Be happy and proud, fellow Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life members!!! Until you are there (like I am) you cannot know how vital is the chessed we do. Our son, Motty, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Since the diagnosis, he’s already undergone two complex brain surgeries to remove the growth, both of which met with great success, thanks to the Jewish nation’s prayers!
These days make us feel like a little child who depends on the adult crossing the street with him for his safety. That is exactly how we feel: that Hashem is holding our hand and is walking us through all parts of this life journey.
And only when you are there, in the hospital ward with the other children at home and it’s time to light Chanukah candles and the other children are waiting for a smile from Abba or Ima, but you’re not there…You call Linked to Life and in moments, its ‘magic carpet’ whisks you away to where your heart is.
When she was in Auschwitz, Malka did not believe there would be any future for her. Yet here she is now at the age of 101 (!) with children grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-greats. She is so grateful for what she has but she wants more. More family time. More nachas. She hasn’t seen her family for months And so she opted to take the covid vaccine. But taking the vaccine was easier said than done. How will she get to the HMO where it is given? It didn’t take long for her to remember the number that everyone in Israel knows by heart and call Ezer Mizion to discuss her plight. “Of course,’ came the cheery reply. “Ezer Mizion Ambulance Service will set up an appointment for you. They will carry you downstairs in a wheelchair if need be, help you every step of the way and then take you home again, all vaccinated, soon ready to see your family once again.
“Prepare a meal for a senior? No problem. Give me the address and I’ll deliver it, too.” Avigayil is one of Linked to Life’s indefatigable volunteers, who can always be counted on for a mission. Meal in hand, she entered the home of the senior. “Shall I put it in the fridge for you for later or would you like me to heat it up for you now?” He stood there unable to respond other than an “Ummm…”
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.
‘Dedicated’ –a word found in almost every dinner journal. It’s overused, almost trite. But since the English language hasn’t produced a better word, it will have to suffice to describe Yitzchok and his wife.
Yitzchok was a dedicated Ezer Mizion volunteer. He had been a part of the Ezer Mizion family for many years offering rides to cancer patients and their family members, picking up items vital to the well-being of the ill and the elderly. His ‘Sure. I can do it.’ was a pleasure to hear. It was the Friday morning before Purim, the week before the Corona craziness took over our lives. A request came in for a pickup of salads and side dishes to be delivered to a family who was battling serious illness. The delivery had to be made before Shabbos. Yitzchok was available and took the call. He picked up the food, beautifully packaged and neatly labeled, and began making his way to the recipient’s home.
Most of us will help another person when needed. It’s called chessed. Something we were taught when we were tiny tots. But chessed comes in two very distinct packages. One is doing as much as was requested. “Ok, I’m done? Great! Now I can get back to my regular life.” And then there’s the other kind. The person who looks around when the job is done, thinking, “What else can I do for him?” Two varieties. So very different.
Hours: 9-5. A perfectly acceptable job description, wouldn’t you say? True, but one an Ezer Mizion employee cannot relate to. Don’t get me wrong. Ezer Mizion employees have specific work hours like those of any other entity. But the difference is seen at 5:00 PM when the average office employee locks the door to her office, to her mind and to her heart until the next day at nine. The Ezer Mizion employee doesn’t know how to do that. Her typical evening will be interspersed with phone calls. Did the desperately needed wheelchair ordered at ten-to-five arrive? Did her suggestion for the Alzeimer’s patient work? How is the K family whose mother was just diagnosed with cancer doing?
Let me introduce you to David. He’ll tell you his story.
Next week is my birthday and I want…The words are those of an eight year old but can easily be the thoughts of a thirty-eight year old. She’s just learned to be more polite. Natural feelings. We like being pampered and appreciated. We may be giving parents, neighbors, friends but on a birthday, it’s nice to receive. But then there are others, those rare few, who receive the most by giving. They don’t even realize how special they are and will casually send a message like the one below.
Each one was unique yet each one was the same. Each reflected an individualized situation much exacerbated by the Covid-19 situation. Yet each one was a desperate plea, “Please help me!’ sent to the address they have come to rely upon. Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life is a whatsapp network spanning Israel and around the globe which receives requests that are as varied as those that send them. It may be a need for transport for an oncology patient, delivery of vital meds, putting together a Bar Mitzvah for a boy whose father is in serious condition, picking up medical equipment for a patient who cannot be released from the hospital without it. The list goes on and on.
During the pandemic, the Linked to Life networks were on fire. Requests didn’t stop. Linked to Life coordinated with other divisions of Ezer Mizion and was there for everyone in their time of need. Was it ten requests, a hundred, two hundred? and make no mistake. Each request did not have a one-step resolution. ‘I would check the network and come back half a day later and see 600 more.’ said a staff member who had access to the network. See chart above for the amazing numbers, all performed by our dedicated Ezer Mizion volunteers.
At the same time, all the other Ezer Mizion divisions – Bone Marrow Registry, Golden Age, Special Needs, Mental Health, Cancer Support, Transportation, Food Disbursement – were working at full speed. If we were to add those numbers, the totals would be mind boggling! How does this happen? Because of you, our invaluable friends and supporters!
He’s turning thirteen and still living in a Corona hotel. He has Downs Syndrome and just ‘doesn’t get it’. His Bar Mitzvah will pass with nothing happening???. But his parents have their hands full and the logistics were overwhelming. Ezer Mizion has taken care of him since birth and will not abandon him now. The ‘boss’ himself was consulted and the menu based around his choices (sour sticks and candies). Every minute detail was handled to create the celebration of the century. Hotel guests were invited since there is no social distancing regulation at the hotel and our Bar Mitzvah boy was thrilled. How did the mother put it? “We’re at the stage when our situation doesn’t really interest anyone anymore. But the Ezer Mizion ‘champions of Tiveria’ don’t run out of steam. More treats, more events, everything possible for the Corona patients ‘imprisoned’ in the hotels…”