By C. Miller
Recap: An on-site tour at Ezer Mizion in Eretz Yisroel for a staff member of Ezer Mizion office in Brooklyn resulted in an eye-opening picture of the scope of Ezer Mzion’s efforts.
As I turned to say goodbye to those I had met for the first time in person, I was told, “Not so fast. You haven’t seen the Medical Equipment Loan Division yet. By now I was certain that it would include much more than 10 pieces of walkers and wheelchairs but I was still unprepared for what was suddenly in front of me. Have you ever been in a medical equipment store? I have been to one of the largest in New York. That store is dwarfed in comparison with the Ezer Mizion Medical Equipment warehouse that provides every type of equipment AT NO COST to those in need.
A separate section provides medical supplies at wholesale rates. What type of supplies? Whatever may be needed…they’ve got it.
Yes, there were more than ten wheelchairs. There were hundreds of every size, of every need. And like everything Ezer Mizion does, it was set up professionally, perfectly organized. How does one organize a gargantuan supply of equipment. Our creative manager has the answer: Streets. Yes, you read that correctly. Streets. All are in neat rows with one classification in Rechov Arba Imahot and another in Hashedera HaMercazit (Central Blvd.) . A mini- village of wheelchairs.
And these are only 10% of Ezer Mizion’s stock. At any given time, 90% are out on in use. It may for the elderly, the ill or a recently released hospital patient. (Unlike in the US, medical equipment is not given out upon release from the hospital and a patient may be forced to stay much longer than necessary due to lack of the correct aides.)
Meet Michoel, one of the repair people who was happy to show us around. Each piece of equipment being returned to Ezer Mizion is inspected carefully. It must be not only in working order but in top condition before it goes out again. Michoel recalls his first meeting with Rav Chananya Chollak, Ezer Mizion’s founder. “Please, be very careful. A patient’s safety is of utmost importance but in addition to safety, we also want to focus on his feelings. Illness can be debilitating, both physically and emotionally. A tiny tear in a corner of the seat will not affect the use of the wheelchair but it can further his already depressed state. Make it look like new and you’ll put a smile on his face.” That was Michoel’s introduction to Ezer Mizion. Dignity and Respect. The Ezer Mizion trademark.
And so we continued our tour walking up and down the ‘streets’ of the ‘village’. Walkers, rollators, oxygen concentrators, portable oxygen. An immense machine to fill tanks, so efficient that it is also used by other entities. Incontinence supplies of every type, lotions, bandages. Every item found on Amazon is found at Ezer Mizion.
Three o’clock turned into four, then five. And still my ever-patient driver waited. Like every resident of Eretz Yisroel, his admiration for Ezer Mizion was vast and he wouldn’t dream of asking a tour to be cut short. At 5:40, I entered the car, just a ‘bit’ past the original time of 3:30 as Naomi, one of my new friends, commented. Next stop: the airport. Baggage check. Security. Passport Control. And then blessed rest. I closed my eyes and the slideshow began. A washing-machine sized fryer, a walk-in oven, shrink-wrap machinery, a horde of oxygen tanks waiting to be refilled, a street sign Rechov Magen Ha’Elef, Michoel’s sincere smile as he repeats the words of Rav Chollak… all parading down my mind’s eye. I smiled in pride at being a cog in the wheel of an organization which makes every challenge of another Jew to be its mission.