If You See Something, Do Something

If you see something, do something. A good credo to live by but rare is the person who does so. We’re not bad people. Just a bit lazy. Maybe unwilling to veer off or normal routine or go out of our comfort zone. We may want to help but don’t know how. We’re too shy to approach a person, afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. And so we remain where we are imprisoned by our insecurities, in our own bubble, as they secretly cry within themselves thinking that no one cares.

Giving

Not so Chilik, a dedicated Ezer Mizion volunteer. He saw something. He saw families beset by serious illness with not a second to spare as they rushed through their day trying to juggle work, family and care of a loved one. He saw his own wife poring over her recipe book to decide on the tastiest meals for Yom Tov (holidays). She spent hours shopping and then in the kitchen creating the culinary delights to make Yom Tov special.  And he thought of those other families.    There was not a moment in their daily schedules to make any Yom Tov preparations and even if there were, there was no headspace for anything except the latest doctor’s prognosis.

Chilik saw something and he did something.  He made the rounds of grocery stores asking for product donations. Potato knishes and cheese blintzes for a chol hamoed supper. Those cute little fish sticks ready to pop into the oven. A giant bag of barbecue chips? The kids will be so excited.  Chocolate bars. Sandwich cookies. Cotton candy – a case of pink for girls and a case of blue for the boys. Boxes of assorted chocolates for the adults. Chicken already barbecued to perfection. An array of cold cuts to suit every palate. Cases of soda and apple juice. Yom Tov paper goods. The list goes on and on.

Chilik then approached his friends who opened their hearts and donated money to enable these families to order their personal preferences. Who could resist Chilik’s impassioned plea!

And then came the climax of Chilik’s project. Delivery Day! Each box was neatly packed. Each item wrapped in heartfelt caring. Each bell answered in disbelief and joy. Faces that hadn’t smiled in days were covered with smiles and enormous relief.

“How did you know?!”

“This is amazing!”

“You thought of everything!”

“The children will be thrilled!”

That’s our Chilik! He saw something and jumped right in to do something. Discomfort, shyness – they fell by the wayside because he understood that this was not about him and he made their needs the center of his efforts. Chilik, like all the Ezer Mizion volunteers, has truly absorbed the Ezer Mizion motto: We’re there when it hurts.

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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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From the Ezer Mizion Files

To the staff at the Ezer Mizion kitchen,

Hot Meals for Families Dealing with Serious Illness

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve loved the kitchen, with all its secrets, magic, and aromas. At age ten, I functioned like a young chef. After I got married, I opened a boutique catering business at home for pastries and specialty dishes, and this served as an adequate source of income for our young family.

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Whenever, Wherever, Whatever

Royalty Free Clipart Image: Coffee Sitting on a Bistro Cafe Table | Cafe  tables, Table, Homemade chai tea
The Dream of an Elderly Senior

A simple pleasure. One that many people experience on a daily basis. But for Luba, an elderly holocaust survivor, it was never in the forefront of her plans for the day. Now as she reaches her golden years and resides in a senior living home, she discovered the enjoyment of sitting in a café.  Through Ezer Mizion’s Make-A-Wish program which enables the holocaust survivor to strengthen his feelings of ‘me’ by choosing a treat of their own liking, Luba’s friend had requested to re-experience a visit to a café. Traveling to a real one was out of the question for her. Ezer Mizion therefore simulated a café on the grounds of the home. The friend invited Luba and in this way, Luba experienced the enjoyment she had missed in her younger years. Now it was her turn to ‘make a wish. Without a moment’s hesitation, she said, “I want to go to a real cafe.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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Wherever, Whatever, Whenever We’re Needed

Giving…with all our heart

Do you know where Kiryat Shemoneh is? Many people have never heard of it.  It’s a-l-l the way up North in Israel. Somewhere out there at the far, far end of the country. Geographically so distant from the nearest metropolis.  A bit lonely, perhaps, but certainly not alone.   Even there, Ezer Mizion’s dedicated volunteer works hard to prepare Shabbat meals for a lonely patient, spiced with lots of love. She does it together with dozens of other volunteers, who share one giant heart. Together they arrange meals for patients and their families for weekdays and Shabbat, feeding dozens of patients, adults and children, dispersed throughout the North, from Netanya all the way up to Kiryat Shemoneh

