Thank You — in My Name, Her Name, and His Name

coronavirusTo Our Volunteers who Have Put in Tremendous Effort to Provide what is Needed within the Restrictions of Coronavirus

 

 

In the name of the patient you serviced all around

And the one you revitalized, alone and homebound

In the name of the preemie, in his mother’s embrace

And the father, back with his children, through your good grace.

 

In the name of the boy who an ironed shirt wore,

And the envelope you gave to the sick and the poor,

In the name of the mental health client, whose pain you allayed

And the medicine delivered, though your strength was frayed.

 

In the name of a senior who ate a meal, good and hot

And the assignment you took before knowing what,

In the name of the boy at risk, saved from decline,

And the special needs child for whom you made the sun shine.

 

In the name of the families, who enjoy your good dishes,

Cakes, sides, and salads, plus the warmest of wishes,

In the name of all that you prepared and had planned

But when delayed by an assignment, you understand.

 

In the name of all of the Linked to Life stars

The general groups and the specialty cars

In the name of the pastry bakers and cooks of gourmet

That cannot be matched in the world any day

 

Thank you, you’re great!

Our blessing for success!

In my name and Ezer Mizion’s —

You’re simply the best!

 

On behalf of the group leaders and those with social service jobs,

And social workers who doubled shifts saying “No prob!”

The staff at the office and at equipment loan,

And those who offer encouragement from at home.

 

Because we’re here when you need us!

With you we’ll remain

We’ll do what we can

To lower your pain,

However we can,

To help and to guide

As long as it takes,

We’re here at your side.

 

Rivi, in the name of the Ezer Mizion Jerusalem Branch family

 

 

 

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Coronavirus Crisis — Updates from the Field

 

coronavirusDear Ezer Mizion Family,

In the midst of one of the most turbulent times that the world has ever known, the need for Ezer Mizion services has significantly increased. We thought it important to stop the rush of activity for a moment and update you on what’s being done in your neighboring departments and divisions. Amazing work with real dedication!

We are each busy with the challenging work going on within our own departments and staffs — and now, at a time of national and international emergency, it is heartening and comforting to discover that we’re all part of the enormous efforts to bring emotional and physical sustenance and recovery to the Jewish people.

How fortunate we are to be on the giving end!

Bone Marrow Registry

While meticulously following the directives of the Health Department and international regulations, the Collection Center is continuing to collect stem cells from matching donors. The saving of lives goes on, without compromise!

This month, we even had a record number of collections done by our collection center with a total of 41 lifesaving transplants!

In a complex logistic effort, stem cell units were recently sent from Ben Gurion Airport via Germany to a cancer patient in Italy. Additional lifesaving units were flown on cargo planes, in the absence of regular passenger flights. Each case was its own complex assignment, which had our team tapping in to massive networking and creativity to achieve our mission.

Cancer Patient Support Services

In order to protect the health of cancer patients, who are Corona virus high risk — Ezer Mizion’s dedicated staff was compelled to break off all face-to-face contact with the patients. The connection continues “long distance” with packages of sweets, phone calls, and surprises and online connections.

In a joint project with Schneider Childrens Medical Center and other partners, Ezer Mizion has organized a day camp for children of the hospital’s doctors and nursing staff, enabling the medical teams to continue their vital work even when schools are closed.

Geriatric Services Division

The senior population is considered highly vulnerable due to the Coronavirus.

An impressive service cushion was set up by Ezer Mizion Geriatric Services team to bolster and support the aging population in Israel.

  • A hotline for emotional support and provision of medicines, food supplies and vital needs for seniors. Many of them do not have computer access or family members who can help them. The many calls that come in are chilling! Elderly people break into tears as they tell of their loneliness, incidents of illness and neglect that require urgent intervention, and above all, a large number who call looking for a listening ear and human warmth. The response of the dedicated staff is really amazing and we are so proud of them for their efficient
  • In addition, the Division has introduced the “Bonding with Motion” program — a home-based age-adapted fitness program to maintain the seniors’ health. The program is available on video and as a handbook that can be downloaded at the Ezer Mizion Hebrew website.
  • Hotline support, tips, and guidance — unique for the Corona period, serving the families of Alzheimer’s patients at the Tzipporah Fried Alzheimer Family Support Center.

Mental Health Division

Some rehab services are continuing, in accordance with Health Department directives, in the understanding that maintenance of a sane routine is critical for mental health clients.

