I was trying. Friends and relatives were also helping. The situation was beyond hopeless and I was helpless to keep things together. I had three children in three separate hospitals, located in various parts of the country. One was in a mental hospital, two in medical hospitals. Can you imagine the anguish, the sights I witnessed daily? The despair when I had to leave one to visit another. The tiny bewildered faces at the window at home watching Mommy leave…again. The exhaustion- both physical and emotional. The frustration when twenty-four hours were far from enough in each day. The astronomical expenses incurred on top of less money coming in. Continue reading Hospital ‘Rounds’ via What’s App
We all remember what Purim was like. That special electricity in the air as we rush from house to house sharing treats and Purim joy. In the center of the Avenue, a rabbit dances with a lion to bouncy Purim tunes. On the next block, a miniature Mordechai gleefully rides a pony while being led by “Haman” announcing to the world, “Thus shall be done…” Many of Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life volunteers add another dimension to their holiday festivities by granting Purim wishes to people in need. Continue reading Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life: The Beeps Keep Coming
If you’re like most people, your mental wastebasket is filled with great ideas that didn’t happen. You meant to get to it. You really did. But ‘life’ got in the way. Things were busy that month and it fizzled and died. Maybe someone else could have done it but offhand you didn’t know anyone to ask. And so it joined the many other ideas waiting for ‘someday’.
But this one couldn’t wait. It had to be done now. Continue reading The Bas Mitzvah That Almost Wasn’t
“I’m sorry. He won’t be back in the office until a week from Tuesday. Please call then.” A typical response. Professional. No complaints. We all understand that being out of the office means being unavailable for work-related matters and we don’t expect him to interrupt his golf game or his very important meeting in China to answer our questions. However, when it comes to saving a life, Ezer Mizion will not accept such a response. What happened? Here’s the story.
Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Registry has saved the lives of over 2000 patients around the globe. Recently, a call came in from Schneider’s Hospital that a six year old child needed a transplant as soon as possible. Is there a genetic match available? A search was done. Success. Among the 800,000 registrants on the database, an excellent DNA match was found. The potential donor was contacted. She’ll be happy to donate but there’s one problem. The next level of testing must be done asap and she is currently in Brno in the Czech Republic. “Can I make an appointment with the lab for when I return in a few weeks?” A natural response. Polite. Professional. The Ezer Mizion staff member could simply note on records: Donor out of country. Testing will be done when returns. The file would then be closed pending her return. The patient? Perhaps his condition would still be such that he can benefit from the transplant. Perhaps not. Ezer Mizion was not going to take that chance.
Linked to Life, another division of Ezer Mizion that utilizes a What’s App program to make vital contacts worldwide, was called. Thousands of screens lit up while the test tubes were being prepared. ‘We need a volunteer to drive vital test tubes from Petach Tikva to the airport in Tel Aviv to meet someone going on the 3:50 flight to Vienna. In moments, a volunteer responded and the tubes were on their way. While he was driving, screens lit up again looking for someone scheduled to be on the flight to take the tubes. Bzzzz. Responding. Am at airport at Gate 123. I’ll take it. Another Linked to Life volunteer was waiting at the Prague airport and drove the package to the Chabad House. The head of the Chabad House drove through the night to Brno and used his contacts to have the clinic opened in the middle of the night to draw blood from the potential donor. More clicks while the now-filled test tubes were making their way back to Brno. Anyone traveling from Prague to Israel on next flight? By the next morning, another Ezer Mizion Linked to Life volunteer was waiting in the airport at Tel Aviv to transport the tubes to the Bone Marrow Registry in Petach Tikvah. Less than twenty-four hours. Mission accomplished.
