Organization and caring: a perfect recipe for maximum chessed. Throughout Israel, Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life (an immense whatsapp network) provides rides to hospitals, delivery of essential meds and so much more for Jews dealing with old age, disabilities and illness. Jerusalem is a challenge. The sheer size of the city and the number of major hospitals located there, have created broad-scope needs for those from around the country who are hospitalized in Israel’s capital. Tele-receptionists man the line most of the day and part of the night, with thousands of volunteers.
Consequently, the hands – and cars – of Linked to Life volunteers at the Jerusalem branch are full of unabated chessed work.
Many residents are in need of service outside the city. A father is taking over for his wife at the bedside of their three-year-old at Schneider’s Hospital in Petach Tikva and needs a ride. An elderly man visiting his daughter in Jerusalem forgot his hearing aid at his home up north. All these fall under the standard umbrella Linked to Life network.
However, many other requests are localized. Perhaps a family dealing with cancer is in need of regular meal delivery service. Where are the meals produced? Right there in the neighborhood. An 87 year old woman may need a ride to her doctor a few blocks away. So many requests can be handled with a short, local ride which is why a localized working model was created.
The whole of Jerusalem was mapped out into neighborhoods, each with its mini-Linked to Life branch. Each branch is staffed with its own dispatchers equipped with their own list of neighborhood volunteers. . Our vision for the future is that there shouldn’t be a single neighborhood where a mini-branch of the Linked to Life network doesn’t exist.
“During Corona,” says Moshy Hillel, Director of Linked to Life’s Jerusalem branch, “we were the first organization that worked on the field to help those who needed medications and such. There were 600 cases a day (!) and we managed to reach them all.”
“Unique to Jerusalem,” he continues, is our ability to have a large number of East Jerusalem volunteers who can handle emergencies on the Sabbath and Holidays. A classic case was a Jerusalem resident who traveled to Bet Shemesh for the Sabbath and realized just before Shabbos that he needed a critical medication for his child. We sent the medication with one of the East Jerusalem residents, who got there on Shabbos, with his kaffiyeh. We can only imagine the stares he endured to complete his mission successfully.
Chananya Chollak, International Chairman of Ezer Mizion, says: “Linked to Life is an elite unit in Ezer Mizion’s volunteer work. The Linked to Life volunteers in Jerusalem are an important part of the broad package of services, and they help out with hundreds of thousands of hours of chessed, assisting numerous people with dignity and sensitivity.