When a person wakes up each day with the thought of how can I make things better for someone else, then answers seem to abound. Rabbi Chananya Chollak, founder of Ezer Mizion, is such a person. The most recent idea has been collaboration with Chasdei Naomi to brighten the lives of hundreds of holocaust survivors on the Yom Tov of Shavuot. These very special heroes often live on a fixed income. Their food expenditures are perforce minimal and only the lower cost items enter their kitchens. Continue reading Giving Again and Again and Again
In light of the increase in the number of patients in Beersheba and the environs and a sharp rise in their needs, representatives of Ezer Mizion-Southern Region approached the Bet Moriah community and suggested a collaboration between Ezer Mizion and community volunteers. Continue reading The Negev Comes to Life
Some say that the new generation is steeped in materialism and can’t see past their ipod screens. Is it true? A recent event in Israel honoring junior volunteers yielded some surprises.
Last summer, M, a sixth grader, noticed something strange going on in her neighbor’s home. Continue reading Volunteering: What the Kids Have Discovered
Giving. It’s the wheel that makes the world go around. Some people have discovered its joys and thrive on ‘being there’ for a friend or neighbor with a problem. The Kakoons are such a family. Avrohom Kakoon acts as a chazzan (cantor) and spiritual leader at his shul (synagogue). In his spare time, he also volunteers as an emergency respondent for Hatzalah. His wife, Rina, volunteers as a doula, coaches new mothers and young families in managing their home and in parenting, and also cooks and bakes for families of women after birth. As infants, their seven children imbibed the satisfaction that accompanies giving and the sense of responsibility for those less fortunate. Helping families after birth, running a used clothing center, mentoring youngsters in the community. Driving an ambulance, heading a branch of United Hatzalah, helping out families in the community who are undergoing crises, activity clubs for young people in the community. The Kakoon siblings are involved in all of these. How can they not be? It was the ambience in the home they grew up in.
When the family discovered Ezer Mizion, they clicked with the organization like a magnet to a paper clip. An entity that does not recognize 9-5 hours, whose founder routinely gives out his private cell phone number to recently orphaned children and tells them to call anytime, whose teenage volunteers vie with their friends to obtain an unpaid position in Ezer Mizion’s summer camp for special kids… Ezer Mizion was the perfect partner for the Kakoons.
They helped out in any way they could. One has even undertaken to head the Ezer Mizion’s Modi’in Linked to Life group and another its counterpart in the Migdal HaEmek area. Linked to Life is a What’s App Center which connects people throughout Israel and even Europe, the US and Canada in order to provide for the needs of people around the globe. A surgical device is needed and can’t wait for regular mail. A man from Eretz Yisroel forgot his vital medication and realizes it only when he a several thousand feet in the air, on his way to California. A wheelchair-bound young man living in the North would like to spend Pesach with his family in Jerusalem and needs a ride in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Hundreds of people like this are constantly being helped by heads of groups like the Kakoons and the volunteers who drop what they are doing at a buzz of their phone and race out to help a person in trouble.
Avrohom and Rina planted strong seeds which continue to flourish into the next generation. Last summer vacation, while her peers were having fun in the pool and park, Avivah, a granddaughter, discovered another kind of fun. She gathered a group of friends and set up a refreshment stand. The girls popped popcorn and prepared gallons of drinks to sell to passersby. The money? It was donated to Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division to help sick children, of course. Ezer Mizion welcomes Avivah as its newest volunteer and awaits her latest ideas to help those less fortunate than herself. Congratulations, Avivah! You have discovered the much sought after key to happiness.
You may have sat next to her on the bus to Yerushalayim. Her name is Esther and she looks like any other typical frum woman. She doesn’t wear a sign but she is one of those special Ezer Mizion women who glow with the satisfaction that comes with giving. She already changed busses and has been traveling for almost two hours with another arduous trip to look forward to at the end of the day. Maybe she’ll sleep a bit on the way home. She’s going to be tired. Very tired. She will be spending several hours at the home of a mother who has given birth to multiples. What will she be doing there? It’s different each time. Some mothers can’t face the ever-growing pile of laundry and apologetically ask her if she can tackle it. It means the world to their emotional well-being to know that every sock in its right place. Continue reading No Salary Is the Best Salary
Personal Status: Single
Residence: Kefar Ganim Gimmel, Petach Tikvah
Occupation: High school student, Ulpanat Yeshurun
Volunteering areas: Volunteers at Oranit, Ezer Mizion’s Guest Home for cancer patients undergoing treatments at nearby hospitals (and their families).
As part of a group of volunteer youth, Doriel also goes to the Pediatric Oncology Ward at Schneider to play with the patients, cheer them up, laugh, roughhouse with them, and otherwise dispel their boredom and pain.