Living in the US and like to join Linked to Life? SMS: 011 972 52 580 8936
I want to share with you a special experience I just had. I had a problem that needed the input of some people in power. I had tried political connections. I had applied pressure. I had clicked ‘send’ on email after email and made call after call and got… nowhere. It was an uphill battle with me on one side and everyone else seemingly an opponent. And it wasn’t even about myself. I was trying to obtain a benefit for an oncology patient, a small child from Beit Shemesh. Continue reading The Real Reason What’s App Was Invented
It’s erev Shabbos on a winter Friday. They thought they were already frantically busy but then a call came in on What’s App. The remainder of their personal lists fell by the wayside with nary a thought. It’s an emergency and they are ‘volunteer soldiers’ in the ‘Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life army’ (the real reason What’s App was invented). It may be a Shabbos meal to prepare, together with other volunteers, for a family whose mother was suddenly hospitalized. Perhaps it’s medication available only at his neighborhood pharmacy that must be delivered before Shabbos to an ill child in a more remote area or maybe it’s a desperate search for a missing Alzheimer’s patient. Within moments there are enough volunteers. Each mission is accomplished. Each person is cared for. Each volunteer glows with satisfaction. And they know they are appreciated. As the candles are set up moments before candle lighting, a message from the Ezer Mizion coordinator is received on What’s App by all volunteers: Yaakov sent malachim…” – Some explain this to mean literally “angels”; others interpret it as “shlichim,” emissaries.
The Tzemach Tzaddik asks: According to those who maintain that these were actual angels, why would Yaakov employ divine angels for a mission to his brother Esav??
He answers that these were mortal emissaries. But since the mission was so difficult, by agreeing to do it, they were elevated to the level of divine angels… because one who makes a great effort for another person and bears difficulties for his sake, is considered “literally an angel.”
…And you, who respond to Linked to Life requests with such joy and readiness, even on these short Fridays … you are truly “angels.”
Have a tranquil and joyous Shabbos!
The job is never done. Unfortunately, requests continue to pour in. Over Chanukah, it was two Bar Mitzvahs. The first was for the son of a cancer patient who was recently niftar. The very security of the boy’s home was shaken. No longer would father and son daven (pray) side by side. No longer would he see the sheen of pride in his father’s eyes as they reviewed the week’s learning on Shabbos. The very pillar of his life had shattered but ‘thirteen’ was fast approaching. Was he also to miss out on what every boy looks forward to for years? His mother did not have the emotional energy to plan a major event. He understood that. But did that mean that the day would be just a day like every other? He swallowed hard. He had accepted his father’s death. He’d grown up fast, this young man. He would accept this, too. He would. But Ezer Mizion would not. It’s Linked to Life Division got to work. A venue. Invitations. Food-only the nicest would do. And suddenly there it was. The Bar Mitzvah he was sure would never be.
That same week of Chanukah, a second Bar Mitzvah was born. This one was in answer to the timid, whispered request of the Bar Mitzvah boy whose medical condition was not very good. Cancer. As desperate as he was for what every boy dreams of, he felt hesitant to ask, what with everything else that Ezer Mizion was already doing for him. The faint whisper- no louder than the movement of a butterfly’s wings- reverberated throughout the Linked to Life membership producing a resplendent affair which brought a grin to the face that hadn’t smiled in weeks. Was he surprised? Lets listen in on a conversation between the mother and a Linked to Life volunteer:
My son asked me: “Maybe we should ask the people from Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life to daven for me to get better?”
“Why?” I asked.
“Very simple…”, he replied, “Because everything we ask of them - comes true… So let’s ask them for this too, and maybe it will also come true and I will get better…”
The volunteer adds:
I don’t know about you, but I’m writing this with tears in my eyes…
How many zechusim (merits) this sick child has given us …!
Let’s pray today at candle lighting for the refu’ah (well-being) of the child
Chai Yehuda ben Rachel
B’soch she’ar cholei Yisrael (among all those afflicted with illness) .
Sorry about the late hour!
Looking for a volunteer to deliver an envelope with an oncology patient’s lab samples from Israel to Milan, Italy, tomorrow morning!!
This is a real case of life and death!
We will bring the envelope to any point in Israel to the traveler. It will be picked up from any place in Milan. Continue reading Tuning in to Ezer Mizion’s What’s App Screen
You could feel his desperation over cyberspace. Avi* posts in facebook hoping that somehow someone, the right person, would pick up his post. It was a longshot and he knew it but he couldn’t give up. He just couldn’t. He writes that he is a 4th time corneal transplant recipient. “I need your urgent help! I am currently in California. On my flight on the way here from Israel, my two eye medications to prevent rejection of the implant leaked. I brought an extra set with me, but the drops are almost running out. My sister purchased the medications for me in Israel but is having trouble getting them to me. Do you have a connection with anyone coming from Israel to Los Angeles or San Diego in the next three days? I can’t get this medication here. Please help me!”
