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.
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)!
When things go smooth, we tend to forget that it may not be the norm everywhere. Should we move to a different location, our expectations may be in for a shock. A man recovering from a broken leg is released from the hospital to complete his recuperation at home. He is given the necessary equipment upon his release. Of course. How else can he manage?! It wouldn’t occur to us to think differently. Unless we move to another country. In Israel, the released patient is accompanied with – nothing. He is on his own. Insurance will cover certain items but the roll of red tape is l-o-o-o-o-ng. If he is unable to purchase or borrow, what is he to do?
Ezer Mizion, the answer to so many problems, maintains a Service Hub in many hospitals. A family member can stop by and a friendly, trained rep will provide him with what is needed at no cost until he has recuperated or the insurance sends a replacement. Medical advice is also available at the Hub through the Ezer Mizion Medical Referral Division. At the Hub, he can discuss obtaining a home aide from Ezer Mizion’s Home Attendant Division. Should he need transportation that will accommodate mobility challenges, that, too, can be arranged at the Hub through Ezer Mizion’s Transportation Division. Ezer Mizion Linked to Life Division will arrange rides for family members to visit him while he is hospitalized. Do the family members require meals while they are at his bedside? A quick stop at the Service Hub can have that arranged via Ezer Mizion’s Food Division. Is the family worn out and in need of volunteers to take over shifts at the hospital? This also will be taken care of at the Service Hub. In short, the Hub is the liaison between the bewildered, exhausted, often helpless family and Ezer Mizion’s many services.
Recently Ezer Mizion’s Modi’in Ilit branch coordinated the inauguration of Ezer Mizion’s Service Hub at the Shamir – Assaf Harofeh Hospital to serve patients and their families.
The event took place in the plaza near the hospital’s Emergency Room, with the participation of Israel’s Chief Rabbi David Lau shlita, Ezer Mizion International Chairman Chananya Chollak, Hospital Director Dr. Osnat Lev-Zion Korach, hospital department heads, medical and administrative staff, and directors of other Ezer Mizion branches and services.
Stirring speeches were delivered. Everyone wished Ezer Mizion’s Modi’in Ilit Branch administrators much success with the project and congratulated the trained volunteers. Wishes were expressed for additional collaborations in the future and that the service hub that was opened should provide a response for every person who needs assistance in the hospital and following release.
Rabbi Chollak was given the honor of affixing the mezuzah in the room designated as the on-site branch service hub. He blessed the hospital and branch administrators for joining together with Ezer Mizion to better the situation for the hospital patient and his family.
It’s Thursday morning and the door opens. He walks slowly but with purpose. He knows he needed. Eliezer Cohen is eighty- nine years old. He may not be as young and spry as he had been fifty years ago but his fingers are skilled and his expertise is still needed. Continue reading A Holocaust Survivor Gives Back