Torch of Chessed

Chanukah is a holiday of light, warmth, and family togetherness.

For someone who is hospitalized, it is hard to feel all that. When the hospitalization is in a corona ward, the situation is even more complex.

Ezer Mizion’s volunteers in the corona wards took upon themselves a challenge: to bring the light of the Chanukah candles into the corona wards, too. Every day of Chanukah, a candle-lighting ceremony was held in the Jerusalem’s Herzog Hospital corona ward

One day of Chanukah, the volunteers — all “corona alumni” — came in full protective gear, with guitars and sufganiyot, to hold a Chanukah party in the ward.

In Shaare Zedek Hospital, too, there was candle-lighting each night and visits by volunteers to the wardo

In Hadassah Ein Kerem’s oncology ward, activities went on throughout Chanukah, climaxing with a special event with Yishai Rebo, who sang with the hospitalized children.

“We’ve set as our goal that no patient should remain alone on Chanukah, whether in the corona ward or in oncology,” said Yisrael Yeret, director of Ezer Mizion Jerusalem region services. “In addition to parties in hospitals, we distributed craft kits to families of oncology patients and large amounts of food to families who needed it. We also gave out groceries to people in quarantine, to cheer them up and to keep them supplied.

“In spite of the difficulty rallying volunteers on Chanukah in general, and specifically volunteers for the corona wards, we achieved our goal of brightening the holiday for people in challenging situations.”

Ezer Mizion held many Chanukah parties for patients, elderly, and people with special needs.

Ezer Mizion also operates a nationwide volunteer initiative in which people who have recovered from corona come to volunteer in corona wards, after undergoing a screening process in the hospitals. The volunteers give the hospitalized patients warmth, attention, encouragement and support and alleviate the burden on the medical staff. Every Ezer Mizion branch and many departments partner in these activities, along with their routine tasks and obligations.

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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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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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When Words and Tomatoes Join Together to Create One Big Hug

inboxShe could have been living down the block from us but no one knew. She was a victim of terror with psychological wounds that never healed. Physically she was not in good shape either. She had been diagnosed in February with a severe lung infection and was extremely weak. Alone in Israel and helpless, she turned to the only address she knew. And that was how an Ezer Mizion director found a heartrending email in her inbox. Continue reading When Words and Tomatoes Join Together to Create One Big HugFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Think!

idea-3085367_1920“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!Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Maccabi Salutes Ezer Mizion

pr corona- Maccabi presentation-maleMaccabi Health Services known as Kupat Cholim Maccabi, is one of the four HMOs in Israel with over 2 million members and is considered an influential institution in regards to the Israeli healthcare system. Maccabi members benefit from diverse health services but there are many, many instances where help is needed. As Maccabi staff members can testify, Ezer Mizion is the address to turn to. Ezer Mizion’s goal: to be there for others. Their means: a professional, extensive network willing to think out of box in order to benefit the ill. Time and time again, when standard routine would not allow for the patient’s receiving what he needs, a call was made to the number they all knew by heart and the walls came tumbling down. Continue reading Maccabi Salutes Ezer Mizion

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We’re Here for Them

corona- Downs Bar Mitzvah- candy
As per instructions from the Bar Mitzvah boy himself

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…”

A family of nine still living at a Corona hotel. Very little clothing had been taken, not anticipating such a long stay. Continue reading We’re Here for ThemFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Saying Farewell to Corona – Let’s Hope it’s Final!

coronavirus
Saying Goodbye to Corona

Tens of thousands of missions were shared with Israel’s Home Front Command! And Israel’s seniors, seriously ill, and people in quarantine ­were the first to benefit from it. Each mission accompanied with so much love!

 

Recently, to the sound of ongoing applause, the Home Front Command awarded Ezer Mizion  a Certificate of Appreciation for dedicated partnership throughout the recent batpr corona Home Front awardtle. A big “hats off” to Ezer Mizion’s team: our friends and supporters, staff and volunteers!Even as the ‘goodbye’s to corona’ have begun, the needs have not yet ended. Says Moshe Beeri, director of Ezer Mizion’s Northern Region: “Via 350 What’s App groups, we help thousands of people and families. We are in contact with the municipalities and the social services entities, and we deal with 2,000 calls and requests a day from across the country. Thanks to our volunteers, very many people feel that they have help and support during this period of hardship and that they are not alone.”

A volunteer has enlisted her five children to do supermarket shopping for an elderly couple who cannot leave their home. She and other volunteers cook and distribute meals for those who are unable to manage on their own.

Decorative fruit platters were just one of the ways to cheer up a hospitalized cancer patient who had recently undergone a transplant.

pr corona - David and Nissim on trip w special kidsAnd what does a bus driver on furlough do nowadays?

He energetically plans a trip (not easy with corona regulations) for Ezer Mizion’s special needs children in Ashdod, finds a partner who donates the cost of a bus and gasoline, and together they serve as guides for the children and their accompanying staff for two days of a refreshing experience! The highlight was a visit to the petting zoo in Kefar Hanagid, where a blissful 17-year-old boy said: “For a whole month, I’ve been shut up in the house. You made me so happy!” Here are David and Nissim, the bus drivers with the golden hearts! David, the driver, mentors one of our special kids all year round, through Ezer Mizion’s Social Services Mentoring Department for Family Empowerment.

pr corona - Italy parentsAbout 6 weeks ago, a couple left Corona-battered Italy and arrived with their four children to an empty rental apartment in Beit Shemesh. During their compulsory two-week isolation, during which they slept on thin mattresses and used coats as pillows, a friend from abroad gave them the phone number of Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life, a WhatsApp network group for delivering items to people in need.

A message to the group: “Friends, we have a family here with four kids that just arrived from Milan and, due to the situation, they left Italy without any of their possessions. They have nothing — literally!!! Let’s try to help them!”

The message spread within minutes. The results: Religious, Chareidi, and secular alike all rallied to help. “Every ten minutes, someone drops a package at our door. Games, linens, food…”

Another neighbor opened a special headquarters, and before long, Ezer Mizion volunteers rallied to donate beds, electrical appliances, furniture, blankets, and linens to the family.. “We asked them what they needed, and all they requested was yogurt. In Italy, the yogurt isn’t kosher and the kids really wanted to taste one. They got their yogurt and so much more ”

 

Continue reading Saying Farewell to Corona – Let’s Hope it’s Final!Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Two Letters/ Two Sides

Female and man's hands with red heart

A volunteer of grandfather vintage writes:

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…

Do I need to go up or do they come down? I tried to clarify. Continue reading Two Letters/ Two SidesFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Corona Assistance: from North to South, from Morning to Night

corona_home_mainSlowly but surely, we are settling into the Corona routine after trying weeks of extreme uncertainty. These days, more than ever, Ezer Mizion amazing power has shown bright once again. The tapestry of chessed that emerged and intensified in the last weeks revealed a vast empire of sensitivity and sincere empathy with people’s needs at all levels!

From North to South of Israel and beyond, from morning to night and then some, in numerous service areas and activities and to all segments of the Israeli population, Ezer Mizion has touched tens of thousands of needs and lives!

Petach Tikvah

Asa’el lost his mother and his three brothers in a horrible terrorist attack at their home in Itamar. He himself lost a leg. He could have been embittered about his situation, but, with great courage, he chose not to fall into that black hole, and instead to devote himself to giving. It began with his volunteering to purchase medications for an elderly couple and snowballed into his joining the 12,000 Ezer Mizion Linked to Life volunteers who are providing such vital services during the crisis of delivering hot meals, groceries, supplies and medicine to quarantined patients and seniors in the area. “I absorbed the great dedication and giving from my mother, A’H. This is carrying on her legacy of giving.” What can we say? A real hero!

Yotam Base, near Eilat:

Moriah, an IDF scout lookout somewhere out there on the Southern army base needed special medication. A call went out via Linked to Life.  Within one minute (!), a volunteer responded. And no, it wasn’t “on his way”! He made a special 7.5 hour round trip drive for this!

Moriah: “I am in shock that a person should make such a long trip for people he doesn’t even know and with no personal interest! It’s inconceivable!” Don’t you agree?

Ofakim

Yehuda, a young adult with special needs, recently acquired a new friend. A devoted volunteer calls him on a regular basis. At times they learn together; at times they just chat. ‘It’s the highlight of his day,’ says his mother.

Yerushalayim

Corona patients staying at the hotel had no way to wash their clothes… The huge hotel laundry facilities are not available for the patients’ personal clothing and a real challenge developed with a lack of clean clothing for the interned patients who are not permitted to leave the premises. A donation was acquired to fund the purchase of a washing machine, a U-haul was hooked up manned by Ezer Mizion volunteers, and the machine was delivered at the Maaleh Hachamishah hotel for the patients’ use!

Elad

Moshe’s catering business is nil these days. Bitter? Angry? Instead Moshe has opened his business to provide meals for Ezer Mizion recipients. Kudos, Moshe!

Bat Yam

An army of volunteers, wearing masks and gloves, distributed 110 fragrant potted plants to the homes of Holocaust survivors in the city, adding color and vitality to their houses at this lonely time and a total of 1,800 plants delivered to survivors in 25 cities and towns around Israel.

Bnei Brak

340 bags of love were distributed to the homes of survivors, bearing candies, chocolates, scented sticks, a flower and a personal note.

Modi’in Ilit

After weeks of close collaboration with the Municipality, the Home Front Command, and the city’s emergency services, city Mayor Yair Drori had a clear message to deliver about the local Ezer Mizion branch: “You are our city’s outstanding model of chessed and civic involvement!”

 

 

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