To Really See. To Really Care.

It’s a talent. An innate ability found in only a few. The ability to notice. To really see. To understand what someone else needs. Only a few have it but the few can give it over to the many.

Rabbi Chananya Chollak

Chananya Chollak, who founded Ezer Mizion in 1979, was such a person. A new chosson (groom) who would be expected to be involved in his kallah (bride) and not be able to see anything outside of new marriage, was spending time with his hospitalized father-in-law and became aware of the many problems facing the families of the patients.  It was there that several divisions of the future Ezer Mizion were born. What began with 8 volunteers to provide meals for family members spending hours at the hospital bedside and a professionally outfitted van to transport the wheelchair-bound has mushroomed into an empire of chessed with 30,000 volunteers, all who have absorbed Rav Chollak’s ability to really see and really care. 

Cancer Support Comes in Many Forms

Like Rina, a patient in the oncology ward. She was battling for her life but right now, uppermost in her mind, was her daughter who would normally be celebrating her bas mitzvah. What with all energies going toward fighting the cancer, this most special day was expected to pass with hardly a blip.  But Rina was an Ezer Mizion client and that made all the difference. Professional studio pictures taken at her home. A sweet table to vie those at the fanciest event. A cake donated for the occasion by an elite patisserie. A makeup artist for both of them who would wield the wand and turn them into princesses.  No detail was omitted by Shula, the volunteer who really saw and really cared.

Caring Eases the Trauma

Then there was the recent fire in Yerushalayim. People were being evaluated en masse. The need to evacuate was obvious and the volunteers were working hard. What wasn’t so obvious is the fact that a group of yeshiva bochurim (students) had not had anything to eat since the early morning. Moments after they arrived to safety, there appeared pizza pies galore. The starving boys never would have asked but grins on their faces showed how welcome the unexpected treat was.

A Day to Look Forward to for the Disabled

The first step in creating a new division is seeing the need. Matan in Nechalim was born because it became obvious to Rav Chollak that handicapped adults need something more than care. They need self-esteem – the kind that comes from accomplishment. And how can they accomplish when they cannot even move from here to there? Ideas were tossed around, debated, discarded, re-evaluated until a full program came into being. A program that gets these talented young people to leave their homes early, excited to begin their day. They’re taught 3-D printing, crafts, and much more…skills that can generate income, activities that create positive social interaction. Recently their creations were proudly displayed at a fair where crowds converged at the individual tables where each one’s products were admired and many purchased.

The files are filled with thank you notes from people who are longing to express their gratitude for the practical and emotional support. Many join our volunteer groups, anxious to give back to others what they received in their time of crisis. And many are accompanied by donations but none so poignant as the following written in childish scrawl:

I’m a 12 year old cancer patient sending you my donation. I want to thank you with my whole heart for all the good and fun things you give me.

Thank you so much,

Y.S.

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A Network of Thousands of Family Members

Next week is my birthday and I want…The words are those of an eight year old but can easily be the thoughts of a thirty-eight year old. She’s just learned to be more polite. Natural feelings. We like being pampered and appreciated. We may be giving parents, neighbors, friends but on a birthday, it’s nice to receive. But then there are others, those rare few, who receive the most by giving. They don’t even realize how special they are and will casually send a message like the one below.

“Today is my birthday and I want to really celebrate by filling it with chessed and helping others. Please count me in for as many transports as possible today, my special day!”

This message was sent to Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life, a whatsapp network offering rides to benefit the sick, delivers meds, pick up a lab sample etc etc. 

Her coordinator complied and made it a very special birthday indeed. It began with taking volunteers to Hadassah Ein Kerem, a cancer patient to treatment, bringing food to the family of an oncology patient, and that was just for starters…

How blessed we are that these are our volunteers!

Another coordinator relates:

A resident of Rishon Letzion was walking down a hospital corridor to visit a relative when she passed by a woman crying in pain.  She couldn’t simply walk by and so she called the phone number used by so many in Eretz Yisroel       : Ezer Mizion. I asked her to put the woman on the line. Amid her tears, the woman explained that, having no one to advocate for her, she did not seem to be receiving the care that she needed. I had no way of knowing if that was really the case but the Ezer Mizion Medical Referral Department would be able to get to the bottom of it and so I referred the call to them.

The staff member who took on the case investigated in detail as if she had been a close family member. Result? The woman received the surgery she needed and is doing fine. The woman who had been visiting her relative followed the case and was open-mouthed at seeing how swiftly and how carefully and professionally the situation was handled, a situation that began with a simple phone call. She was so amazed that she called me again and asked how she could join the family (because it truly is a family). And so Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life gained a new volunteer.

