pr general bldg DG857322A few days ago, my younger sister got married. From the moment she got engaged, I could not get out of my mind the bitter taste of the Shabbat Sheva Berachot we celebrated a year earlier for the sister before her. I felt that I simply did not have the strength to go through another Shabbat like that.
Another Shabbat in which my autistic son Shlomo knocks tables over, stains the clothing of the kallah and the guests when he spills a bottle of cola or oily matbouha tomato salad, knocks down the mechitzah with a boom, fortunately only slightly wounding the mechutan’s foot, and screams at the top of his lungs precisely when the chatan begins to speak…
After giving the matter a lot of thought, I told my parents that I would send my older children for Shabbat, while my husband and I would stay home with Shlomo. I sensed that my mother was relieved to hear of our decision, and the bitter, painful taste remained with me throughout the happy preparations for the wedding.
At the support group I attend for mothers of autistic children, I brought up my nagging memories and the bitter feeling I have from this period when everybody around me is so happy. I expressed my concerns about staying home for Shabbat while all the rest of the extended family will be celebrating together at a hotel. Then one of the participants in the workshop spoke up: “Why don’t you send Shlomo to a host family through Ezer Mizion’s Hakalah Respite Program? He’ll have a good time, you’ll enjoy the simchah, and I’m sure that your parents and the rest of the family will also be thrilled.” That is how I first heard about the Hakalah program. Other friends also told me how this program literally saved them at different periods in the course of the year.
The very next day, I contacted the one in charge of the Hakalah Program and she arranged a wonderful host family for Shlomo from Thursday (the day of the wedding) until Motzaei Shabbat (Saturday night).
Words cannot possibly express my thanks for the marvelous days my family and I enjoyed.
I want to thank the remarkable organization of Ezer Mizion for the wonderful family Shabbat that we had only thanks to them. I also wanted to let other mothers of special-needs children in Israel know about this amazing program. For details, call Ezer Mizion’s Hakalah Program at 073-3956783.


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