Nobody’s Baby…Everybody’s Baby

Everybody’s baby being loved by one of the many volunteers

He began life as nobody’s baby but it wasn’t long until he became everybody’s baby. . Refael was a deliciously, sweet baby but so very ill. In deep pain, his parents abandoned him due to the overwhelming burden of caring for their child.  An uncle contacted Ezer Mizion, the address for so many who don’t know where to turn. “Until an adoptive family can be found, please, please can Ezer Mizion provide the human love and warmth, so vital to a baby’s well-being?” And that is when he became everyone’s baby. Since then, Refael has not been alone. The Ezer Mizion volunteers surrounded him with tenderness and affection. Day and night, summer and winter, Shabbat and Yom Tov.

One day, the uncle asked Refael’s mother to come and just take a peek at her son. “Just for a moment. Then you’ll leave. You don’t have to go near him. Just a quick look. A mini-visit…” She was hesitant. True, it was just for a moment but emotionally it could take such a toll. She was afraid. “I can’t! i can’t! it’s too much!” The uncle persisted. He called again and again. Eventually, he wore her down. “Just a peak. I won’t go near him. just a quick look.”

She peeked – and was “caught.” She saw him held and oh so loved by a volunteer. She watched as another volunteer came to take over. From across the room, she felt the vibes of their love. For the baby. For her son. In tears, she said, “If Am Yisrael embraces Refael with such devotion, then he isn’t alone anymore…And I am not alone…I’ll have support…Perhaps…Perhaps I can do it. Ezer Mizion will be behind me, I can feel their strength. Perhaps my baby will have a mother after all…”This week, Refael will be released to his home, the home he will see for the first time since his birth.

Love and warmth. That’s what Ezer Mizion is all about. A message appears on the Ezer Mizion Linked to Life screen.  A 28 year old oncology patient is celebrating her birthday…Who is on board to help make her a grand party? I’m in, I’m in…The positive answers instantly clicking in…In no time we have: An awesome cake, balloons, creams, perfume, chocolates, makeup and more.

It’s midnight at the ER. Patients have been waiting for hours. They’re tense and worn out. And then like a dream, the Ezer Mizion stand appears. With snacks and hot drinks. With smiles and encouraging words. Love and warmth — it’s catchy! A posting appeared in the media and a call was received from a mother of Emunah, a Bas Mitzvah girl.  Can she celebrate her daughter’s upcoming Bat Mitzvah by volunteering at the Midnight Stand. Mazal Tov, Emunah. What a beautiful way to celebrate this special milestone.

They don’t forget – those recipients of the Ezer Mizion love. Last week, a woman came to the Ezer Mizion Center to personally deliver a donation to Ezer Mizion and a copy of her new book. “Twenty-four years ago, a few years after we’d moved to Israel, my husband needed a heart transplant. We didn’t know where to start. A friend of mind said, ‘Call Ezer Mizion.’  I remember it as if it was today. Ezer Mizion sent us someone named Benny Meyer. He was an angel. He took us under his wing and guided us step by step through the confusing and painful period. Ever since then, Ezer Mizion holds a special place in my heart. I have an automatic donation going out to them from my account every month and all profits from my new book will go to – where else – Ezer Mizion.  So – here is the first installment…”

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Ezer Mizion on the Front Lines

Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews celebrate during a Lag B'Omer gathering on Mount Meron in northern Israel on April 29, 2021 (David Cohen/Flash90)

Here at Ezer Mizion we are riding the waves of a raging ocean.

What originally started as an effort following the Meron tragedy to assist anyone dealing with trauma, quickly morphed into an emergency service for needs that have risen from the current escalating security situation. With frightening sirens blaring and missiles falling in central Israel, our professional teams are working around the clock and available for the increasing cases of people dealing with fear and anxiety.

From corona back then during those terrifying months to getting back to the “new normal”, living side by side with the covid reality after most of the adult population has either had corona or been vaccinated…

Then came Purim and Pesach with its intense kimcha dePischa (holiday food needs for the poor) campaign and food distribution. On to the spring/summer season, with the hope of opening our summer camps, both those for special needs and those for families dealing with cancer, this season.

Lag BaOmer was our next milestone, when we witnessed how Ezer Mizion quickly switched roles: from an ambulance transport servicing the mobility impaired in their efforts to get to the kever (grave) of the Rashbi in Meron, to a rapid rescue evacuation team for the victims of the Meron tragedy by our trained ambulance driver paramedics….