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Wherever, Whatever, Whenever We’re Needed

Giving…with all our heart

Do you know where Kiryat Shemoneh is? Many people have never heard of it.  It’s a-l-l the way up North in Israel. Somewhere out there at the far, far end of the country. Geographically so distant from the nearest metropolis.  A bit lonely, perhaps, but certainly not alone.   Even there, Ezer Mizion’s dedicated volunteer works hard to prepare Shabbat meals for a lonely patient, spiced with lots of love. She does it together with dozens of other volunteers, who share one giant heart. Together they arrange meals for patients and their families for weekdays and Shabbat, feeding dozens of patients, adults and children, dispersed throughout the North, from Netanya all the way up to Kiryat Shemoneh

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Angels from Heaven

An Ezer Mizion ‘stranger’ becomes family

She was eighty years old. Life was difficult. But a home attendant? “Never! I don’t want a stranger in my home!” But things got worse and ‘never’ became ‘maybe’. Ezer Mizion’s Home Attendant Division was contacted and Tzivia entered Sara’s home. One year later on Chanukah, Tzivia found balloons awaiting her as she entered. “These are for you,” Sara smiled. “For you, my Chanukah miracle. Since you came, I felt I have a daughter. Today our friendship is a year old, and I, too, feel like I am a year old, because I am a new woman since you entered my world.” Several days later, Sara fell and broke her arm.  The ambulance came but Sara did not go alone. Tzivia accompanied her, spent hours of her free time in the ER with her. It was not long before Tzivia’s husband arrived at the ER to bring them both food and drink.  Still retaining her independent streak, Sara was appalled, “I feel so bad that your husband had to go through so much trouble just because of me.”

“If I am your daughter, he is your son-in-law. We’re your family.  Family members help each other. “

Sara was too choked up to reply but her eyes said it all as she gazed with wonderment at her family, the ‘strangers’ she had not wanted to allow into her home.

  • A father is battling cancer. Their situation was heartbreaking: The mother was torn between hospital, where her husband needed her attention, and home where their five children, two of them with special needs, were left alone at home for hours, without proper meals, supervision or occupation. Ezer Mizion got to work… Our fantastic volunteers contacted the director of Ezer Mizion’s services for children with special needs, who arranged for the girls to go to an afternoon club, complete with meals, help with schoolwork, and quality attention until five in the afternoon.

Two volunteers visited the parents in the ward, bringing cake and support, showering them with warm encouragement.

Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life took care of delivering hot meals cooked by Ezer Mizion volunteers  to the house on a regular basis.

A home had been on the verge of collapse. Now it was shorn up with planks of love and compassion. The wife of the cancer patient couldn’t stop thanking Ezer Mizion for all this magical support that descended upon her!

  • From the Ezer Mizion Inbox:

 Our family is dealing with my cancer which is so stressful for everyone. Between not knowing if mommy will be home when they get home from school to having to eat strangers’ food, life has become unpredictable for my kids. 

You can imagine our surprise when someone came to our door on Chanukah with two big bags for the kids (treats and presents!). 

Thank you for bringing a smile to my children’s faces and may you continue to do your holy work. 

All the best,

Sarah B.

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Special Children – Special Opportunities

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Special Needs- Special Opportunities

In a quiet moshav, an enigmatic natural phenomenon is going on. Unfathomable chessed is being done by youths who have chosen to enable parents and families of special-needs children to vacation.

Bein Hazemanim (vacation). Families are on the road from here to there. Yeshivas are traveling to summer camp. And those who aren’t — go out on day trips, looking for a change of atmosphere, at the seaside or on trails throughout our beautiful Land of Israel, to gather strength for the year to come. Continue reading Special Children – Special OpportunitiesFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Bein Hazemanim Break: Perfect Opportunity to Build Character

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Special Children – Special Opportunities

In a quiet moshav, an enigmatic natural phenomenon is going on. Unfathomable chessed is being done by youths who have chosen to enable parents and families of special children to vacation.

Bein Hazemanim (vacation). Families are on the road from here to there. Yeshivas are traveling to summer camp. And those who aren’t — go out on day trips, looking for a change of atmosphere, at the seaside or on trails throughout our beautiful Land of Israel, to gather strength for the year to come. Continue reading Bein Hazemanim Break: Perfect Opportunity to Build CharacterFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

The View from Both Ends of Giving

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It feels good to give!

It feels good to give. Seeing the joy on another person’s face because of something that you did is an experience that cannot be defined. I know about that. I joined Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life awhile back. L2L is a  WhatsApp group that can be called for rides, deliveries of vital supplies and a zillion other requests by people who are dealing with serious illness. Continue reading The View from Both Ends of GivingFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Linked to Life: One Week

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Giving away adds, not subtracts

It’s interesting. When I was in second grade, my math teacher told me that if we take away, the total amount is less. When I grew up, I found it wasn’t true. If giving my time, my energy, my expertise made me have less in the end, then why would I and 9,000 of my fellow Linked to Life members race to click on any request that comes in and do our best to respond whenever possible? Second grade math teachers notwithstanding, giving away plusses so much more to our lives. Continue reading Linked to Life: One WeekFacebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Linked to Life: Vitamin P

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Giving with Viitamin P

Their mother has cancer and is in a very precarious condition. Her situation is shaky. The family is shaky. And terrified. And numb. And overwhelmed. And beaten. And disoriented. All at once.

 

it’s all about giving. A day of fun, of pampering can work wonders for the spirit. I ask them what they would want. Unable to think past their dire situation, they say, “A trip to Teverya, to pray at the gravesite of Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes, to daaven for Ima to have a nes, a miracle…
Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life is not staffed by mere people. It is staffed by angels. When there are angels along the way, things looks different…

It starts with a phone call to Shmulik of Ezer Mizion’s Transport Division, who works on the logistics for the family trip to Teverya.

 

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A day of giving

Family bonding. A vitamin called ‘Pleasure’ to strengthen the spirit. Vital ingredients for this Special Day. And so it gets better: First thing in the morning Yishai, the nicest volunteer driver in the world, reports at the door with a huge smile and takes them for a banana boat ride on the Kinneret, funding donated by SL from Teverya. Smiles are contagious and tentative replicas begin to appear on the faces of the family.

 

And even better: They continue on to a gourmet meal at the Caesar Hotel, funding donated by AAA from Caesarea. Long-forgotten feelings of happiness well up in them as they continue their day of pampering.

A day of giving culminating in prayer at gravesites

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They reach the gravesites of Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes in Teverya and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron and daven with every fiber of their being.  Their arms around each other, they leave strengthened. They’re a family. They can cope.

 

More Vitamin P, shared together, empowering them for the difficult days ahead: a fantastic performance to suit their mood (funded by MH from Hadera) tops off the day.

 

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Strengthening the spirit of a family by a day of giving

Because that’s the way it is with Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life in Israel, when there are people there who care about you, who are sensitive to your needs and want with all their heart to pamper you…

 

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

Your gifts will provide more ‘days of giving’ to those who need it most.

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The Kakoon Family- A Valued Ezer Mizion Giving Partner

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A Family of Volunteers

Giving. It’s the wheel that makes the world go around. Some people have discovered its joys and thrive on ‘being there’ for a friend or neighbor with a problem.  The Kakoons are such a family.  Avrohom Kakoon acts as a chazzan (cantor) and spiritual leader at his shul (synagogue). In his spare time, he also volunteers as an emergency respondent for Hatzalah. His wife, Rina, volunteers as a doula, coaches new mothers and young families in managing their home and in parenting, and also cooks and bakes for families of women after birth. As infants, their seven children imbibed the satisfaction that accompanies giving and the sense of responsibility for those less fortunate.  Helping families after birth, running a used clothing center, mentoring youngsters in the community. Driving an ambulance, heading a branch of United Hatzalah, helping out families in the community who are undergoing crises, activity clubs for young people in the community.  The Kakoon siblings are involved in all of these. How can they not be? It was the ambience in the home they grew up in.

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R’ Chananya Chollak, Ezer Mizion Founder

When the family discovered Ezer Mizion, they clicked with the organization like a magnet to a paper clip. An entity that does not recognize 9-5 hours, whose founder routinely gives out his private cell phone number to recently orphaned children and tells them to call anytime, whose teenage volunteers vie with their friends to obtain an unpaid position in Ezer Mizion’s summer camp for special kids… Ezer Mizion was the perfect partner for the Kakoons.

They helped out in any way they could. One has even undertaken to head the Ezer Mizion’s Modi’in Linked to Life   group and another its counterpart in the Migdal HaEmek area. Linked to Life is a What’s App Center which connects people throughout Israel and even Europe, the US and Canada in order to provide for the needs of people around the globe. A surgical device is needed and can’t wait for regular mail. A man from Eretz Yisroel forgot his vital medication and realizes it only when he a several thousand feet in the air, on his way to California. A wheelchair-bound young man living in the North would like to spend Pesach with his family in Jerusalem and needs a ride in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. Hundreds of people like this are constantly being helped by heads of groups like the Kakoons and the volunteers who drop what they are doing at a buzz of their phone and race out to help a person in trouble.

The Fun of Giving

Avrohom and Rina planted strong seeds which continue to flourish into the next generation. Last summer vacation, while her peers were having fun in the pool and park, Avivah, a granddaughter, discovered another kind of fun. She gathered a group of friends and set up a refreshment stand. The girls popped popcorn and prepared gallons of drinks to sell to passersby. The money? It was donated to Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Division to help sick children, of course. Ezer Mizion welcomes Avivah as its newest volunteer and awaits her latest ideas to help those less fortunate than herself. Congratulations, Avivah! You have discovered the much sought after key to happiness.

See how you can partner with Ezer Mizion!Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail