I Missed Mine!

pr golden holocaust surv bas mitzvah 2016Many Holocaust survivors have built anew and are now successful heads of multi-generational families. But there in the recesses of their being lies the childhood that never was. They don’t speak about it. An adult would feel foolish expressing his regret over never having had the opportunity to play with dolls. But it’s there. Or rather, it is not there. A void that cannot be filled. Among themselves, the sorrow may come up in conversation. And at one other place: an Ezer Mizion Social Club for Holocaust Survivors. It was there that an idea was born.

As these heroes attend their grandchildren’s Bas and Bar Mitzvahs, their hearts are filled with pride. Yet there lurks that germ of regret. “I missed mine.”

Would a formal celebration during the Golden Years serve as closure for the childhood celebrations lost in the wisps of crematoria smoke. Call it a Bas Mitzvah. Call it a closure of sorts. Would it serve to put to rest, once and for all, a few of the demons that still invade in their souls? Continue reading I Missed Mine!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

A Letter that Belongs to You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters

pr mental illness flower MB900445658A Bas Mitzvah celebration is being planned at the Kosel for 100 holocaust survivors whose 12th birthday passed during the nightmare of terror with certainly no thought of a celebration. For many women,  the missing noting of this important milestone remained like a hole in their lives and they are extremely grateful for the closure offered at the upcoming celebration. the following is a letter written by one holocaust survivor who is so thankful that she wrote a letter to Ezer Mizion even before the event happened.  Continue reading A Letter that Belongs to You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Ezer Mizion Elad Troops in Action

pr phoneEzer Mizion, the Caller ID reads.
“Are you available to drive a patient to the hospital today at four?” Eli’s forehead wrinkles in thought and he makes the calculations. “I’ll take it.”
His cell phone vibrates. “This is Dr. Kluger’s secretary,” You have an appointment in another two weeks but a slot became available today at four. Interested?”
Yes, very interested. His foot has been waiting for over a month to be seen by the overbooked, expert orthopedist. True, it’s nothing critical but the nagging pain… Perhaps he should cancel the volunteer trip? Just this once…
“No,” he heard himself say. “I’m booked this afternoon.”
A soldier in the Ezer Mizion army does not go AWOL. Continue reading Ezer Mizion Elad Troops in Action

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Aging with Dignity by Kobi Arielli

pr depressionThis journey of mine into the heart of the Ezer Mizion world enters its eighth week. Every week, I reveal another chapter here, in our little corner. So far, we have only touched on a small fraction of the sweeping empire of activity.
Throughout this ongoing overview, during which I have met up with the people at work and have seen the various projects in action, I cannot help asking myself one question – a rather frightening one: What if all this did not exist? These are not government systems under official auspices. They are complementary, civilian, alternative systems. They are the product of private initiatives, supported by donations. They are a bonus that our civilian society is privileged to have at its disposal and that are so basic and self-understood!
Question: What does a family do when their loved one is stricken with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia?
The medical establishment will do its part to the best of its ability (in this case, that is easy enough: to inform the family that there is nothing to do…). But what’s next? How do you deal with a new reality in which a father or grandfather gradually loses his awareness and becomes helpless and disconnected, while his body remains whole and healthy? How do you protect him? How do you relate to him? How do you bear the pain and frustration? What do you do?
You turn to Ezer Mizion.
pr golden 2 14 yom tzilulim DSCF1639And what do you do in situations that are not quite so miserable, when you simply reach a stage where you are compelled to assist a parent or other relative who is gradually losing his independence and leaning on the care of others?
You turn to Ezer Mizion.
There, families of Alzheimer’s patients find their first hope for redemption from their impossible situation. They are presented with a course of action that ends up easing not only their burden, but the life of the patient himself. This takes place at the Organization’s Alzheimer’s Support Center, serving very many families in Israel.
This work is only a small part of the comprehensive system Ezer Mizion operates for the benefit of seniors and their families. Here, these precious elderly people, who initiated and established and exerted efforts and lovingly prepared everything for those who are now compelled to care for them and assist them – are given the special attention they have earned. A huge division of Ezer Mizion pools within it the spectrum of services needed by the senior and his family with an emphasis on setting up the environment so that the elderly individual will receive the optimum care.
Caregiver services, a counseling center, an empowerment center, walking groups, a variety of workshops, visits by volunteers, the Bonding with Motion program (a fascinating project that I intend to expand upon in the future) and more, without bounds.
I find it amazing. That there is an address. That there is somewhere to turn. That there is a way to ease pain that is not physical. That there is someone to talk to. That there is – Ezer Mizion.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Why Walk?

pr mental illness flowers 1542_ne_photo_stories1_98b2aFrom the Ezer Mizion mailbag:

I always knew that walking was important for your health, but after trying it, I discovered that it has a lot of other benefits as well, such as a positive effect on one’s mood and optimism, improved quality of sleep, increased limberness, and more.

All these benefits come into expression in Ezer Mizion’s weekly walking clubs for women aged 60 and up. The members of the group enjoy health and social benefits alike. One of the special things about the club is that it is led by a certified walking coach, who gives us tips for proper walking and teaches us how to derive the maximum benefit from the experience, while imbuing the group with a warm, friendly atmosphere. Access to the group is handy and convenient, thanks to a special bus that picks up walkers at set stations around the city.

