes. Three (!) more calls from frightened families in Israel. One after the other, after the other. Three more concentrators set up. In the space of one dark, frightening hour, four corona patients who were able to safely remain at home. Four corona patients now in good health. 

It’s 30 minutes before Shabbos candle lighting  time. An Ezer Mizion staff head calls in. A concentrator is needed asap.  A volunteer races to the branch to pick one up, races to the family, sets it up and explains its use as if there was all the time in the world, then resumes his race to shul (synagogue), sliding into his seat only a few minutes later than usual. L’cha dodi…

A patient no longer needs hospitalization. He is so anxious to leave. But even though hospitalization is no longer needed, respiratory assistance is. An oxygen concentrator would be the answer. Is there one available? Yes there is! Thanks to all of you out there who contributed so generously, many patients, under advice and guidance from their physicians, are able to continue their recuperation away from the hospital setting. 

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It’s All About Giving

I am the grandmother of Uri who — thanks to you — celebrated his bar mitzvah in the Corona hotel.

I cannot begin to describe the difficulties of this period— the difficulty of planning a bar mitzvah for a boy who is so looking forward to his big day, and then, a week before the occasion, he, his parents and his siblings experience symptoms of Corona, test positive, and are compelled to evacuate to a Corona hotel… All we could do was to focus on praying for their recovery and strengthening our faith that this is G-d’s will and that all is for the best.

None of us dreamed that so many good people would rally on our behalf and organize such a stupendous, lively event! What a fantastic job!!! What efforts to make one boy happy on his big day! You thought of everything: a huge “Mazel Tov” sign; balloon arrangements; a dessert table with fancy cakes, chocolates, petit fours, candies and more and more; a big festive meal for all the patients at the hotel; music, including a keyboard player and singers; and behind the scenes — all the planners, the cooks, the electric technicians, helpers, coordinators  — you name it!

And as for us? We will never be able to sufficiently thank you for the joy you brought to Uri and the entire family.

In 1979, Rav Chananya Chollak, then newly married, founded a small organization of 8 volunteers because he saw a need and wanted so much to give. His attitude has filtered down to the thousands of Ezer Mizion staff and volunteers of what is now known as an empire of chessed. New departments crop up as a new need is identified. The above letter is one of hundreds received in response to help given during the corona crisis.

The Cancer Support Division provides a variety of professional, emotional and practical assistance. Like the planters. A group of children whose mothers are battling cancer needed an emotional outlet.  Emotions are funny things. They don’t always make sense.  The children have a powerful need to give. But what can they give? It must be something meaningful.  A frustrated need brings bitterness. A need properly channeled can bring fulfillment and positivity into the family relationship. And so the children were taught the rudiments of carpentry and produced planters, each filled with seedlings of love, watered by a tearful prayer for a speedy cure.  Can one begin to imagine the joy of the child presenting the gift to his mother, her joy at receiving a ‘piece of his heart’ both culminating in an overflow of family togetherness!

It’s catchy, that feeling of giving. At age 15, Moshe Israeli was diagnosed with bone cancer.
During those incredibly trying times, Ezer Mizion was there to help Moshe and his family with food deliveries, medicine runs, hospital visits and so much more! Fast forward almost 30 years and Moshe now manages Ezer Mizion’s Petach Tikveh branch.

Due to COVID-19, many high risk patients are left with no support or help for their everyday needs. Moshe has organized some 2,800 volunteers to help the elderly, the immuno-compromised and those in desperate need as the pandemic continues its disruptive path.
Food has been packaged, medicine has been delivered so those in need can receive practical support as well as equally important emotional support, all from a distance.

It’s all about giving.

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When Words and Tomatoes Join Together to Create One Big Hug

inboxShe could have been living down the block from us but no one knew. She was a victim of terror with psychological wounds that never healed. Physically she was not in good shape either. She had been diagnosed in February with a severe lung infection and was extremely weak. Alone in Israel and helpless, she turned to the only address she knew. And that was how an Ezer Mizion director found a heartrending email in her inbox. Continue reading When Words and Tomatoes Join Together to Create One Big HugFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Think!

idea-3085367_1920“Think, everyone, think!” she cried out. “There has to be something! Something we can do even in the midst of corona.” We all sat there. We’re normally a creative bunch but the ideas were just not coming.  Every year we hosted a retreat for families dealing with cancer. It was the highlight of the year for them, a time to bond with their family, good food, fun entertainment –  a vacation from cancer. Away from hospitals and tests and treatments. Something to put a smile on faces that almost forgot how. It meant everything to the families whom, in addition to the medical situation, were suffering so much emotionally with many family relationships on the verge of collapse. Continue reading Think!Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Maccabi Salutes Ezer Mizion

pr corona- Maccabi presentation-maleMaccabi Health Services known as Kupat Cholim Maccabi, is one of the four HMOs in Israel with over 2 million members and is considered an influential institution in regards to the Israeli healthcare system. Maccabi members benefit from diverse health services but there are many, many instances where help is needed. As Maccabi staff members can testify, Ezer Mizion is the address to turn to. Ezer Mizion’s goal: to be there for others. Their means: a professional, extensive network willing to think out of box in order to benefit the ill. Time and time again, when standard routine would not allow for the patient’s receiving what he needs, a call was made to the number they all knew by heart and the walls came tumbling down. Continue reading Maccabi Salutes Ezer Mizion

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Saying Farewell to Corona – Let’s Hope it’s Final!

coronavirus
Saying Goodbye to Corona

Tens of thousands of missions were shared with Israel’s Home Front Command! And Israel’s seniors, seriously ill, and people in quarantine ­were the first to benefit from it. Each mission accompanied with so much love!

 

Recently, to the sound of ongoing applause, the Home Front Command awarded Ezer Mizion  a Certificate of Appreciation for dedicated partnership throughout the recent batpr corona Home Front awardtle. A big “hats off” to Ezer Mizion’s team: our friends and supporters, staff and volunteers!Even as the ‘goodbye’s to corona’ have begun, the needs have not yet ended. Says Moshe Beeri, director of Ezer Mizion’s Northern Region: “Via 350 What’s App groups, we help thousands of people and families. We are in contact with the municipalities and the social services entities, and we deal with 2,000 calls and requests a day from across the country. Thanks to our volunteers, very many people feel that they have help and support during this period of hardship and that they are not alone.”

A volunteer has enlisted her five children to do supermarket shopping for an elderly couple who cannot leave their home. She and other volunteers cook and distribute meals for those who are unable to manage on their own.

Decorative fruit platters were just one of the ways to cheer up a hospitalized cancer patient who had recently undergone a transplant.

pr corona - David and Nissim on trip w special kidsAnd what does a bus driver on furlough do nowadays?

He energetically plans a trip (not easy with corona regulations) for Ezer Mizion’s special needs children in Ashdod, finds a partner who donates the cost of a bus and gasoline, and together they serve as guides for the children and their accompanying staff for two days of a refreshing experience! The highlight was a visit to the petting zoo in Kefar Hanagid, where a blissful 17-year-old boy said: “For a whole month, I’ve been shut up in the house. You made me so happy!” Here are David and Nissim, the bus drivers with the golden hearts! David, the driver, mentors one of our special kids all year round, through Ezer Mizion’s Social Services Mentoring Department for Family Empowerment.

pr corona - Italy parentsAbout 6 weeks ago, a couple left Corona-battered Italy and arrived with their four children to an empty rental apartment in Beit Shemesh. During their compulsory two-week isolation, during which they slept on thin mattresses and used coats as pillows, a friend from abroad gave them the phone number of Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life, a WhatsApp network group for delivering items to people in need.

A message to the group: “Friends, we have a family here with four kids that just arrived from Milan and, due to the situation, they left Italy without any of their possessions. They have nothing — literally!!! Let’s try to help them!”