Our hospital teams worked around the clock to stand by the side of families of the 150 injured patients with food, transportation and support. We immediately opened an information hub to assist concerned family members in locating their loved ones, collaborating with police and other organizations. Our people were with the families at Abu Kabir, the forensic institute where they had to identify their loved ones for burial, a supporting shoulder to lean on at their darkest moments.

In the aftermath of the Meron tragedy, we activated our mental health support hotline to provide urgently need post-trauma support for people who were either at Meron itself, knew someone who was there or just needed support after experiencing terrible vulnerability.

And while still heavily involved in  that role, our emotional support hotlines have morphed to handle calls for emotional support from parents trying to deal with their scared children or loved ones and people in general experiencing anxiety due to the current security situation.

Living under the threat of air raid sirens, terrifying blasts and escalating violence has caused a serious uptick in emotional support needs. Many people are extremely frightened, and understandably so! Ezer Mizion is there for them with our professional team manning our mental health hotline.

In addition, we are sending packages of food to hungry soldiers manning stations in the south and to army camps where civilian entry is permitted.

Transportation to and from the hospital plus regular meals for family members continue as always but now greatly increased due to recent events. Please show your solidarity with the terrified residents of Israel by donating generously. Together we can embrace them in a loving hug of compassion and caring.

Tag your donation with the word ‘crises’ in dedication field. https://www.ezermizion.org/donate-to-ezer-mizion.html

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Hila, the Sleeping Beauty

The following is written by Ricky, Hila’s mother, Hila is 22 years old. For 3 and a half years, she has been fighting a brain tumor that has taken over her body. A talented, smart and beautiful girl, she no longer speaks and is basically immobilized and blind. Her devoted mother cares for her in a hospice setting at home. May the miracle her family is waiting for soon appear  bringing  a complete recovery.

The flowers in the garden blossom, as they do every spring.

And my lovely Hila, the “sleeping beauty,” barely communicates with me.

She lies there, serene, her hair gathered in a ponytail and her face pristine and pretty, with an aura of tranquility.

And my heart contracts. And aches.

Have I despaired of miracles? Will we merit that miracle that we are waiting for?

That she should arise?

Wake up?

Speak to me?

Call me “Imush,” like she always did?

Please!

Rip the heavens with your prayers for our precious Hila.

Pray for Hila Malka Chaya bat Rivka Ricky.

Perhaps a tremendous miracle will yet happen here, a giant wonder that will be spoken about for years.

Words are too small to describe the terrible time we are enduring. It is almost too difficult to bear.

And then all kinds of sweet people with huge hearts appear and we are filled with strength and are comforted.

That is what our trip with Hila was yesterday, in Ezer Mizion’s ambulance.

Shlomo, the driver, took us to the doctor (who says that there is nothing more to do).

Such graciousness, goodwill and caring for our beloved daughter, who is struggling for her life and suffering so much.

Like all the Ezer Mizion drivers, he did so much to help Hila: he came early, drove slowly and was so gentle when he lifted her stretcher in and out of the ambulance.

So kind and thoughtful.

May there be many more like him among our people …

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Meron for the Disabled

Every year on Lag Ba’Omer, thousands of Jews from all over the world traditionally gather at Rav Shimon Bar Yocha’s grave in Meron. Everyone comes with their personal story, their struggles and challenges to pray and beg for a salvation. It’s a powerful opportunity nobody wants to miss. But for many people – the elderly, disabled, wheelchair bound and handicapped,  transport complications are way too difficult. For the last 15 years,  Ezer Mizion has overcome a myriad of logistics and  set up an ambulance headquarter around the base of the  Meron mountain, shuttling people from the many parking lots up the mountain, straight to the grave.

At the entrance to Meron is our main headquarter with staff coordinating the requests throughout the day from the many people whose disabilities prevent them from hiking up the mountain.

Our 15 ambulances plus vans transport over 2000 people enabling them to pray on this day of holiness.  The meeting point provides shelters with shaded tents and plenty of drinks for people waiting to be taken back down the mountain.

This awesome operation has received full backing and cooperation from the “National Center for Holy Sites” and the Israel Police

In the merit of all of us working together to provide the funds that enable the vulnerable to partake of this opportunity, may all our prayers be answered!