In light of my very positive experience, I highly recommend to anyone who cares about her health to sign up for this walking club. To register, call Ezer Mizion’s Malka Hager Fitness Center, at: 073-3956317.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Round Table

pr golden helping handWith the goal of efficiently dealing with anticipated changes in the lives of senior citizens and with the rise in life expectancy, the Rehovot Senior Citizens’ Department, a department of its Social Services Division, recently set up a municipal “Round Table” to discuss issues related to the senior population and provide a response for new needs as they arise. Continue reading Round Table

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Support for Families Dealing with Alzheimers

Tzipporah Fried Alzheimer Support Center hosted a hands-on day event at Ezer Mizion’s Jacob Fried Building in Bnei Brak that included a music workshop and a phototherapy workshop. The program was geared for family member caregivers of Alzheimer patients who are living at home. The event gave caregivers an empowering experience, a chance to get out, and tools for working with the patient at home. Audience response was enthusiastic and impressive. Since we had workshops, rather than speakers, space was limited and advance registration was required. 64 caregivers took part in the program coming from as far as Jerusalem, Haifa, and even one all the way from Tzefat. Participants indicated high satisfaction on feedback forms. Primarily, they expressed the real need to hold more events like this one.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

An Application for…?

pr colorful_question_mark_vector_set_148455Rivka* was a hardworking home attendant, employed by Ezer Mizion to care for a frail, elderly woman. Her salary barely sufficed for her needs but she was content, knowing that she was doing important work. Her own sense of kindness intensified by the caring atmosphere at Ezer Mizion, she was constantly on the lookout for additional means of easing the plight of her client. When Rivka’s hours were over, she would return home only to care for another golden-ager, her own father. She cared for him devotedly but it soon became too difficult for her as his needs grew. Continue reading An Application for…?

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

The Holocaust Survivor

The war is long over. The crematoria have become a place to visit. Horrifying, yes, but safe from the sadism that was mankind. The Germans have even expressed their regrets in contrite tones of remorse. But for the victims… it can never be over. pr holocaust 1280px-Arbeit_Macht_Frei_Dachau_8235The horrific experiences permeated their very being. In their younger years, they may have managed to function what with job and home responsibilities covering over the nightmare that corroded their soul. But now- 70 years later – old, feeble, many of them alone, without family—they try to function. They try. But even though the body may still be healthy, the spirit has withered. And so they cower in a corner…sometimes figuratively…sometimes literally.

Leah* was one of those people. She lived at home, eating when hungry, sleeping when tired and spending the rest of her time just sitting. Do we dare to even think what memories may have flooded her sorely troubled mind as she sat, day after day, week after week. Alone. Her caregiver urged her to join Ezer Mizion’s Activity Club for Holocaust Survivors. The only response was disinterest and apathy. More urging from the caretaker. And more. And more. Finally, she was told to go and she went. But that was all. She sat in the crowded room… so alone. The group engaged in varied activities including crafts and exercise. They heard stimulating lectures from well-known people like Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Lau, the son of the well know holocaust survivor, Former Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who inspired them with his warm words. Leah joined in none of these. She was hardly aware of the goings-on and never interacted with the others. Even a slight smile seemed to be a stranger to this face that had seen what no human being should have seen. She sat quietly in her corner, always dressed in the same clothing. It seemed as if the last spark had gone out and only a shell remained.

But Ruth Carmel, Ezer Mizion’s indomitable coordinator, was not about to admit defeat. With the sensitivity that comes from truly caring about each member, she saw beyond the dying ember that sat before her. She inquired, investigated, researched and slowly she began to uncover a productive past. In her younger days, Leah had been a dynamic, highly popular teacher and lecturer. Now Ruth knew which direction to take. Bit by bit, Leah began to tune into Ruth’s suggestions that she speak for the group on the Parshas HaShvuah (Torah portion of the week). A flicker of light would appear in her eyes but it would soon die down. Then one day… it didn’t die down.

The preparation wasn’t easy but it took her out of her self-imposed prison of indifference. Her talent, dormant for so long, came to life and the people enjoyed her speech. They complimented her afterwards and she responded. They asked questions and she answered. The conversation flowed to other topics and she was part of it. Her weekly speeches continued. It didn’t happen overnight but now, three years later, she is an animated, well-liked member of the group, socially involved, attentive to her clothing and grooming…and really happy!

 

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

“Intergenerational Family Relations in the Multi-Cultural Society of Israel”

The prestigious Journal of Intergenerational Relationships (JIR) has published an article prepared by Ezer Mizion’s Geriatric Services. JIR is published by Taylor & Francis, an international publisher whose headquarters are in Philadelphia and London. The article appeared in the recent special issue, “Intergenerational Family Relations in the Multi-Cultural Society of Israel,” guest edited by Ariela Lowenstein and Ruth Katz and is titled “Bonding through Motion: A Physical Activity-Based Approach for Strengthening Relationships between Elderly People and their Caregivers”. The article explains the Bonding through Motion project that was created by Ezer Mizion’s Geriatric Services professional staff which has been successfully implemented in hundreds of families caring for an elderly, homebound loved one. The article is available at
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/15350770.2015.992954#preview

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail