Maccabi 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
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 battle. 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.
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.
About 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 ”
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 Sides
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!”
Slowly but surely, we are settling into the Corona routine after trying weeks of extreme uncertainty. These days, more than ever, Ezer Mizion amazing power has shown bright once again. The tapestry of chessed that emerged and intensified in the last weeks revealed a vast empire of sensitivity and sincere empathy with people’s needs at all levels!
From North to South of Israel and beyond, from morning to night and then some, in numerous service areas and activities and to all segments of the Israeli population, Ezer Mizion has touched tens of thousands of needs and lives!
Asa’el lost his mother and his three brothers in a horrible terrorist attack at their home in Itamar. He himself lost a leg. He could have been embittered about his situation, but, with great courage, he chose not to fall into that black hole, and instead to devote himself to giving. It began with his volunteering to purchase medications for an elderly couple and snowballed into his joining the 12,000 Ezer Mizion Linked to Life volunteers who are providing such vital services during the crisis of delivering hot meals, groceries, supplies and medicine to quarantined patients and seniors in the area. “I absorbed the great dedication and giving from my mother, A’H. This is carrying on her legacy of giving.” What can we say? A real hero!
Yotam Base, near Eilat:
Moriah, an IDF scout lookout somewhere out there on the Southern army base needed special medication. A call went out via Linked to Life. Within one minute (!), a volunteer responded. And no, it wasn’t “on his way”! He made a special 7.5 hour round trip drive for this!
Moriah: “I am in shock that a person should make such a long trip for people he doesn’t even know and with no personal interest! It’s inconceivable!” Don’t you agree?
Yehuda, a young adult with special needs, recently acquired a new friend. A devoted volunteer calls him on a regular basis. At times they learn together; at times they just chat. ‘It’s the highlight of his day,’ says his mother.
Corona patients staying at the hotel had no way to wash their clothes… The huge hotel laundry facilities are not available for the patients’ personal clothing and a real challenge developed with a lack of clean clothing for the interned patients who are not permitted to leave the premises. A donation was acquired to fund the purchase of a washing machine, a U-haul was hooked up manned by Ezer Mizion volunteers, and the machine was delivered at the Maaleh Hachamishah hotel for the patients’ use!
Moshe’s catering business is nil these days. Bitter? Angry? Instead Moshe has opened his business to provide meals for Ezer Mizion recipients. Kudos, Moshe!
An army of volunteers, wearing masks and gloves, distributed 110 fragrant potted plants to the homes of Holocaust survivors in the city, adding color and vitality to their houses at this lonely time and a total of 1,800 plants delivered to survivors in 25 cities and towns around Israel.
340 bags of love were distributed to the homes of survivors, bearing candies, chocolates, scented sticks, a flower and a personal note.
After weeks of close collaboration with the Municipality, the Home Front Command, and the city’s emergency services, city Mayor Yair Drori had a clear message to deliver about the local Ezer Mizion branch: “You are our city’s outstanding model of chessed and civic involvement!”
From the files of Ezer Mizion Sheba-Tel Hashomer Branch The wife of the Myanmar ambassador in Israel was hospitalized in serious condition in Tel Hashomer, and she needed medical equipment for the process of recovery and rehabilitation. They were stunned to find that not only was the medical equipment made available to them, complete with professional advice, instruction and continued support during use but they were apprised of many other services to help them out. What seemed so natural for us was anything but natural for them. Their own situation led them to notice others. What is made available to a cancer patient, to the elderly, the mentally ill, the special child. The innovative services provided during Covid-19. ” We never saw anything like this anywhere in the world!! It is not self-understood in the least. We will pass this on to the residents of our country.” Their words, in turn, gave us a perspective. We looked in the mirror and saw caring. We saw understanding of another’s plight. We felt empowered. And it gave us strength to do even more.
Nechalim Unable to have contact with the severely handicapped young adults of the Day Care Center, did the staff simply go home? Of course not. They are using the time to make improvements in the building and grounds. Why? Just because they love ‘their’ kids.
Linked to Life Network 3000 requests per day to transport medicines and medical equipment from drugstores and Kupot Cholim to the homes of patients, seniors, and people in quarantine.
Sheba-Tel Hashomer Medical Center A sick girl in Tel Hashomer. The staff is waiting tensely for the results of the important external biopsy, but the results are delayed! Sometimes, even medical staffs encounter bureaucratic delays and experience helplessness, as they simply do not know whom to turn to in order to get the fastest possible response! A call to our Medical Counseling and Referral Department brought the slow process to a speedy conclusion. Within a few minutes, we received the following message: “The clarification that you just did for us would have taken us a great deal of time, which would have hurt the girl’s chances of recovery! Thanks to you — now, we can help her in a timely way!”
Netivot A widow living with her 30-year-old severely autistic daughter who does not leave her alone for a moment is now getting regular breaks with trained volunteers taking over, all corona rules complied with.
Modi’in Illit 300 craft kits with gifts delivered to children of seriously ill parents and orphans.
Social Services Dept. Mentors dispatched to families in which mother is mentally ill to coach mother minute by minute in care of family providing both a nurtured family and a feeling of success in mother.
Ofakim Volunteer found to learn over phone with young man with special needs- the brightest spot in his day, says his mother.
Medical Referral Dept. An elderly woman needs regular injections to prevent deteriorating eyesight. Corona is preventing her from traveling to clinic. Several phone calls later: mission accomplished.
Nachalom Day Care Center A staff member came in right after Pesach. (We’re on vacation but she missed ’her girls’.) She baked chalos with them a’ la zoom.
AAC (Communication Devices) An autistic girl was hospitalized in Laniado with Corona. I prepared specific boards, while remotely controlling the hospital iPad and checking communication needs. From a girl who was strapped to her bed and drugged to control her wildness, she turned into a patient who could communicate with the staff.
Amidst the final preparations for Pesach and the continued challenge of the national emergency situation — we continue to follow and to be amazed by the dedication of the various departments. We’re happy to once again update you on more activities and facts from the field:
Linked to Life — all-time high in requests coming in to Linked to Life:
From the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis — the 5 regions, from North to South, together with the branches, dealt with more than 56,000 requests (!!). It’s reasonable to assume that as you read these lines, dozens more requests have piled up at headquarters…
We’re talking about thousands of patients who needed medicines from the drug store, thousands of seniors who needed to get to medical care, countless meals that were delivered to the homes of quarantined individuals and the needy in impressive collaboration with the Home Front and the municipal Social Services departments.
Believe me — a brief peek at the What’s App groups task forces — and you’ll be dizzy from the pace of the activity.
The branches’ activities also continued at full throttle, providing a response for the varied needs of residents. Among these were refreshing projects to encourage the people and raise the general morale. For example, the Modi’in Ilit branch sent out a “Simcha Van,” which rode all around the city and got lots of people to join in song and dance from their porches.
Kimcha D’Pischa Pesach packages
Distribution of the many cartons is in progress! This year, more than ever before, we realize that these food cartons will touch the hearts of families of patients and seniors, who have been in unusual isolation already for long weeks, due to their dangerous medical situation.
1,569 aid recipients
These days, the social service families are receiving adapted services, provided by the department of professional support for family empowerment, in collaboration with the Social Services Department and the various municipalities: Coaches, mentors for children with special needs and on the autistic spectrum, alternative for rehab day care centers, and more.
It’s moving to see the mentors going out for a walk with the children, taking along the disabled ID card that entitles them to walk around with the children beyond the restriction of 100 meters.
Special adapted work plans to be implemented by phone were prepared for those families whom the staff is unable to reach directly.
Bone Marrow Donor Registry
We’re signing off the month of March with 41 lifesaving stem cell transplants!
An inconceivable achievement, given the existing circumstances and challenges!
At the same time, collection of bone marrow samples from IDF soldiers at the Induction Center continues as usual.
5,100 new potential donors join the Registry
798 families Cancer patient support
Children with cancer are totally isolated from the staff due to their sensitive medical situation, but the staff members supporting them are investing creative efforts into keeping the children happy! Craft kits and games were sent to the hospital wards and Ezer Mizion’s Wildlife Pavilion has gone online, with filmed stories and live broadcasts from the site of the animals so beloved by the children.
In addition, patients undergoing treatments still have the option of being hosted at Ezer Mizion’s Oranit cancer patient guest home, along with a family member escort.
Mentoring and babysitting services, as well as consultations with professionals, are also continuing to function.
1883 recipients of aid
Aside from the stepped-up mental health hotlines and additional services that continue functioning in every possible form, we were excited to hear about the close contact that is being maintained at this time between mental health clients and their rehab staff and coaches. For example, a coach who would come every Erev Shabbat to accompany her client cooking in her kitchen — continues meeting with her regularly via “Zoom.” The program enables them to see each other and engage in a “cooking competition,” while communicating openly and naturally.
The sheltered work facilities, which serve as a place of occupation and rehabilitation for mental health clients — are open for small groups, in accordance with Health Department directives, and the coaching of clients working in the free market, so vital for their rehabilitation, continues as well.
The “Briyuta” club also continues to function! Though they cannot visit the fitness gym and attend workshops on site, all of the service recipients received a kit for home use, with recommended fitness exercises, tips for daily scheduling, healthful recipes, and more.
It’s hard to describe how critical a continued stable routine is for the mental health clients’ rehabilitative process. A round of applause for the staff!
329 recipients of aid
Children and toddlers
The children constantly talk about how they miss the staff in the preschools. Every child in the Ezer Mizion preschools got a loving reminder call from the teacher, along with a newsletter for the parents. The families also get ongoing telephone and online guidance from the paramedical staff, to avert a break in the continuity of therapy. At the same time, the staff has gone over to online direction for the teachers and paramedical staff, guiding them towards adapted therapy suited for this period.
The learning clubs — continue by “remote control.” Counseling and emotional support for the children’s parents also is being carried on, with great dedication.
The Information and Counseling Center for parental support is like a breath of fresh air for the parents. It is no easy challenge to spend time with these children and keep them occupied for such a long period at home. Many parents find a listening ear, as well as important information to help them cope — thanks to the Center’s work. Recently, they even offered an online lecture for parents.
Active Nurturing Playground —The worldwide Coronavirus crisis led the Bernard Van Leer Foundation to contact Ezer Mizion’s developmental programs department and request professional materials for development and advancement of the parents and children from home. At this very time, English-language materials are being created, which will be distributed by the Foundation on a national level.
Loan of medical and rehabilitative equipment
Not only have the hours not been cut down, but, in response to the demand in the field, services have been expanded to 9 a.m to 8 p.m.! The devoted staff is working non-stop! On the holidays, as well, the center will be open in the mornings (from 9:30 to 11:30) to provide a response to the general public.
4,711 seniors and their family members
The precious seniors supported by the division throughout the year now require double and triple caution.
On the other hand, the technological solutions serving the general public aren’t always an option for them, at their age.
The dedication of the geriatric service branches and the support staff is very moving. It includes cautious home visits, in case of necessity, ongoing phone calls, and creative solutions to maintain contact and ensure a sense of vitality in the seniors supported by the division.
In one recent conversation, Rachel Markowitz, a Holocaust survivor and member of the Geriatric Services’ Eshnav program, couldn’t find the words to express her gratitude for the love and concern being showered on her at this time. She asked to give the following message to the organization’s staff: “Just tell them, ‘Am Yisrael Chai!’”
Medical counseling and referrals
Both of the division’s units are available and busy, these days, too, providing counseling and referral services and accompanying and coordinating callers with medical cases.
The staff’s capabilities, diligence, and sense of responsibility in dealing with each call — continue to surprise us. For example, a woman who called to ask for a recommendation of a doctor for an urgent surgical treatment managed to get an appointment with one of the top specialists in the desired field that same week, thanks to the division’s dedicated work. “I didn’t know about you until now. For two days, I’ve been on the phone with the an administrative agency, getting nowhere. And with one phone call to you, I received an excellent and speedy solution!”
The service will continue functioning actively through Pesach!
Matan Nechalim Day Center for disabled young adults
The day center for young adults with disabilities was open until right before Pesach, thanks to the endless dedication of the staff. The participants enjoyed exercise rooms, art, multimedia, grassy lawns, and the other activities on site, while adhering closely to Health Department directives.
We discovered that even at a distance of two meters, you can enjoy a variety of diverse activities and social life.
For those who preferred not coming in for activities, a kit was sent to their home, including cake, a mask hand-sewn by them, a weekly bulletin with a worksheet, stories and quizzes.
In order to keep up the morale and the social circle even when the place is closed for Pesach, an individual infrastructure for online learning from the home was set up for each of the participants, including accessibility options for the home and loan of adapted equipment.
1,778 rides to the hospital
952 beneficiaries of special projects
13,067 purchases of medications for the elderly and quarantined
1,376 purchases of food for the elderly and quarantined
40,668 distributions of food to families of cancer patients, social service recipients, and through projects in collaboration with local municipalities
Wishing you and your families, along with the entire Jewish people,
a happy and kosher Pesach, a holiday of deliverance, and full physical and emotional health.
Hakadosh Baruch Hu, have compassion on Your people, “Appoint guardians upon your city all day and all night; illuminate the dark of night as with the light of day”
and may we all merit
Activities at the Geriatric Services Division during the Coronavirus Period
150 professional staff members
13 branches across the country
Thousands of dedicated volunteers
With the onset of the crisis, the entire Geriatric Services Division shifted to a mode of alternating home/office work. Authorization to work remote was given to 60 staff members who were provided technical support and computers, as needed.