In addition, we are witness to a dramatic rise in the number of callers seeking a listening ear, support and someone to share their anxiety and tension with. The Division foresaw this need in advance and the “Yedidei Nefesh” hotline has stepped up its activity. Population-adapted staff is responding with utmost sensitivity to many hundreds of calls from clients.

The Division has also created handbooks for families of clients on how to deal appropriately with the situation and keep up a normal daily schedule, as well as instructions for physical activity. The handbooks can be downloaded online at the Division website.

AAC (Alternative Augmentative Communication) Center

In a project specifically targeting hospitalized Corona patients who are on respiratory support in hospitals, Ezer Mizion’s AAC Center has compiled a special handbook of communication boards, tailored to individual needs. The handbooks were sent on request to 15 hospitals around Israel and are also available online in several languages for downloading on Ezer Mizion’s site.

Special Children’s Division

Ezer Mizion’s Judith Pfeuffer Daycare Center Network and Ezer Mizion’s kindergartens, serving babies, toddlers and young children with complex special needs, are continuing to provide online guidance to parents.

The Respite Program has been stepped up and is working around the clock to alleviate the difficulties parents are experiencing ever since all special education schools and recreation frameworks were shut down by the Ministry of Helath.

Since the educational system, including services for children with special needs, has been suspended, children with complex difficulties are at home and the parents are experiencing severe hardships! In response, a hotline for parents has been set up in addition to an information center on the local municipal information line.

Currently, the focus is primarily on the daily function and didactic fronts. Information on entitlements through other entities with additional support options are provided aong with personalized learning materials for each child that were created by EzerMizion professional staff.

Ambulance Transport

Mobility impaired patients are frequently classified as Corona high risk and must be more careful today than ever not to use public transportation! Our devoted ambulance staff continues driving the mobility impaired, using full protection and personal responsibility, as required.

The Linked to Life department is working together with the branches at this time, with close cooperation and full energy!

Linked to Life – in a big way!!!

The Linked to Life volunteer network is working these days at full steam, together with Ezer Mizion branches throughout Israel, providing solutions for thousands of people every day. Requests for assistance stream in, and are provided thanks to exceptional cooperation with local authorities through municipal hotlines, ensuring provision of responses for the needs of the most complex and needy residents.

Haifa and Northern Region Branch, under the leadership of Moshe Beeri, joined the authorities in his region in answering the ongoing calls prompted by residents fragile medical and financial situation. The branch identifies needs all the time and works unflaggingly to develop appropriate solutions.

Jerusalem Branch is buzzing with activity — distributing food, delivering medications to seniors, and countless other small and big kindnesses, in response to needs that arise.

In Netivot and Southern Region Branch, the staff works tirelessly helping families of special children by arranging babysitters and distributing cheerful craft kits, food distribution to the needy,  and solutions to many requests, stories, and personal needs. It is so thrilling to hear about these and about the response that was given!

Last week, the Rechovot Branch worked to distribute 1500 (!) meals to seniors, patients, and people in quarantine, in collaboration with the Municipality, and responded to the a range of needs of city residents.

There is the “Kimcha D’pischa” project in Kefar Saba and other branches, providing produce and Pesach products for families who were struggling with serious health challenges before Corona came along.

At the Matan Center in Nechalim for young adults who are cognitively perfect but have severe physical impairments, the staff is active online to maintain contact with center members who have stopped attending due to Corona. Special gift kits for Pesach were prepared for every Center member along with a moving poem.

Craft kits were sent out in Modi’in Ilit and other cities to orphans and cancer patient families. Devoted mentors do their work from afar in Elad. And more and more!

The activity goes on around the clock and we are totally awed by the energetic staffs deployed across the country!

Linked to Life teams have recently added hundreds of new volunteers to its rosters, strengthening the existing support network across the country, working from morning to night.

Craft kits for the orphans and patients of Modi’in Ilit

Medicines to the door for seniors and patients — Linked to Life

Close collaboration with the Home Front Command

Distribution of Kimcha D’pischa — Rechovot branch

Kits for children with special needs — Netivot

Food distribution — Tzefat

And that was just a small taste J

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Our Volunteers- May They Be Blessed

 

No pen, no time – We’re running a race

Can’t slow down, got to keep up the pace

One request follows another:

Driving a patient, helping an exhausted mother,

Buying and delivering a drug from the store…

Each job is grabbed in a second, no more

 

They give resources and strength of their own

And rush to bring food to a senior all alone

Respond to each call that appears on the screen,

Bring mother of preemie to the hospital scene

 

Kits and groceries you bring with speed

To homes with patients and people in need

To special kids, sensitivity is your code

You raise “giving” to a higher mode.

