The Only Thing that’s Impossible Is Saying No

“There’s nothing like Ezer Mizion!” These are the words of a grateful employee who…we’ll let her tell her story.

“On Friday afternoon, my niece’s little girl came home from gan with a high fever. She was put to bed but, only a few minutes later,  there in the thick of her erev Shabbos (pre-Sabbath) cooking, ‘something’ pushed my niece to check on her. As her mother stood there in the doorway, the child turned blue, then purple, then black. Terrified, my niece ran outside holding her daughter and screaming for help.  The end of part one is that the hospital diagnosed it as a genetic reaction to sudden high temperatures. The drama was over but now came the practical questions. If they were released on Shabbos (Sabbath) where would they go? My niece was expecting and traumatized. And, in addition, they would want to be near a hospital just in case. So I dialed the number that is often first on the list of every shaken family member. Within moments, I received a call back. A suite is reserved for her at Oranit, Ezer Mizion’s guest home for families dealing with cancer. A lovely suite with all the trimmings. My niece couldn’t stop thanking them. And me? I couldn’t be more proud to be part of the Ezer Mizion family.

She may be right, you know, when she says there’s nothing like Ezer Mizion. What would she have said had she seen Moriah enter Oranit to put smiles on the faces of young cancer patients. What’s unusual about that, you ask. True, it was Moriah’s regular day to come. She comes every week. But today was… her wedding day. Busy? Certainly. But she’s never miss her weekly visit with Ezer Mizion’s cancer kids.

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A Golden-Ager’s Day

An Elderly Holocaust Survivor ‘Comes Home’.

Reb Mordechai was a ninety year old holocaust survivor. On the outside, he was a bent over, frail old man. But on the inside, there lived the memories of a robust, courageous soldier who fought alongside Rabbi Goren in the battle to liberate the Kosel (Western Wall). He trembles with spiritual joy as he recalls the first time he put on t’fillin (phylacteries) at the kosel. ‘Ribono shel Olom (G-d), we’re here!’ his soul cried out. And now, at the twilight of life, he yearned to re-experience that intimate nearness to his Creator. Not that many years ago, he would simply hop on the #1 bus but now, in his senior years, that was impossible. And so he continued to dream, knowing deep inside that there was no way his dream could become reality.

And so it would have continued had he not shared his dream with an acquaintance. Who knew someone…who knew someone…who knew someone who worked in Ezer Mizion. ‘A Make-a-Wish’ program? For elderly, holocaust survivors? Could it possibly happen?’

There were many details to iron out but one day, his heart singing with joy, Reb Mordechai found himself waiting outside the senior citizen home where he lived for the ambulance fully equipped for the mobility challenged.

What a day it was! He was welcomed by a representative of the Kotel Heritage Foundation who brought him to visit the Western Wall Chain of Generation Center. He received a gift of a sefer Tehilim (book of Psalms) with a personal inscription by the Rabbi of the Kotel. Throughout the day he regaled everyone he met with his stories about the battles for the Kotel and Me’aarat Hamachpelah during the Six Day War, keeping his listeners spellbound. 

And then the climax. There it was. What he had seen only in pictures for so many years. In pictures and in his mind’s eye. There it was. Right in front of him. Its stones seeming to reach out to embrace their beloved son. His soul raced towards it, the ambulance driver barely able to keep up. His fingers touched their holiness. His hands shaking, he wrapped himself in his t’fillin. V’erastich li l’olom…(G-d, I am bethrothed to You forever)

Ezer Mizion’s Golden Age Division empowers Israel’s elderly population – many of them Holocaust survivors – to live out their years in comfort, dignity and satisfaction. The Golden Age Division offers an array of services and programs to seniors throughout Israel, including professional home care, social clubs, a make-a-wish program, Alzheimer’s intervention, a home repair program, and more.

In addition, all of Ezer Mizion’s standard services are available to the elderly: food distribution, ambulance and transport, and medical equipment loan are but a few of Ezer Mizion’s programs that benefit Israel’s elderly.

Ezer Mizion’s Fulfilling A Dream program offers the elderly the opportunity 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.

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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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Just like the Doctor Ordered

Dementia hurts…

It was three years ago that we heard those words. Words that seemed to have no connection to our lively, personable, on the ball, highly intelligent and perceptive 56 year old father. Dementia? Impossible. But yet the signs were there.  We knew Ezer Mizion had a full program for young dementia patients but we didn’t want our father to be young dementia patient. We ran from doctor to doctor, desperate for a cure. Something to erase the words we were hearing, to make them go away.  The doctors were kind. Each one had a different idea. They ranged from sessions in a pressure chamber to brain surgery. Then came the sixth doctor, who maybe was actually the seventh, the eighth, or the ninth, who’s counting?

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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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Bringing the ‘Me’ Back to Life for the Elderly

The Ezer Mizion ‘One Wish’ program is in full swing.   Countless holocaust survivors residing in nursing home facilities have already benefited. The program attempts to meet the need of these precious elderly whose daily life often places them in a one-size-fits-all situation in which their individual past life, their specific interests and opinions have no place to flourish. Too often, the senior’s sense of self begins to wither and die. They have a name. They have a lifetime of past experiences.   But the ‘me’ slowly fades away and they become not much more than a room number.

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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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Virtual Clubs for Seniors

In an effort to ease the loneliness and solitude of Israel’s seniors who are homebound due to fragile health and corona regulations and precautions, Ezer Mizion is shifting its live activity clubs to virtual platforms. Many of the seniors that we are targeting had been attending activity clubs, fitness programs, lectures and various programs at Ezer Mizion, filling their time with stimulating, enjoyable social activities. The virtual clubs will include seniors who participated in the clubs before corona as well as additional new members.

