Sometimes we have to wait until the World of Truth to see it. But sometimes it is so clear. Like the Bluestones who are owners of a well-known Israeli firm that manufactures fashionable clothing, makeup and jewelry bags. In spite of their many business responsibilities, they devote a great deal of time to volunteering for Ezer Mizion. One of the recipients of their chessed is a disabled, elderly man for whom Mr. Bluestone delivers meals regularly. Meals are not all he delivers. With the food he brings caring, genuine interest in the details of the man’s day and an upbeat, cheery ambience.
A friendship developed between the two and it was only natural that when the elderly senior was hospitalized with no family support, Mrs. Bluestone cooked a complete array of Shabbat dishes and they both spent Shabbat together with him in his hospital room.
Things can be bad. But they’re worse when you have to face them alone.
Take Avi, for example. He was in elementary school when his parents got the news: Cancer.
The lights went out. Their lives turned dark.
Uncertainty. Which treatment should we pursue? Is a bone marrow transplant the best option?
Concern. How would we juggle his treatment and still care for the rest of the family?
Fear. Would Avi make it?
His parents watched as the light went out — it dimmed from Avi’s eyes, it disappeared from their home. The darkness shadowed over their family, as it does for thousands of families across the world. Avi’s is far from the only one.
But whether dealing with cancer, mental health, or special needs — there’s a glow in the dark. There’s an organization that shines a little light and helps them navigate the darkness.
Ezer Mizion gets 650,000 calls a year. They answer each one. Yes, we will be there for you.
We will guide you through treatments.
We will drop off hot dinners.
We will find you a matching donor.
We will provide mental health support.
We will send volunteers to the hospital.
How do they do it? What does it take to change a family’s world for the better?
Not much — just a little bit of light chases away the darkness. Ezer Mizion is holding a historic auction — one of the largest ever — and with each ticket that you purchase, you have the ability to replace darkness with light.
The auction features dozens of brilliant prizes, and with tickets starting at just $18, you can win anything from your dream vacation to your own Sefer Torah (Torah Scroll) or from home renovations to jewelry. The two grand prizes give you the chance to win $100,000 cash or your own late-model car. By participating in Ezer Mizion’s auction, you can help the organization to keep glowing.
This year, because of COVID, not only did Ezer Mizion’s income lessen, but their call volume rose astronomically. More people than ever are relying on the organization and, more than ever, Ezer Mizion is relying on you.
Families in Israel and around the world are relying on Ezer Mizion. You’re the one with the power to turn on the light.
Purchase your tickets at emraffle.org today and be their glow in the dark.
Ran Sahar is CEO of Maccabi, israel’s leading HMO, certainly a very busy man. But Mr. Sahar deemed it important to take time off from his crowded schedule to visit Ezer Mizion’s 2020 Art Exhibit. The annual exhibit features work produced by the participants of the Art Workshop, one of the many programs of Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division.
Under the able leadership of Ms. Lidia Rozanski, Multidisciplinary Visual Artist, Certified Art Therapist, participants are guided to explore their inner feelings and express them through visual art. The process that the workshop participants undergo, alone and together through this project, is unique and powerful with a significant impact on their battle with cancer.
This project, an expanse for emotional processing, offers the artists an opportunity to open up and cope and to break the stifling secrecy, while engaging in the process of creating an artistic object and exhibiting it. It enables them to set out on an internal journey that is emotionally, creatively, and practically challenging. This journey demands of the participants to leave their comfort zone for the sake of the change that is generated by the new perspective they acquire in the course of the process.
When a person is sick, he can experience depression, anxiety, disappointment, frustration, and fear. He can lose his life routine and his ability to create. This workshop provides participants with a place of belonging and identification, a place where they can find change through which they can restore respect – both for themselves and for those around them. Via the process of artistic creation, we try to restore to participants their strength and their ability to do, to create, and to accomplish in the present and to plan for the future.
The artistic works created by participants in the workshop and displayed at this exhibit reveal a little bit of this process and open a window to the world of people fighting cancer. Ofir Amitay uses the following text to illustrate her creation.
Together Hand in Hand
How supportive can hands be?
To a child whose life has only just begun..
How supportive and strengthening can a family be?
Apparently, more than I could ever have thought.
Like the foundations of a building, strong and steadfast in the face of a storm,
Like the net for the fallen trapeze artist, flexible, soft, holding on, not letting go.
Hands so powerful, endlessly strengthening.
Where would I have been without you, my dear family?