Insights: The volunteering and the personal connection made with the patients and their families is tremendously fulfilling. Each child, each family, steps into your heart and becomes an inseparable part of your personal life. The volunteering offers opportunities for tremendous joy, like when you manage to get a smile or a good laugh from one of the patients. The distinction between what is important and what is trivial in life becomes so clear. It develops your gratitude to Hashem for what he gave you, for your physical and emotional health. The suffering that is seen there breaks down all your defensive barriers of apathy and forces you to be sensitive to those around you, to stretch out a helping hand, to give a warm hug, and to experience a feeling of genuine caring towards every person who needs it.”
Bella Stern’s math lesson: When you have less, give away more and the total will increase.
It’s a tried and true method, says Mrs. Stern. It works every time. Mrs. Stern is past seventy and paralyzed from the waist down due to polio which she contracted as a child. She moves around with heavy leg braces on crutches. Many people who knew her from phone conversations are shocked when they meet her in person, never realizing the challenging physical condition she endures with such cheer and optimism. Continue reading Bella Stern’s Math Lesson
The K. family’s living room was well-lit. But neither the sparkling chandeliers nor the glowing fluorescents could banish the darkness that prevailed there.
As long as there were only suspicions and conjectures, they managed to somehow suppress them. But when the unequivocal results arrived, they could not ignore the facts anymore. The father of the family, the supporting pillar, the broad shoulders that carried the entire family – was diagnosed with cancer.
Malka felt as if the sky had crashed down on her. At night, on the tear-drenched pillow on the ward, she had a frightening dream, blacker than black. Continue reading Light in the Tunnel (Mishpacha 12/14)
Yated Ne’eman – Yated Hashavua
Sept. 19, 2014
By: Y. Shalev
“YOU ARE OUR ANGELS” – A DAY OF SHARING THE BURDEN – WITH RABBI CHANANYA CHOLLAK AND THE EZER MIZION VOLUNTEERS IN THE TOUGHEST HOSPITAL WARDS
“Ko’ach Ezer” – All-Embracing Help
At the entrance to the Oncology Ward, the world stops. A fight for life rages in every room, in every bed. And as in war, there are many forces involved: doctors and nurses, relatives and friends, social workers, medical clowns, and more. Each one and his job, each one and his part in the battle * But hovering over them all is the “Iron Dome” of Ezer Mizion, there at the ready to intercept every challenge, remove every obstacle that appears on the way, and take care of all the auxiliary matters, so that the people fighting for their lives can focus on the battle, and with Hashem’s help, get past it safely.
A hum of whispers accompanies Rabbi Chananya Chollak’s entrance to the ward. Doctors and staff members alike, parents and children, all look up to him with reverent eyes. This is the man who stands behind the two-word phrase, “Ezer Mizion,” a phrase that personifies for them the light within the darkness, the warm, enveloping embrace in rocky, frightening times.
Those who recognize Rabbi Chollak quickly inform the others of the identity of the one who came in, and they too join in eying the man who stands behind all the good angels filling the ward around the clock, all in one, single goal: to help relieve the patients’ burden.
But Rabbi Chollak does not seem to register the looks of reverence. Continue reading Interviews at the Hospital
Oct. 6, 2014
By: Shaul Weiss
“Redeem Us for the Sake of Your Chessed!”
At this time, a new year of activity has opened at Ezer Mizion. With the conclusion of the past year, the organization sums up its work in the many different divisions operating all year with unflagging dedication. The statistics, only a small part of which are publicized, reveal the scope of Ezer Mizion’sbroad, unprecedented chessed activity.
Ezer Mizion’s devoted volunteers report to Oncology Units across the country, day and night, to be there for the patients and their families. The large organization, with its roster of unique services, envelops patients and their families with unstinting help to ease their difficult battle for life as much as possible.
As of the beginning of 5775, Ezer Mizion’s volunteer network numbers more than 15,500 members in dozens of population centers across the country. 650,000 meals were distributed over the past year to the ill, elderly, and needy. More than 724,000 potential donors are registered at present in Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry. Thanks to this registry, third largest in the world, 1,600 life-saving transplants have already taken place.
More statistics: Over 80,000 medical and rehabilitative devices and equipment were loaned at no cost this past year and more than 78,900 patients and handicapped individuals were transported by ambulances and volunteer drivers. Thousands of children with special needs were cared for by the Special Children’s Division, tens of thousands of calls came in to the Medical Counseling Center, thousands of people required counseling, care, and rehabilitation at the Mental Health Division, thousands of seniors benefited from projects and services at the Geriatric Division, 407 families of Alzheimer’s patients received assistance at Ezer Mizion’s Tzipora Fried Center, 57 chessed branches operated under the organization’s auspices, helping over 670,000 people.