They came regularly with a burning desire to help, almost never missing their scheduled day. It was not honor that pushed them to don hot, uncomfortable ‘spacesuits’ and go from bed to bed dispensing compassion that would bring a rare smile to the face of their patients. For some it was dialing the phone number of a family member so that they could hear the voice of a loved one. For others a drink when they had lain there for hours unable to procure a glass of water or perhaps it was a delivery of goodies baked especially for the patient by a loving daughter. Or silently holding the hand of a patient on a ventilator. And for too many, it was saying Shma (core prayer) as their souls ascended with no family member able to be there.
It was not honor that drove these dedicated Ezer Mizion volunteers but now, as the situation eases, it was others who felt a powerful desire to honor them, to acknowledge the impact of the Ezer Mizion volunteers on the national disaster.
Rabbi Chollak , Founder of Ezer Mizion together with the Ezer Mizion senior staff members and branch directors were invited to the Knesset for a ceremony and national recognition with MK Moshe Gafni chairman of the Knesset’s financial committee. Yisrael Yeret, director of the Ezer Mizion Jerusalem branch and Moshe Hillel the activity coordinator were honored with a certificate for their selfless devotion, caring and professionalism during the Covid crisis, assisting all those in need throughout the pandemic.
Another prestigious ceremony was held at the Asaf Harofeh hospital in Beer Yaakov. During the thick of corona, Ezer Mizion worked alongside hospitals across the country recruiting and training people that had recovered from covid to assist in the corona wards with whatever necessary to ease the workload of the nurses and medical staff. Even such basics as feeding patients and bringing drinks could not be handled by the overloaded staff. The Ezer Mizion volunteers literally saved lives.
MK Rabbi Moshe Gafni opened the Knesset meeting this morning with words of thanks to Hakadosh Baruch Hu (G-d) for His many kindnesses and pronounced the berachah (blessing) of “Hagomel” —“Who does good to the undeserving and Who has rendered every kindness to me.”
MK Gafni related: “I didn’t realize what it was all about. It was Shabbos (Sabbath). Suddenly I felt that I couldn’t walk and before I knew it, I had fallen. I wanted to go down to Minchah (Afternoon Services) so my children wouldn’t worry about me. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. It’s probably nothing, i thought to myself, but I did need to take care of the gash near my eye before Mincha so I went to Ezer Mizion’s Emergency First Aid Station. There were two doctors there, Arabs, it happened, friends of mine. I told them that I had fallen and I asked them to close and bandage the wound I’d gotten around my eye from the fall. Even though all I had asked them to do was to take care of my wound, they insisted on doing an EKG. EKG for a wound??? I told them that all I came for was a simple bandaging. But they did an EKG and immediately sent me to the nearby Maayanei Hayeshua Hospital Emergency Room.
Dr. Zachalka was there, a cousin of the former MK. We’re old friends but he just looked at me seriously. And he didn’t make any jokes. I asked him: “What’s going on?” He says to me, “Is this your EKG test?” “Yes,” I answered, “It’s mine. I just came with it from Ezer Mizion.” He immediately called another doctor and brought him in together with his team. They did this. They did that. And then like the voice of a nightmare, Dr. Zachalka tells me, “You’re having an angioplasty right now. You’re in the middle of a heart attack.” He couldn’t understand how I was speaking and laughing. It was a Divine miracle. Had I not fallen, i never would have gone to Ezer Mizion. I would not have known that I was having a heart attack. I didn’t even know that I had a heart…”
Knesset colleagues interjected: “It was your good fortune is that you fell and got hurt. Otherwise you wouldn’t have gotten to the hospital…”
“They called in Professor Granat, head of Cardiology at Maayanei Hayeshua. He immediately put in a stent and that saved my life. That is the story. Baruch Hashem (thank G-d), they took very good care of me. I have the highest praise for the doctors in all the places that took care of me; they were exceptional. My children, especially my youngest son, were with me for the duration of my hospitalization and recovery at home, and in addition, there wasn’t a single Knesset worker or MK who didn’t inquire as to how I was doing. I hope to reciprocate to everyone on happy occasions, and I thank Hakadosh Baruch Hu again and again for all of the kindnesses He did for me.”