Torch of Chessed: Cancer Support

Shoshi Charmatz, mother of six, has been battling cancer for seven years. Shoshi attends Ezer Mizion’s visual arts therapy workshop and the artwork she has created is currently on display at Ezer Mizion’s visual arts workshop exhibit. Shoshi’s called her moving work of art “The Surviving Tree and me.”

As part of her battle with the cancer that struck her body, Shoshi underwent treatments in New York. On her way to one of the treatments, she encountered the “Surviving Tree,” a lone tree located near the site of the Twin Towers that survived the 9/11 terrorist attack.

“My encounter with the tree was powerful,” she relates. “The tree survived the horrific attack on the city and was cleared from among the ruins. It underwent rehabilitation at a special farm, received infusions of rehabilitative substances, and eventually returned to life and to its original place. I really identified with what the tree had endured.

“At Ezer Mizion’s visual arts workshop, I created my tree, which portrays my journey to recovery with the treatments I am undergoing, far from my family but enveloped in love and filled with hope for growth and full recovery.

“Ezer Mizion and the workshop have a major part in my recovery process, an island of sanity and creation. They are my miracle.”

Oranit, Ezer Mizion’s Cancer patient Support Center, provides professional and volunteer support to patients and their families and envelops them with love.

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Torch of Chessed

EPISODE 2

Imagine long days of loneliness at home, days of sickness, compounded by boredom and fear.

The Corona period has decreed this kind of reality on many patients and their families. A reality of sitting at home for long stretches of time in fear due to their illness and in loneliness due to Corona.

At these dark and dreary moments, the Linked to Life volunteers go into action.

The Nidam family from Netivot has isolated itself of its own accord for many long months so as not to endanger the health of the father of the family, who is a cancer patient.

At Linked to Life Southern Region, they decided to take the family out for a fun outing. Avi Pedida, a jeep driver, volunteered to go out with the family for an unforgettable day.

The day began with a luxurious breakfast prepared by a group of Linked to Life volunteers in Netivot. From there, the family went on to a hike in the Negev Mountains. They rode horses and enjoyed a swim in a private pool. They finished off the action-packed day with a scrumptious cookout. “”Words are not enough to thank the Ezer Mizion Linked to Life volunteers,” said the father of the family. “They escort and support us in the most complex moments. They are our light in this very difficult period.”

Linked to Life is a network of Ezer Mizion volunteers who work through a Whatsapp app to provide aid to patients and their families, delivering medicines, equipment, and stem cell tests, among other assignments. Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life network numbers 10,000 volunteers in Israel with many more dedicated members abroad.

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Chanukah Torch of Chessed

What Is a Menorah (Chanukiah)? - Chanukah - Hanukkah

Every day, at Ezer Mizion, we encounter so many miracles, small and big. We get to touch people in difficult situations, to give them hope and light.

On each of the days of Chanukah, we will illuminate a torch of action and chessed and share with you a moving personal story, each time from a different division. Thank you for your partnership and for your wonderful work throughout the year.

Happy Chanukah!

Resource Development in collaboration with the PR Department

EPISODE 1

Yaakov is the husband of a woman battling mental illness. He speaks frankly about his struggle in the shadow of the illness and about the support that Ezer Mizion gives him.

“The encounter with Ezer Mizion’s Mental Health Division opened my eyes and helped me understand that accepting the reality and ‘going from there’ is not only possible but the only option that will allow us to continue living our lives.

“Thanks to Ezer Mizion, I started dealing with my situation, both on an individual basis and in a group framework. I received the tools and strength I needed in order to cope. To people who are in my position, I want to say: We did not choose these ‘gifts.’ Hashem chose them for us. He gives us the gifts and He also gives us the strength to deal with the situation.

Whoever thinks he can escape reality and conceal it is mistaken. Ezer Mizion is my light in this saga. They help me achieve a better reality.  They have shown me that it is possible to deal with my challenges in a better way.

When we sit in Ezer Mizion’s support group, we share with each other. Each of us talks about what he is going through, and the social worker facilitating the group guides us along professionally. Each person has different problems, but there is much that se share. We are not professionals, but we are people of experience.  Under the guidance of the Ezer Mizion professionals we have learned how to  help ourselves. Thanks to this group, I’ve started breathing and living again.

Ezer Mizion’s Mental Health Division helps people struggling with mental health conditions and their families with a professional systematic approach and maximum sensitivity.

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Cancer Support: When the Pain is Too Heavy

It happens in many families. There are times when Abba is involved in a major business crisis and  Mommy has to hold up the fort. Or it can be Mommy who has to rush out of town due to a sick parent and it is Father that is left to take charge. But both parents? During a pandemic? With a Bar Mitzvah coming up? And a forlorn, young boy left to deal with is confused feelings with no support?

Cancer Support when the Pain is Too Heavy

The logistics of making a Bar Mitzvah were out of the question. The father was recuperating from major surgery. The mother was battling cancer. There was no new hat to secretly try on for the 453rd time, no notebook filled with lists. This major milestone was scheduled to happen with nary a blip. The parents’ complicated medical sagas occupied every iota of their minds and emotions.  But parents remain parents even under such difficult circumstances and idea began to sprout. A celebratory trip to the kosel for the three of them. Their son would love it. They knew that. But the idea was next to impossible to execute. Only ambulance travel would make sense but hiring an ambulance at such a time with no money coming in and expenses so high was out of the question.

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Because of You!

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Rescue Rope in a Stormy Sea

We all have our challenges in raising our children. How comforting it is to hear from another more experienced mother that your child’s behavior, as exasperating as it is, is normal.  But what about when it is not normal? When your child, the tiny infant you held in your arms with such hopes, is diagnosed with autism? The devastation, the fears for the future are immeasurable. Your day-to-day, minute-to-minute life will never be the same. Your other children are tremendously affected. Family ties fall apart. You desperately need support.

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A Night of Laughter on Us

We would like to extend a personal invitation to you to join us this Saturday night, December 5th for “A Night of Laughter on Us.” This evening of comedy is FREE, and is being sponsored by Daily Giving. The LIVE online event will feature nationally known comedian Elon Gold. Comedian Eli Lebowicz will also be performing, and the event will be hosted by Eli Beer, the founder and President of United Hatzalah.
You can register at dailygiving.org/comedy for the show. Anyone who registers for the event automatically gets entered into a raffle for an Apple Watch!
Through DailyGiving.org, you sign up and are guaranteed the mitzvah of giving tzedaka every day, for as little as $1 a day. Daily Giving is able to give meaningful donations to worthy, vetted Jewish charities worldwide – including our organization! Whether it’s feeding the poor, helping those with special needs, or many other worthy Jewish charities like ours that Daily Giving supports, the power of crowd donations turns your $1 into so much more.
Don’t forget to register at dailygving.org/comedy for the FREE comedy night NOW!

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Take a Deep Breath

It’s 3:00 AM. Dark outside. The world is asleep. The shrill tone of a phone wakes him up. “Hello,” he answers groggily, unsure if the phone was part of his dream or not. “He can’t breathe! I’m so scared! The doctor says he needs an oxygen concentrator! Please, oh please help us!”  Gone was the grogginess. In its place was concern and professionalism. The right questions were asked and answered. A trained volunteer was immediately dispatched with the machine and the Ezer Mizion director returned to his dreams…for a few minutes. Three (!) more calls from frightened families in Israel. One after the other, after the other. Three more concentrators set up. In the space of one dark, frightening hour, four corona patients who were able to safely remain at home. Four corona patients now in good health. 

It’s 30 minutes before Shabbos candle lighting  time. An Ezer Mizion staff head calls in. A concentrator is needed asap.  A volunteer races to the branch to pick one up, races to the family, sets it up and explains its use as if there was all the time in the world, then resumes his race to shul (synagogue), sliding into his seat only a few minutes later than usual. L’cha dodi…

A patient no longer needs hospitalization. He is so anxious to leave. But even though hospitalization is no longer needed, respiratory assistance is. An oxygen concentrator would be the answer. Is there one available? Yes there is! Thanks to all of you out there who contributed so generously, many patients, under advice and guidance from their physicians, are able to continue their recuperation away from the hospital setting. 

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One Candle Lights Another As Its Wick Reaches the End

‘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.

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Virtual Clubs for Seniors

In an effort to ease the loneliness and solitude of Israel’s seniors who are homebound due to fragile health and corona regulations and precautions, Ezer Mizion is shifting its live activity clubs to virtual platforms. Many of the seniors that we are targeting had been attending activity clubs, fitness programs, lectures and various programs at Ezer Mizion, filling their time with stimulating, enjoyable social activities. The virtual clubs will include seniors who participated in the clubs before corona as well as additional new members.

Stuck at home now, lacking ways to fill their time, missing social interactions and needing cognitive stimulus, many elders are suffering greatly. They will be happy for opportunities to safely connect with others and participate remotely in activities that will stimulate them cognitively, physically and emotionally.

To ease the transition to the virtual platform and ensure ease of use for the seniors, we will be using tablets that have been adapted specifically for the senior population with the most simple user formats possible. The cost of each tablet is $415.  The tablet, which includes adapted hardware, software and technical support will be provided by Ezer Mizion for free as a precondition for participating in the clubs.

Ezer Mizion has chosen 50 seniors for this pilot project.  They will be meeting in groups of 12 to 15 participants twice weekly for exercise, lectures, activities, sing-alongs, laughing yoga and more.  They will also be able to make use of the device to interact socially with their peers and family throughout the week as well as keeping in touch with their doctor and kupat cholim (HMO) for health maintenance.  The next phase of the project will expand the virtual activity club to 150 homebound seniors who are being serviced by Ezer Mizion homecare attendants.

Project Goals Include:  

  • Strengthening sense of belonging to a social group
  • Easing feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Reinforcing a sense of return to something familiar
  • Tension and anxiety relief, increasing motivation
  • Preservation and enhancement of cognitive capabilities
  • Maintaining connection, improving function
  • Promoting positive, healthy routine

At Ezer Mizion, we view this project as life giving!  Reigniting our precious seniors with the will to live, proving to them their essential value as a person and their importance to the group and our team, easing their loneliness, enhancing their cognition, their social interaction and their quality of life. To check out the tablets watch this clip: https://youtu.be/_fgoJRajDVo

Year 1 Project Costs

Cost of each tablet: $415 (C$545)

Cost of 50 tablets for pilot phase: $20,800 (C$16,900)

One year operating cost: $30,000 Your tablet sponsorship and project support will enable Ezer Mizion to infuse the lives of these seniors with hope, with renewal, with a will to live, enriching the fabric of our society. Donor recognition available with a dedication on each tablet sponsored.

Your gift will that smile to our precious seniors. Please donate with ‘tablets for seniors’ in memo.

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