Stuck at home now, lacking ways to fill their time, missing social interactions and needing cognitive stimulus, many elders are suffering greatly. They will be happy for opportunities to safely connect with others and participate remotely in activities that will stimulate them cognitively, physically and emotionally.

To ease the transition to the virtual platform and ensure ease of use for the seniors, we will be using tablets that have been adapted specifically for the senior population with the most simple user formats possible. The cost of each tablet is $415.  The tablet, which includes adapted hardware, software and technical support will be provided by Ezer Mizion for free as a precondition for participating in the clubs.

Ezer Mizion has chosen 50 seniors for this pilot project.  They will be meeting in groups of 12 to 15 participants twice weekly for exercise, lectures, activities, sing-alongs, laughing yoga and more.  They will also be able to make use of the device to interact socially with their peers and family throughout the week as well as keeping in touch with their doctor and kupat cholim (HMO) for health maintenance.  The next phase of the project will expand the virtual activity club to 150 homebound seniors who are being serviced by Ezer Mizion homecare attendants.

Project Goals Include:  

  • Strengthening sense of belonging to a social group
  • Easing feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Reinforcing a sense of return to something familiar
  • Tension and anxiety relief, increasing motivation
  • Preservation and enhancement of cognitive capabilities
  • Maintaining connection, improving function
  • Promoting positive, healthy routine

At Ezer Mizion, we view this project as life giving!  Reigniting our precious seniors with the will to live, proving to them their essential value as a person and their importance to the group and our team, easing their loneliness, enhancing their cognition, their social interaction and their quality of life. To check out the tablets watch this clip: https://youtu.be/_fgoJRajDVo

Year 1 Project Costs

Cost of each tablet: $415 (C$545)

Cost of 50 tablets for pilot phase: $20,800 (C$16,900)

One year operating cost: $30,000 Your tablet sponsorship and project support will enable Ezer Mizion to infuse the lives of these seniors with hope, with renewal, with a will to live, enriching the fabric of our society. Donor recognition available with a dedication on each tablet sponsored.

Your gift will that smile to our precious seniors. Please donate with ‘tablets for seniors’ in memo.

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One Wish from the World of Yesteryear

A View Of The Monfort Lake, Israel Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 53062937.

The scene is typical at Montfort Lake in Israel. A lone man casts his fishing rod breaking the shimmering lake’s surface. His pail is already filled with trout for the family supper that evening. A father helps his youngsters into a rowboat cautioning them to close their life jackets with care.   A newlywed couple strolls around the lake’s edge. And then there is the Ezer Mizion group. Not the typical. They are in their eighties and nineties. No boating or fishing for them. But the memories…They, too, had once loved the lake. It may have been a lifetime ago but in their hearts there is the same joy of yesteryear when they were young. The weather was perfect. The view magnificent. They sang. They engaged in sports suitable for the golden-ager. This most sublime day was topped with a cookout, a marvelous treat for our survivors whose three meals a day are eaten in the nursing home dining room.

This special day was part of Ezer Mizion’s One Wish Program whose purpose is to enable the elderly holocaust survivor living in a nursing home to emerge from the ‘just a number’ syndrome and once again experience his favorite activities.

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One Wish: Reconnecting to the Real World

pr golden- One Wish- Reb Aharon - kosel OK TO USEReb Aharon is a 106 year old holocaust survivor. Many years ago, he underwent, like so many others, traumatic experiences that no human being should know of. Yet he remained strong and built a religious life for himself. Those of us who did not live through the holocaust cannot fathom the strength it took to do so. And now he asked for a bit of help from us. It had been so long since he visited the kotel. He yearned to touch its precious stones once again. Would it at all be possible? As part of Ezer Mizion One Wish program for holocaust survivors, problems, one after the other, were solved and, like a dream, there he was.  He was trembling with emotion as he, a Kohen (priest), blessed his family members there at his beloved Wall. May G-d…… the words seemed to float in the pure, holy air surrounding the Western Wall. Reb Aharon had come home.

For other survivors, lowered cognitive   levels did not allow them to choose a favorite activity for their wish. Other ways of bringing them to greater awareness of their surroundings had to be found. A medical clown  was invited to visit the home. Their increased focus, their happy smiles were evidence of a very successful performance.

Best Friends
Best Friends

Still others, a group of animal lovers, were treated to a show starring Ezer Mizion’s therapy dogs. The seniors played with the dogs, stroked them, fed them, and enjoyed watching them do tricks. They were engaged! For some, it seemed almost miraculous. One step forwards out of the tunnel of confusion and non-awareness that they had been living in.

Ziniada lived in the nursing home 24/7. Imagine her joy when she was treated to a trip to one of her favorites from a lifetime ago, Big Fashion Mall in Ashdod.

pr golden 1 wish b-dy party-hands onlyMoshe of Givatayim was turning 101 years old! His body may not be as mobile as in his younger years but his mind was sharp and lucid and he was much loved by his family and fellow residents. His daughter asked that he be treated to a birthday party together with his friends at the home. The atmosphere was electric!  The singing emotive! The deep joy gratifying! And Moshe was showered by blessings by those who loved him.

One of the many thank you notes from a daughter who accompanied her father on a One Wish trip:

Dear Adi and Ora❤❤🌺,

I took the sticker off his jacket and put it straight on the photo (that hangs on my refrigerator.

I am speechless. Any thanks I express will not come close by any measure to what I experienced and felt today. You excited us as much as a cruise around the world on a luxury liner would have (a cruise doesn’t even come close!)… Today, thanks to you, I experienced something wonderful that will stay with me forever…

Thank you! 🌻🙏❣

You do holy work! 🎈🎈🎈

All strength to you!! 🙏🙏🙏Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail