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 ShemonehContinue reading Wherever, Whatever, Whenever We’re Needed
Were you ever in a quandary not knowing where to turn? Did you automatically feel a need to turn to Mommy even though you are a Mommy yourself now and maybe even a grandmother? Of course, you did. A mother seems all-knowing, all-powerful . She can fix anything or so it seemed in memories of childhood. And how did she obtain such powers? Through one source only: her great love and caring. And so perhaps that is why hundreds of thousands turn to Ezer Mizion no matter what they need. It begins from above, from Rav Chananya Cholak, the founder of Ezer Mizion, and permeates to each staff member and volunteer…that tremendous love and sensitivity, that outpouring respect and caring. It forms the very fabric of Ezer Mizion. And so the phone rang.Continue reading A Newborn Meets His Mommy
We can say it in numbers. 650,000 hot meals for family of seriously ill. 80,000 medical equipment loans. 4400 special needs children. Big numbers. Impressive, aren’t they? Or we can say it in people. Real people. People with feelings. People who cry.
People like the mother who had been looking forward to a delightful reunion with her family after birth until corona cancelled her plans. Diagnosis: positive. Tremendous tension. Will she be ok? Will she be able to care of the newborn? Will the newborn be ok? Quarantine. For the whole family. No preparations. No family to take her home. No exuberant welcome. No gleeful hodgepodge of a welcome-home supper put together by small, eager hands. No anticipation of Mommy soon taking over the kitchen providing that homey security that only mommies can do. No joy. Just anxiety, stress and worry. And then… on the heels of her entry – a warm delivery of 10 falafel portions. A message of caring and support for the difficult days to come. And the sun began to shine.Continue reading Big Numbers Little Numbers
So very young but they have already learned an important life principle: that one is so much happier if the eye is not focused on the ‘I’. These young people could have spent Tisha B’Av groaning about how hungry they are, how many hours are left, what they plan to eat when the fast is over…Instead they focused on others. On families living with cancer who are surely having a difficult time fasting as they continue to deal with the nightmare that colors every moment. On parents who are not even home but are spending the day at what has become their second home – the oncology ward of the hospital. These Ezer Mizion volunteers cannot cure the cancer but perhaps they can alleviate the burden by keeping the children happily occupied during this most difficult day. And so, in spite of the miserable heat, in spite of their own weakness, off they went – over 40 Ezer Mizion volunteers – to give those kids a fantastic time.
Of course, transportation was needed both for the kids and the volunteers but there was no lack of those who wanted to be part of this project. When a request went out, the replies poured in:Continue reading Keeping the Eye Away from the I
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.Continue reading Our Treasured Volunteers
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,
In light of the increase in the number of patients in Beersheba and the environs and a sharp rise in their needs, representatives of Ezer Mizion-Southern Region approached the Bet Moriah community and suggested a collaboration between Ezer Mizion and community volunteers. Continue reading The Negev Comes to Life
We stood at the door, needy and poor
Searched for words, but none would appear.
For you, Leah, mere words could never express,
Just a hot and glistening tear.
For whatever we’d say, any words we’d outpour
You were so, so much more…
You were so, so much more…
A mother and daughter, sister and wife,
Your “flock” always there at your side,
With devotion and will, and always so calm,
Your children you gently would guide.
You had such a pure and pleasant demeanor,
Your genuine joy captivated.
You knew to be silent, even in pain,
A true inner wholeness radiated
I felt your strong image obligating us all,
For we saw a life story of courage,
A tale – short, yet long – from which we must learn,
An epic to urge and encourage.
I saw your figure arousing, demanding –
So simple, yet sincerely so pure.
Teaching: What value has a transient world
Versus Torah heights that endure?
I merited seeing how one can and must
Live with rivers of flowing love
For every mitzvah, for each creature,
And for the Creator above.
I had a walking textbook before my eyes,
Of how to feel the pulse of time as it flies.
Pearls carefully strung, pieces of life
Stories too many to count,
You were… You said…
You left us a legacy…
A wondrous lifetime account.
Volunteering at your bedside was a privilege indeed,
Your radiant character inspiring,
Days and nights, how you hoped and believed,
I was awed by your faith, never tiring.
You lay in your bed, wounded and aching,
Your body, in agony and pain
Yet you did all to give a good feeling, a sweet,
Thanking us again and again.
As the sand in your hourglass neared to its end,
You knew how to utilize your time.
To inquire about our new job, a shidduch to suggest,
As if you were feeling in your prime.
Your modesty was rare, O, what a loss!
You were a sacrifice, for the rest to atone.
They surely rejoiced up Above when you came,
But, Leah, we were left here, alone!
We’ve lost mother and daughter, sister and wife,
Our finest, alas, has moved on!
Our heads are bowed, we weep on end,
The “thorns” need their “rose,” but she’s gone…
I know that the prayers and the tears that were shed
Carved into our hearts their impression
They built and transformed, worked wonders indeed,
With their painful, yet penetrating lesson.
For, we, too, want to be pure as were you,
To rise above matter, beyond “why”
And, like Leah, to amass innumerable merits,
To lead a life of truth, to try.
The final lines, the music fades,
The tears are reluctantly dried.
I’ve written and shared, yet my words cannot paint
Your greatness – I’m just not qualified
No, I just couldn’t capture your towering image,
Not your life, nor the secret of who you are.
All we can do is to learn and to yearn
To be like you, though we are so far.
See, Leah, the fruits of your labor,
The light that you kindled still glows
It continues to shine and illuminate
The Kiddush Hashem yet grows.
The paths that you blazed, rare in their beauty
Many more will yet tread them again,
For this path is not far, it’s within our reach
“Yisgadal v’yiskadash shmei rabbah,” Amen.
Some say that the new generation is steeped in materialism and can’t see past their ipod screens. Is it true? A recent event in Israel honoring junior volunteers yielded some surprises.
Last summer, M, a sixth grader, noticed something strange going on in her neighbor’s home. Continue reading Volunteering: What the Kids Have Discovered