Life goes on. Minor ups. Minor downs. Only the expected appears on the horizon. Day after day. Year after year. Until suddenly a violent gust swoops down and grabs you like a ferocious tornado. It picks you up from your familiar life and hurls you into a world of terror, of helplessness, of bewilderment. You feel like a tiny child, lost in a busy department store with no mommy to hold your hand.
In recent years, Ezer Mizion has tried to be that ‘mommy’, providing the emotional, psychological and practical support for those that have suddenly been diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Both they and their families find themselves in a maelstrom of fears with no coping mechanism in place. A center to turn to for support was sorely needed. Thus was born Ezer Mizion’s Division for Support of Cancer Patients and their Families. Countless letters are received from grateful families using the words: We never could have made it through without Ezer Mizion.
Encouragement from one who has ‘been there’ is extremely strengthening and that is why Pascale Berkowitz was invited to speak at Ezer Mizion’s Division for Cancer Support. Pascale had lost both of her legs in a horrifying train accident when she was sixteen years old. From one day to the next she went from being a bouncy teen, ready to conquer the world to being unable to fend for herself in basic ADL’s. In front of her were two roads – allowing herself to fall into the abyss of self-pity or moving forward from her new reality. With her i-can-do-it personality, Ms. Berkowitz chose the high road. Continue reading Devastated by Cancer…and Alone?
When staff really cares. When it’s not just a job…punch in/punch out. When the CEO gives out his cell number to recently orphaned children telling them to call anytime (and they do). When volunteers are inspired to drop what they are doing, time and time again, to help out a Jew in need… this is Jewish compassion at its best.
Sometimes it requires the utmost sensitivity. Like the kallah (bride) whose chassan (groom) was discovered shortly before the wedding to have leukemia. The wedding was rescheduled and the newlywed couple tried to build a home, albeit in a different way than planned, together. Ezer Mizion supported them in every way. The nightmare is over now. Please look over our shoulder, dear reader and supporter, as we read together the letter sent to the Ezer Mizion office. It is your gifts that enable Ezer Mizion to continue being the strong, dependable pillar for so many to lean on.
To the Fantastic, Special Organization: Ezer Mizion!
First of all, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your boundless giving and support, which helped us and gave us the tools we needed to get through a most difficult period, physically strong and emotionally healthy.
About two years ago, we got engaged, b’sha’ah tovah u’mutzlachat. The engagement period passed by pleasantly, filled with many hopes and dreams about the home that we would build together and the happy life we would share.
We do not know Hashem’s (G-d’s) calculations, but we do know that everything He does is for the best. And so, a month before our wedding, my husband was diagnosed with leukemia.
Suddenly, everything looked different… The wedding was pushed up to take place a few days later, and immediately afterwards, we began treatment. The physical and emotional pain and the challenges involved in these treatments are too complex to describe…
Amid all the agony and frustration, the Ezer Mizion team – a marvelous organization unmatched in its unfaltering assistance and support – appeared on the scene, truly loyal messengers. They helped us in countless ways, both practical and emotional. They were always there, even before we realized we needed something.
Ezer Mizion wisely and gently set us up with an expert therapist, which, in our sensitive situation, was truly a lifesaver!! She listened, supported, encouraged, and counseled us. She baruch Hashem (thank G-d) helped us in this very delicate situation, not to break down, but to remain happy, strong, optimistic, and full of emunah (faith), using our challenge to grow and form an even closer bond.
Again, we feel eternally grateful to those who were behind all this outpouring of chessed- those who helped, those whose financial support enabled this help…
We give you our heartfelt blessings that you should always be on the giving end, in good health, joy and happiness, and may Divine assistance accompany you in all your endeavors.
With our greatest appreciation,
Moshe and Chedvah
Jewish compassion…Sometimes it requires the flexibility of changing plans at the drop of a hat. A family with three small children recently emigrated to Israel from France. Resettling was hard enough but became overwhelming when the wife was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. Rides to the clinic, professional emotional support, regular meals, child care assistance, medical advocacy would all be theirs in a short time. But right now, this morning when Ezer Mizion became aware of their plight, they needed lunch. Food strengthens the body. Food invigorates the soul. Food enables the family to handle the crisis suddenly thrust upon them. And no lunch was yet on schedule. A call went out to volunteers: I know it’s very short notice but can anyone provide a hot lunch for five people today and for the next two days? In 1.5 minutes, that’s ninety seconds (!), one of our angels responded. A delicious, attractively served lunch was prepared by one volunteer, delivered by another to the family on time as if it were weeks in the preparation.
Ezer Mizion: where Jewish compassion provides the electricity that makes the wheels go ‘round.
Maor Cohen is a highly sensitive man who is known at Ezer Mizion as Mr. Lego. He raises the spirits of both children and adults battling life-threatening diseases with his Lego Workshop in addition to his hospital visits to those who cannot attend the workshop. Many have asked how he manages to create deep relationships that are too often broken when his ‘lego-friends’ leaves this world. Below is his answer. Continue reading “For You Remember All Things Forgotten” by Maor Cohen
Three years ago, when I came to Oranit, Ezer Mizion’s Cancer Support Center, to donate some LEGO sets, they asked me to work with children who have cancer and with children whose parents have cancer. “Wait! Stop! That’s more than I bargained for! All I came for was a one-time donation of LEGO .” I felt overwhelmed. This wasn’t what I had planned on. But the angels at Ezer Mizion made me see how much more I could do. I was frightened at the thought. After all, the word ‘cancer’ is unmentionable and I’d be not only using the word but diving right in. Lego therapy is what they called it. Something to enable the child to be a child in spite of the raging river of terror that threatens to drown him.
I was hesitant. At the time, my wife and I had been married for some time and still had no children. A friend gave me some great advice: If you want Hashem to give you children, volunteer to take care of His children. That clinched it. I was still hesitant, still frightened but I began with baby steps, thus launching my career as Lego Man. We have two little girls now. I can never thank my friend enough for his advice.
When I see those suffering children, I understand their inner turmoil. I know what it means to be a child with a sick parent.
They always say thank you but, in truth, I am the one who feels privileged, as an Ezer Mizion driver, to transport so many very special people who have been battling illness and often have gained a clear insight of Hashem’s loving hand. A family had requested a ride to the kvarim (gravesites) to give thanks to Hashem upon their young son completing a set of treatments.
Let me tell you about one of the best gifts I ever received. Picture it. It’s not too large. About the size of a golf ball. It was amazing. As soon as it arrived, it began pulling my whole family together like never before. I felt so loved and appreciated. I was able to recalibrate what’s really important in my life and it redefined my sense of spirituality. It even came with a coupon for an eight-week vacation with nothing to do – just accept flowers from all my family and friends to go with all their good wishes. You’re probably wondering how you can get it. Is it on Amazon? Is there a waiting list? The cost: $55,000. I’m not sure you would want it but, as for me, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s name? Cancer. Continue reading My Gift
Today everything is fine and we expect tomorrow to be the same. Often it is but sometimes it is not. Mrs. Jaffe* was expecting and experiencing what she thought was just the normal aches of a pregnancy. Then it got worse. The pain was excruciating. The doctors were at loss as they did not want to do extensive testing until the baby was born. It was then that the horrific discovery was made. Continue reading When Things Couldn’t Get Any Worse
Registration was underway. Name. Address. Phone. Room assignment. More lines to be filled out on an inanimate, impersonal form. But there before me stood not line items but people. A group came forward. Children gathered around a Mommy like frisky kittens tumbling over themselves trying to find a place. But the Mommy? The center. Their source of sunshine. Their source of life. The Mommy stood there, her skin translucent. So weak. So helpless. While her children clamored only for the normal requests of childhood, Sara was engaged in a battle for her life. A monster named Cancer had robbed her children of a nurturing Mommy. To admire a drawing, to kiss away a boo-boo…oh, how she longed to perform these motherly privileges once again. But she couldn’t. She felt like a shaky plant that will collapse completely unless surrounded by sturdy props. That’s why she registered in Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camp for Families dealing with Cancer. Its staff and volunteers would be the props to hold her up while she gave her children a much-needed dose of “Mommy”. Continue reading Rx: Fun
The walls of the homes of holocaust survivors often whisper: “Produce! Produce! Replace what was destroyed.” Moti Zisser a’h grew up in such a home and heeded the unsaid call. From a simple upbringing, he became a tycoon, branching out all over Israel and around the world. Giant ventures, huge shopping centers were the bricks of his world. Torah and chessed were its products. Together with his wife, Bracha hbl’c, he established Ezer Mizion’s International Bone Marrow Donor Registry in Israel, which has already saved the lives of over 2,000 people. He was one of the founders of Mer’orot Hadaf Hayomi and supported this tremendous enterprise all his life. Private individuals also knew how to reach his listening ear and left warmed by the caring of a warm-hearted Jew, generous check in hand. Impoverished newlyweds often would find their needs well taken care of by a clandestine visit from a ‘mysterious angel’. Some may say that his life ended in tragedy with his succumbing to cancer at age 60. But the word ‘tragedy’ can never describe a life that accomplished so much. Continue reading Moti Zisser & The Shopping Centers that Saved Lives