Probably not among the living.. and thus, this exhibition
The strength of a few words, softly whispered, carefully transported on the beams of a gentle smile. They bring a surge of vigor — vigor with the power of a tsunami! That was Mayan. Only nine years old but with the ability to imbue others with her profound strength. Mayan had been stricken with leukemia. While her friends were learning to jump rope, she was spending weeks at a time in a scary hospital witnessing what no child should ever see. Ezer Mizion staff and volunteers supported her and her family emotionally, psychologically and practically with a broad range of programs. All those who met her commented on her strong will to fight this battle and win. Mayan spent a great deal of time at Ezer Mizion’s Oranit, a guest home for cancer patients and their families to live during the duration of treatment. It was a fun, cheery place to be after the morning ordeal of chemo. She could try her hand at a musical instrument, do crafts, climb the monkey bars at the playground or feed a rabbit at the Petting Zoo. Happy and upbeat, on her way to her next activity, she heard a discordant note. Several women were discussing their illness. “I have no strength!” said one. Our nine-year-old giant headed toward the group. In a powerful embrace, she sent sparks of potent vitality to the woman who had spoken. “What do you mean you have no strength? G-d only sends cancer to people who are heroes!”
Some people my age are still kids but I was forced to grow up fast. It hasn’t been an easy life. Until fourteen, I was like everyone else. You know. Playing ball, studying for tests, doing pretty well in school except for math. I had a lot of friends and life was great. Until it wasn’t. Until I found myself alone in the hospital. My friends weren’t allowed to visit and even if they had been, they were probably too scared. I know I would have been if it had been someone else lying there attached to tubes and sick with a disease that people didn’t even like to mention. I got chemo treatment. I couldn’t even dream of a ballgame. Every time I pictured the ball flying through the air, I got more nauseous and had to grab that basin fast. But the chemo did the trick, at least for a while. And the cancer seemed to disappear. Then at nineteen, the monster was back again. This time there were no triumphant handshakes from the medical staff. No banter like “We never want to see you here again.” This time, they weren’t sure. I got a bone marrow transplant, the kind where they use your own cells. It was grueling and the ‘maybe it will work, maybe it won’t’ I was hearing was no comfort.
A garbage truck stops and its driver jumps out. He had noticed a familiar car on the road. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out a generous bill he had been saving, hands it to Maor Cohen and, in seconds he is back at his job. “What’ s this?” Maor call s out.
“For the children. The children with cancer at Ezer Mizion. To buy them a lego set.”
I will never, ever, ever forget my first visit to the oncology ward. It was a traumatizing place to be for a young high school girl but how could I not have visited my little sister, Chevy! So I stared at all the children with bald heads. ‘That won’t happen to Chevy, will it?’ i whispered to myself, still blissfully unaware of what no young girl – or even adult – should know about. When I got home, I pulled out a picture of Chevy and, with my fingers, covered up her long, dark wavy hair, still pretending it will never happen but preparing myself just in case.
It happened. After the second treatment. Chevy said she feels as if she is carrying her hair. When I tried to brush it for her, big clumps came loose. We ended up with an immense pile of hair which Chevy thought was funny. ‘Lets make a funeral’, she giggled. ‘What should we use for a talis?’
Oh , Chevy, if you would only have known what is to come. But none of us did. The treatments ended. We were so happy. Chevy’s numbers were good and things looked bright. It had been such a difficult time for the whole family. Without Ezer Mizion, I don’t see how we could have made it through. They were everywhere. They gave us rides to the hospital, let us live in this really nice apartment that was near the treatment center so we couldn’t have to travel. There was therapy for all of us kids – such fun therapy with music, sand play, crafts, and even a petting zoo. There was psychological help, hot, delicious meals, parties and trips. And most of all they enveloped us with such love. They seemed as happy as we were that it was almost over.
“Think, everyone, think!” she cried out. “There has to be something! Something we can do even in the midst of corona.” We all sat there. We’re normally a creative bunch but the ideas were just not coming. Every year we hosted a retreat for families dealing with cancer. It was the highlight of the year for them, a time to bond with their family, good food, fun entertainment – a vacation from cancer. Away from hospitals and tests and treatments. Something to put a smile on faces that almost forgot how. It meant everything to the families whom, in addition to the medical situation, were suffering so much emotionally with many family relationships on the verge of collapse. Continue reading Think!
I went out today to distribute food. With lots of energy and good will, I came to collect the packages and got a list. Third floor, fourth floor, etc. No elevators. Ah, occasionally there was a ground floor…