For cancer patients you bring your aid

And to dialysis patients, your kindness is displayed.

 

And more… and more… countless calls,

Requests, assignments, rides for all,

And we just stand here, in awe, it’s true,

Full of great esteem for you.

 

And we say a prayer, a plea:

 

Father in Heaven, look from Above

See our volunteers, their link, their love.

See their sheer determination,

Their helping hand, bringing calm with dedication,

 

The cars that for chessed zoom,

The amazing responsiveness, no matter for whom

 

The motorcycles that fly in every direction

The “Linkeds” can be found at every intersection.

 

Tally each one,

They’re beyond count,

And bless us all with health,

On their account…

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Corona and the Speed of Light

coronavirusHow fast is the speed of light? The scientists will quote numbers but those of us at Ezer Mizion will quote stories instead. Like the family from Italy. They were terrified to remain and fled to Israel. As per government restrictions, they knew they would be going into immediate isolation but where? They had no home. In one day, an apartment was found for them. An apartment to live in but it was empty. Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life was called into action. Electrical appliances arrived as if by magic. Funds for basics were raised. A grocery shopper materialized. Cooked meals were organized. It touches the heart. If there is something that gives us strength during these difficult days, it’s the spirit of volunteering that we see with Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life volunteers. Assignments are snatched up at the speed of light.

Ezer Mizion has been around since 1979. Says a staff member: Especially in these challenging days, I feel like I’m giving my debt back to society. I will start from the beginning.  I was eight and a half years old when my mother had breast cancer. Medicine was not developed enough in those days to deal with the disease. My father created a connection with the Ezer Mizion who made sure to schedule an immediate appointment for the doctor in Tel Hashomer. I remember that he told us how he waited there, confused and scared. He said that the volunteers came to him, who brought him food and drink and said that they are now accompanying him and all of us, that we are now family. Really– in these words. And so it was. Since then, Ezer Mizion was always there, in medical counseling that was critical in the great confusion and in sending volunteers who accompanied, supported and helped us throughout the period. After a year of treatments, my mother passed away. 20 years have passed since then. At the age of 10, I started volunteering there. Today, I run the entire north area (from Netanya to the Hermon). I am finally paying back.

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Giving is Healing Translated from Yisrael Hayom, by Dan Lavie

coronavirus

In spite of the serious effects of the Coronavirus in Italy, a cancer patient there received a bone marrow donation from Israel • Director of Ezer Mizion’s Registry: “A tremendous mission”

In the shadow of the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic in the world and its especially harsh effects in Italy, a lifesaving stem cell donation was sent last Wednesday from a donor in Israel to a cancer patient in Italy. For that patient, this delivery of stem cells was a ticket to recovery and life! This feat was accomplished thanks to Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry, which continues functioning despite the unprecedented challenges of this trying period.

At Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport handover hub, an Ezer Mizion Registry representative personally delivered the small package of stem cells to a courier who came especially for this mission from Germany. The courier then transported the stem cells to the hospital in Italy.

More than one million potential stem cell donors who each gave a DNA sample are listed in the Registry. In practice, all the registries in the world are connected via an online network, enabling them to coordinate among themselves when necessary.

In a conversation with Yisrael Hayom, Dr. Bracha Zisser, Director of the Registry, explained the process and discussed the continued activity of the Registry in the shadow of the Coronavirus pandemic. “First a search is done within the family for a matching stem cell donor. Medical teams of patients who do not find a match in the family, search in the international registry network, which pinpoints potential genetically matching donors in registries around the world. In this case, after they saw that we have a matching donor, an official request was submitted to Ezer Mizion’s Registry for workup and stem cell collection.”

Regarding Ezer Mizion’s important work during these complex times, Zisser said: “The situation is especially problematic due to the fact that these patients, who are receiving chemotherapy treatments, cannot wait for six months or until the Coronavirus problem will be resolved. Our primary challenge is how to send the bone marrow unit when so many of the flight routes have been shut down.