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A Newborn Meets His Mommy

Volunteer providing TLC until Mommy is ready to accept him

Were you ever in a quandary not knowing where to turn? Did you automatically feel a need to turn to Mommy even though you are a Mommy yourself now and maybe even a grandmother? Of course, you did. A mother seems all-knowing, all-powerful . She can fix anything or so it seemed  in memories of childhood. And how did she obtain such powers?  Through one source only: her great love and caring. And so perhaps that is why hundreds of thousands turn to Ezer Mizion no matter what they need. It begins from above, from Rav Chananya Cholak, the founder of Ezer Mizion, and permeates to each staff member and volunteer…that tremendous love and sensitivity, that outpouring respect and caring. It forms the very fabric of Ezer Mizion.  And so the phone rang.

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What’s In It for Me?

Jumping on a trampoline cannot cure cancer but it can surely bring smiles enabling the spirit to enhance the body’s ability to fight its battle.

“What’s in it for me?” the average person asks. A new project…a new suggestion. How will I gain? Some will ask it outright. The more refined will ask only in their thoughts. But the ever—present ego accompanies our every move.

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Second Day of Retirement

She had plans for retirement but…

During the past year, Ima (mother) planned her life after retirement. Ima is a woman who is young in spirit. She worked hard all her life; she would go to work at a quarter to seven in the morning and come home exhausted in the late afternoon hours.

On the first day of her retirement, all of the children and grandchildren came to celebrate with her. We prepared a festive meal and a game based on our memories of Ima’s working days, which were an inseparable part of the beautiful childhood she gave us. It was a beautiful evening, full of family reminiscences. We all wished Ima many good, healthy years and that she should succeed in filling them with all of her wonderful plans, and each of us went on her way.

The next day, Ima had a stroke. Abba found her lying unconscious on the kitchen floor when he came back from prayer services. All of the smiles and happiness of yesterday turned into hot tears. For twenty-four hours that felt like an eternity, Ima fought for her life. When we saw a small smile on the doctor’s face, we heaved a sigh of relief. He reported that Ima had survived the stroke, but that a long and complex period of rehabilitation lay before her. It was a good thing that we didn’t know what the future held, because we might have given up then and there.

I met your first volunteer at Tel Hashomer, when I was looking for a ride to take me home so I could rest a bit. He told me about “Linked to Life,” your myriad of volunteers who are connected online and who respond to requests for rides from hospitals. He gave me the number of headquarters. That was our first contact. I cannot even describe the amount of help we got from you — the information, the encouragement, the costly medical equipment that you lent us for Ima’s rehabilitation, the nourishing meals you brought every single day, the countless taxi rides that you saved us…Please understand that it was not only the money you saved us but the hassle of dealing with rides when we had no emotional energy left. The Ezer Mizion drivers took all the hassle upon themselves and bent over backwards to make things easy for us, physically and emotionally.

Ezer Mizion transportation services available for family members to and from hospital

Yesterday Ima returned home after many long months. It is self-understood that it was your ambulance that brought her home and that your volunteer sent a cake… In the evening, I sat with Abba. He was tired but happy about Ima’s return. Then he took out a paper where he’d made an accounting, to the best of his ability, of all the money you saved us since Ima’s stroke. We couldn’t believe what a large sum it had come to! Abba wrote a check from Ima’s monthly pension (attached), in tremendous appreciation to the organization that stands behind all the wonderful people that we met! But all the emotional support, all the handling of logistics again and again and again—that can never be paid back. You really strengthened us! Tizku l’mitzvos smeichos (may you merit to continue your mitzvos)!

Countless patients have returned home after being released from hospital via Ezer Mizion transportation services. Countless more are able to go to dialysis, therapy, clinic appointments etc. only because of Ezer Mizion transportation services.

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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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