During this period, the tremendous responsibility of the Geriatric Services division towards the highest-risk group in the world has doubled. This responsibility is reflected by work around the clock, with no breaks, in the division’s 2 primary areas of activity:
- Mentoring and guidance of new seniors, their caregivers and family members in obtaining a geriatric services stipend from Bituach Leumi (the National Insurance Institute)
- Placement of certified attendants in seniors’ homes
- Guidance in the process of obtaining a foreign worker
- Initiated phone calls every week to all the attendants, care recipients, caregiving family members (about 7500 calls a week)
- Frontal and phone visits to 3000 seniors
- Intensive work geared at giving the full number of hours of entitlement and care to the senior, in spite of attendants’ fear and concern of giving caregiving hours in the homes of seniors.
Operation of an active “Corona hotline” Sunday to Thursday from 8 AM to 10 PM and on Fridays and Erev Chag from 8 AM to 12 PM; Motzaei Shabbat and Motzaei Chag from 8 PM to 11 PM
The hotline provides a response to seniors, family members, and attendants in the following areas:
- Calls for emotional support
- Therapy calls with experienced professionals (social workers)
- Calls to obtain information about entitlements and assistance in making them happen
- Facilitating community and municipal services, especially hot meals!
- Facilitating Ezer Mizion services: loan of medical equipment,
- Arranging purchase of groceries, produce, home supplies and medicines and delivery via Ezer Mizion “Linked to Life” volunteers
- Tapping in to connections for the purpose of obtaining service from different entities, in collaboration with the Home Front Command, kupat cholim, etc.
Activating volunteers to relieve loneliness via:
- “Listening Ear” project — phone calls from volunteer emotional therapists
- “Adopt a Bubby and Zeidy” — in collaboration with Discount Bank employee volunteers who are set up with seniors to allay their loneliness by phone.
- Online physical exercise through a number of channels: website, online handbooks, etc.
- Distribution of physical exercise kits to the homes of seniors by volunteers
- Telephone guidance for active participants at the Senior Health Promotion Center by Center staff
Installation of Security Cameras
Tzipporah Fried Alzheimer Patient Support Center
- Outgoing support calls initiated by the Center’s professional staff to caregiving families who were in touch with the center in the past
- Online support groups via ZOOM
- Phone calls initiated by staff to all Holocaust survivors who participate regularly in the Ezer Mizion activities
- Provision of a full response to needs that arise in the conversations: cooked food, purchase of groceries and medicines, emotional support via therapeutic phone calls
- Home visits, in keeping with all Health Department directives (remote, porch visits)
- Establishment of a mobile library operated by means of a personal delivery from the municipal library to the Holocaust Survivor’s home – operated by the British Café staff
- Online/telephone physical exercise guidance
- Distribution of potted plants to 1100 Holocaust survivors across the country on Yom Hasho’ah
How is Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry managing? Corona created formidable obstacles. 60% of stem cells are normally transported by courier for life-saving transplants to countries outside of Israel. At first, foreign couriers who do not have an Israeli passport were denied entry into Israel. Israeli couriers were forced to wait a two week isolation period following their return into Israel. Continue reading Give Up? Not When It Means Saving A Life!
In the name of the patient you serviced all around
And the one you revitalized, alone and homebound
In the name of the preemie, in his mother’s embrace
And the father, back with his children, through your good grace.
In the name of the boy who an ironed shirt wore,
And the envelope you gave to the sick and the poor,
In the name of the mental health client, whose pain you allayed
And the medicine delivered, though your strength was frayed.
In the name of a senior who ate a meal, good and hot
And the assignment you took before knowing what,
In the name of the boy at risk, saved from decline,
And the special needs child for whom you made the sun shine.
In the name of the families, who enjoy your good dishes,
Cakes, sides, and salads, plus the warmest of wishes,
In the name of all that you prepared and had planned
But when delayed by an assignment, you understand.
In the name of all of the Linked to Life stars
The general groups and the specialty cars
In the name of the pastry bakers and cooks of gourmet
That cannot be matched in the world any day
Thank you, you’re great!
Our blessing for success!
In my name and Ezer Mizion’s —
You’re simply the best!
On behalf of the group leaders and those with social service jobs,
And social workers who doubled shifts saying “No prob!”
The staff at the office and at equipment loan,
And those who offer encouragement from at home.
Because we’re here when you need us!
With you we’ll remain
We’ll do what we can
To lower your pain,
However we can,
To help and to guide
As long as it takes,
We’re here at your side.
Rivi, in the name of the Ezer Mizion Jerusalem Branch family