The message spread within minutes. The results: Religious, Chareidi, and secular alike all rallied to help. “Every ten minutes, someone drops a package at our door. Games, linens, food…”

Another neighbor opened a special headquarters, and before long, Ezer Mizion volunteers rallied to donate beds, electrical appliances, furniture, blankets, and linens to the family.. “We asked them what they needed, and all they requested was yogurt. In Italy, the yogurt isn’t kosher and the kids really wanted to taste one. They got their yogurt and so much more ”

 

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Two Letters/ Two Sides

Female and man's hands with red heart

A volunteer of grandfather vintage writes:

I went out today to distribute food. With lots of energy and good will, I came to collect the packages and got a list. Third floor, fourth floor, etc. No elevators. Ah, occasionally there was a ground floor…

Do I need to go up or do they come down? I tried to clarify. Continue reading Two Letters/ Two SidesFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

CORONA CHALLENGES- CORONA SOLUTIONS

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Medical Equipment  Dept.

  • A patient is about to be released from the hospital but only with appropriate equipment which will be available in 2-14 days. Remain in hospital during corona crisis? Not advisable. Go home without equipment? Impossible. Third option: send request to Ezer Mizion and equipment will be delivered in hours with professional demonstration and ongoing support.
  • Respiratory equipment needed for home-based covid patient requires two-month (!) wait for HMO physician ok. Out of the question, of course. But what recourse is there? Enter Ezer Mizion with no-cost loan and oxygen balloons refilled at no charge .
  • A hospitalized nursing home patient is released but cannot return to nursing home due to corona. A kangaroo feeding device is a necessity but unavailable for the home.   Now what? A friend recommends Ezer Mizion who has provided many of these devices for nursing home patients living with family during covid-19.

Golan Time is a most precious resource, but when it comes to saving lives — no job is too long.  A volunteer heads all the way to the northern army base in order to get a blood sample for genetic testing for transplant. Within six hours, the mission was successfully accomplished! Six hours to save a life!

Afula Utter helplessness. A disabled amputee in a wheelchair found himself alone on the sidewalk, with one wheel of his chair broken. There were no passersby due to corona. To his good fortune, an angel — Linked to Life volunteer— rushed to the site, lifted the man and the broken wheelchair into his car, and did not abandon his post until a technician was found to repair the chair and restore the disabled person’s mobility!

Haifa, Rambam Hospital Being in quarantine for 14 days isn’t easy, but 8 months of isolation (!) in the life of a three-year-old leukemia patient waiting for a transplant — is unfathomable… The only hope lay in medicines from a drugstore in Tzefat. Avi, a Linked to Life volunteer, together with the Haifa Branch, took care of picking up the medicines and driving with them to the ward where the sweet little patient is hospitalized. His whole life is before him, with Hashem’s help!

Ben Gurion Airport With the drastic drop in the number of outgoing passenger flights due to Covid-19, Israel cargo pilots have graciously undertaken the transport of precious stem cells to Belgium where couriers meet them and take the lifesaving units to their final destination. Here is a cargo pilot exiting the cockpit with stem cells that are on their way to saving a patient in Spain. We don’t let Corona stand in the way of our lifesaving efforts!

Rechovot Almost no one knocks on her door these days. When the elderly woman opened the door to find a Linked to Life volunteer, bringing two fresh-cooked meals for her and her husband, she couldn’t stop thanking the volunteer, as if she was the only one who’d been treated to such a visit that day! What she didn’t know was that in that same distribution, another 800 (!) seniors in Rechovot received fresh, hot meals — a portion of food for the body and a visit of love for the soul.

Netivot Five years ago, Colonel Yossi Cohen donated bone marrow and merited saving a life. These days, serving as commander of the Southern region of the Home Front Command, Yossi is becoming familiar with more of the organization’s efforts as we work hand in hand with him to provide aid to all who need it in the area. He has one thing to say: “Continue doing your holy work!”

 

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