Everyone who viewed the posting felt bad for Avi but what can they do? It may be a small world but not that small. From Israel to California??? Within the next couple of days?! One viewer had an idea. He vaguely remembered an organization in Israel called Ezer Mizion that had set up a What’s App group called Linked to Life. Maybe. Can’t hurt to try. With 6.500 volunteers all over the world, things started buzzing.
This urgent request was forwarded to Elchanan, at the Linked to Life Calling Center. First step was to confirm that the medication has all the necessary transit approvals. With the ok in hand, it was all systems go. Messages appeared on hundreds of screens. Like a relay race, the medication was picked up from the sister’s home and eventually brought to someone who was flying out to NY that day. Now how to get it from NY to California? More screens buzzed on the US side. It wasn’t long before a response came in from someone who was flying from NY to LA that night. Mission accomplished in less than 24 hours!!!
Still reeling from the speed at which his request was filled, Avi responded:
A few minutes ago, I came back from a house in Los Angeles, where I picked up the medications that arrived for me from Israel.
I had posted the request and some of you passed it on until it reached Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life network. As a result, I arrived at this moving moment where I have in my hand the medicine that is so important to me.
Thank you to Gilad who suggested that I contact Linked to Life. You’re a terrific friend!
Thanks to my beloved sister Yael, who got a hold of the prescription and purchased the medications.
Thank you to all the friends who passed on the post and to those who tried to help by responding to the post and otherwise. You warmed my heart!
When I get back to Israel, I am planning to become a volunteer for Linked to Life, and pass on this kindness further!
The beauty of the idea behind Linked to Life is that people are going anyways. With a tiny bit of effort, they can help out another Jew. But it doesn’t always work that way.
Listen to this story from Moishe Hillel, dispatcher in Jerusalem: this morning a request came in to pick up a disabled boy’s crutches from Jerusalem, take it to Tel Aviv for repair and pick it up at four, bringing it back in time for him to walk to his learning program tonight. Easy. I had the two volunteers within minutes. Both felt good that they could help him out. His crutches are full-body. Without them he cannot walk at all. At three o’clock, another call came in to pick up some urgent medical tests from a hospital in Tel Aviv and bring them to Jerusalem. Simple, I thought. The volunteer slated to take the crutches would take both items. Not so simple. He texted me that he wouldn’t have enough time to pick up both items. Perhaps I could have someone else pick up the tests and meet him further down the highway. Minutes were ticking by. It was getting close to four. What do you do when you you’re stuck with something that has to be picked up in Tel Aviv? You call Naftali Rubinstein, of course. A great guy and a Linked to Life member. It wasn’t long before he buzzed me: it’s all set. I have a volunteer to pick up the tests from the hospital. He’ll bring them to Jerusalem. I found that pretty amazing- that Naftali was able to find someone so fast who was going just then to Jerusalem. I was wrong. I thought I knew Naftali but I guess I didn’t know him well enough. He had made a few tries. Saw it wasn’t going. Dropped what he was doing and ran. Himself. Two hours each way. In the heat. We’re very fortunate that these are our colleagues in Linked to Life.
Do you live in the US and would like to join Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life? SMS: 011 972 52 580 8936
For further info: 718 853 8400 5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219 www.ezermizion.org
Staff got to work immediately while his parents paced outside in the waiting room, praying that their son would not have to grow up handicapped. Continue reading Crossing the Ocean to Save a Finger
The following was received from a family who benefited from Ezer Mizion’s worldwide What’s App program:
We aren’t used to being on the receiving end. It’s a lot more pleasant for us to always be on the side of the giver, who gives of himself and perhaps even feels a bit of pride that things worked out thanks to him…
But this time, when we were compelled to be on the side of the needy and the receiver, it turned out to be a very moving and important experience. We witnessed the broad-scoped response of people with a giant heart and boundless good will. We saw an unbelievably powerful well-oiled machine that is capable of moving, reaching, and propelling forward.
And we encountered many, many good souls whose sole interest is to do chessed with someone they don’t even know and who cannot even fathom how critical their deed is for that person. We were deeply moved to see the Jewish nation at its best – doing kindness out of true, unconditional love.
All praise to you, the Jewish people!!