“In this area, both the Ministry of Health and the National Security Council cooperated with us successfully, and I am happy to say that the right solutions were found, with the help of airport authorities. In spite of the difficult course in this challenging time, the stem cell unit reached its destination. Here is another tremendous mission of saving a life,” she summed up with satisfaction.

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CoronaVirus: It’s All Hands on Deck

coronavirusCoronavirus – its tentacles have entered every area of our lives. Schools, shuls, work, stores…all closed.  Weddings planned in detail for months are held in primitive standards with few attendees. And then there are the sick. A young mother with leukemia has been waiting in hope and prayer for a genetic match to be found so that she may receive the stem cell transplant that will save her life. At long last, one was found! He has an appointment at the hospital to donate his stem cells. Her life will be saved. Will it happen?

Ezer Mizon operates one of the few stem cell collection centers in the world located outside of a hospital setting. Ezer Mizion has accepted this significant undertaking in order to ensure that patients in need of stem cell transplants that these hospitals provide can receive this lifesaving treatment. We are proud to be part of another Covid-19 collaborative, working together in these trying times with other entities to ensure the success of our shared lifesaving mission.

All of Ezer Mizion’s varied departments have rallied to the cause. Linked to Life, a network which organizes rides and transportation of vital needs worldwide, has been greatly involved.  Ezer Mizion’s Mental Health Division provides aid and support throughout the year to mental health patients and their families. This aid is vital to enable them to maintain a normal life routine, especially at this time of instability.

A request went out to a group in Bnai Brak on Wednesday at 10:06 PM:

We need your help to get out a small aid kit to the patients to ease these difficult days for them. We cannot provide them with a cure, but we can and must make life easier and more manageable for them. Task: To take envelopes with kits for distribution to families of mental health patients in Bnei Brak — 250 addresses.to be put down outside the door. The information and details of the family written on the envelope are confidential. Who can help with the distribution?

[Mar. 18, 10:08 p.m.] Response from dispatcher:

Listen to me and listen well. You never in your life saw such a thing…More than 200 addresses were taken by you angels of chessed.in two minutes.  May we merit a yeshuah very very soon!

I have tears in my eyes. I’m sure you do, too! May Hashem pay you your just reward!

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Corona? Ezer Mizion Is Accessible and Available Now, Even More than Always!

coronavirusThe world has ground to a halt. Uncertainty, confusion, and worry fill every heart, and it seems that the Coronavirus has pushed aside every other concern

But not the thousands struggling with serious illness, special needs, or other substantial challenges. These people, who are assisted at ordinary times by Ezer Mizion’s huge support system, continue to cope now, too, with the illness, the special need, or the mental disorder. As difficult as it is for everyone, for them the situation is virtually impossible.

How can parents take care of the children who are at home, without any school or day-care, and at the same time be with their child hospitalized with cancer?! What can they do with a family member who is battling mental illness, when this tense situation triggers his terrible outbursts, and they can’t even take him outside a bit so as to calm him down?! How do you occupy a child with special needs in the confines of four walls, when he can’t sit quietly for even a minute?!

Ezer Mizion’s hotline is the answer to these and many other such questions. With the outbreak of Coronavirus in Israel, Ezer Mizion understood that the services given all year round would need to be adapted to the situation according to Health Department directives, and they immediately got to work on doing so.

A special counseling and support hotline was opened at *2236, providing a response in a range of areas: mental health, the elderly, cancer patients, special needs, and more.

In collaboration with local municipalities and Social Services departments, Ezer Mizion branches across the country began functioning as emergency stations and vital services were stepped up, in accordance with needs as they arise.

The Phones Don’t Stop Ringing

Print and digital media ads were published, listing details of Ezer Mizion branches, hours, and contact information of branch directors and service providers.

The phones don’t stop ringing. Hundreds of calls are coming in on a range of subjects. They are responded to and addressed with Ezer Mizion’s trademark efficiency, graciousness, and professionalism.

There are also the responses given before the calls: Along with the ongoing support for cancer patients and their families, hundreds of special craft kits were delivered to the families of patients across the country, to keep kids busy and free up parents to deal with the battle for their loved one’s life. One-on-one mentoring continues (as long as it will be permitted by the Ministry of Health) and individual therapies and personal emotional intervention for cancer patient families are also provided. Hot meals are still being brought to families homes. Deliveries will continue as long as permitted.

In addition to hotline teams that are responding to incoming calls, the Mental Health division initiates contact with mental health patients and their families, helping maintain calm and picking up on distress signals in time, ensuring provision of a timely, appropriate response. There has been an understandable unprecedented peak in requests for assistance in cases of anxiety and depression, relating to the unstable health, social and financial impact of Covid-19.

The Geriatric Services Division provides homecare attendant services and extensive support to the elderly, maintaining their daily routine, meeting their unique needs, and assisting this high risk population. Special supervision is given to ensure that the attendants fulfill Ministry of Health requirements and do not abandon the patients for whom they are responsible.

While all group meeting and activities have been suspended by the Ministry of Health, the Tzipporah Fried Alzheimer Family Support Center is busy reaching out to hundreds of families and caregivers of dementia patients who are part of the service network, with guidance and support during this incredibly trying time. They are also manning the hotline, fielding incoming phone calls and requests for help.

Babies and toddlers who attend Ezer Mizion’s Judith Pfeuffer Day Care Center network, along with all the children who attend Ezer Mizion’s kindergartens for special needs children, are currently home, in accordance with Min. of Health directives. The teaching and therapy staff is in touch with each family, who are monitoring the children remotely. Each child received a personalized instruction and work program, sent to the homes of countless children, all delivered by volunteers!

The ambulance fleet is flooded with requests and at the ready to provide an optimum response to the many callers. Drivers are of course equipped with appropriate protection.

Medical and rehab equipment loan center services have been intensified to provide a response to the many requests coming in. The Augmentative and Alternative Communication Equipment Loan Center is continuing business as usual, lending out urgently needed communication equipment, counseling for speech and communication issues, and trouble shooting for equipment. Just last week, a device was lent to a young Corona patient….

Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life volunteer driver division, has embarked on a massive volunteer recruitment campaign. This is to preempt a situation in which there is no one available for an urgent need of delivering stem cell tests, medications, medical and rehab devices, and such. Ezer Mizion has been amazed at the response of volunteers, and thanks to them, the system is working full strength ahead, despite the fact that many volunteers who are currently in isolation.

A special call from Chananya Chollak, Ezer Mizion’s International Chairman, went out to the thousands of Ezer Mizion staff and volunteers: “The mitzvah that is forefront in our minds during this period is “V’nishmartem me’od l’nafshoteichem,” to guard our health. I am certain that each and every one of you is doing the maximum to guard his health and the health of his family, and, at the same time, to stretch out a helping hand to those who are in special distress and need our support. It is our prayer that Hashem should watch over everyone and remove this plague from us and from the entire world.”

Many volunteers responded on the spot to Rabbi Chollak’s heartfelt plea and expressed their readiness to volunteer on behalf of patients, the elderly, populations with special needs and their family members. At Ezer Mizion, we are praying along with the entire Jewish people that G-d should put an end to this pandemic and bring us the complete redemption.

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Specify ‘Corona’ in memo and your donation will be designated for Corona Projects

 

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Corona: Message from Rabbi Chananya Chollak, Founder of Ezer Mizion

pr gen R' Chollak IMG_0349 unlimited useWe are now in the midst of a non-routine time, when the Coronavirus is attacking many people in Israel and around the world. On the one hand, at the forefront of our minds is the great mitzvah of “V’nishmartem me’od l’nafshoteichem,” to guard our health, requiring us to do whatever we can to avert spreading and catching the disease, which can lead to endangerment of human life. With every act we do towards this aim, we merit fulfilling the mitzvah of “V’nishmartem.” Continue reading Corona: Message from Rabbi Chananya Chollak, Founder of Ezer Mizion

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Corona: Speaking from the Field

coronavirus

 

It’s all hands on deck in the battle of the current world wide war on the coronavirus. Ezer Mizion, known for its International Jewish Bone Marrow Registry, is focusing the energies of all of its numerous departments into dealing with countless crises brought about by the virus. We spoke with Dassy in Israel who is at the epicenter of it all. Continue reading Corona: Speaking from the Field

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Serving Israel’s Mentally Ill

Image result for weights image

Always on the lookout for means of fulfilling the needs of vulnerable segments of the population, Ezer Mizion has recently opened a new physical fitness center for men dealing with mental health issues. The center focuses on weight lifting, muscle strengthening, and nutrition training. Its long-term mission is to prepare the client for gainful employment, enabling him to  gradually re-enter mainstream society. Continue reading Serving Israel’s Mentally Ill

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