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Ahuvi

My legs are disabled but my mind is doing just fine

For most of us, the word ‘I’ permeates our conversation. I feel, I believe, I am worried about. But what exactly is that ’I’ ? We don’t think so much about the question since our various parts work together. We think of an idea, dial a friend to discuss it, click on the mouse to research it, walk to the appropriate place to procure what we need. But then there are the people whose parts do not work together. They’re bright, intelligent, creative. They have opinions. An idea may percolate in their minds but they are not able to make the phone call, use a computer, walk to the nearest store, speak to friends. And so the idea remains. Crying to be developed. Aching to be shared with others. Eventually deteriorating and dying the death of all its predecessors. And the ‘I’? The ‘I’ becomes embittered and withers away into nothingness.

There it stands, a picturesque chalet surrounded by luxuriant foliage in a rustic village located in Nechalim. From a distance it exudes a quiet loveliness but come closer and you’ll see that it is anything but quiet. Everywhere you look, there are motorized wheelchairs and their owners are going from here to there, busy, busy, busy, very intent on achieving their goals. Their goals are many – these severely handicapped young people. Some are unable to walk, others unable to speak but all have talents, opinions, desires.

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Shine a Little Light and Win Big Prizes

Things can be bad. But they’re worse when you have to face them alone.

Take Avi, for example. He was in elementary school when his parents got the news: Cancer.

The lights went out. Their lives turned dark.

Uncertainty. Which treatment should we pursue? Is a bone marrow transplant the best option?

Concern. How would we juggle his treatment and still care for the rest of the family?

Fear. Would Avi make it?

His parents watched as the light went out — it dimmed from Avi’s eyes, it disappeared from their home. The darkness shadowed over their family, as it does for thousands of families across the world. Avi’s is far from the only one.

But whether dealing with cancer, mental health, or special needs — there’s a glow in the dark. There’s an organization that shines a little light and helps them navigate the darkness.

Ezer Mizion gets 650,000 calls a year. They answer each one. Yes, we will be there for you.

We will guide you through treatments.

We will drop off hot dinners.

We will find you a matching donor.

We will provide mental health support.

We will send volunteers to the hospital.

How do they do it? What does it take to change a family’s world for the better?

Not much — just a little bit of light chases away the darkness. Ezer Mizion is holding a historic auction — one of the largest ever — and with each ticket that you purchase, you have the ability to replace darkness with light.

The auction features dozens of brilliant prizes, and with tickets starting at just $18, you can win anything from your dream vacation to your own Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) or from home renovations to jewelry. The two grand prizes give you the chance to win $100,000 cash or your own late-model car. By participating in Ezer Mizion’s auction, you can help the organization to keep glowing.

This year, because of COVID, not only did Ezer Mizion’s income lessen, but their call volume rose astronomically. More people than ever are relying on the organization and, more than ever, Ezer Mizion is relying on you.

Families in Israel and around the world are relying on Ezer Mizion. You’re the one with the power to turn on the light.

Purchase your tickets at emraffle.org today and be their glow in the dark.

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Manufacturing Smiles

The phone rings at Ezer Mizion. Calls come all day, usually from people undergoing horrific crises. This time there was a smile in the voice of the caller. A young boy had completed his chemo treatments and his Bar Mitzvah was coming right up. There was no time to prepare. Can Ezer Mizion help? ’We’d love to,’ the rep answered, happy to be part of a joyful event. As soon as the call ended, the phone was again pressed into service.  Volunteers were needed asap. A sweet table including a personalized Bar mitzvah cake. And petit fours. And creative pastries galore. And drivers to deliver. And volunteers to set up tastefully with elegant tableware. And a popular singer. And a keyboard player. And a gift of a fancy watch presented by the director of Ezer Mizion’s Community Cancer Support Division And…and. Yitzchok, our hero, danced and danced…round and round, holding the hands of everyone who loved him while  the guests cried tears of joy, of gratitude, of hope, of prayer.  

An Ezer Mizion director shares her experience:

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Rx for Cancer: Fun! Fun! Fun!

The two go hand in hand. Chemotherapy and emotional therapy. A patient’s spirits become a powerful partner in the battle against illness.  While Ezer Mizion is not able to provide chemotherapy, we search every nook and cranny for ways to bring joy to the patient and his family. The creativity of the professional staff supported by thousands of dedicated volunteers are in the business of manufacturing smiles on the faces of those who haven’t smiled in days.

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