Rabbi Ephraim and Valerie Mirvis with Ezer Mizion’s Ofra Konikoff Photo: John Rifkin
By Charlotte Oliver, October 28, 2013 TheJC.com
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis spoke at the Ezer Mizion gala dinner about the “remarkable examples of chesed” he experienced while visiting his late daughter in hospital.
Addressing a room of 250 at the Marriot Hotel in Grosvenor Square people Rabbi Mirvis said: “I’m standing here before you because our daughter Liora asked me to do whatever I can for the sake of Ezer Mizion.
“Liora represented the positivity of life in challenging circumstances — and that’s what Ezer Mizion represents.”
As the largest Jewish bone marrow registry in the world, the health support organisation has more than 685,000 registered Jewish bone marrow donors, including a quarter of a million IDF soldiers. Its goal is to reach one million registered donors so that, according to its chief transplant co-ordinator Ofra Konikoff, “we can create a safety net for all Jewish people”.
Ezer Mizion supported the Chief Rabbi and his family in Israel when his late daughter, Liora Graham, was ill with colon cancer. She passed away in August 2011 aged 30.
Now the organisation is dedicating a floor in her name in its new International Bone Marrow Donor Registry Centre in Israel. The £390,000 raised on Monday night will go towards this project.
Rabbi Mirvis said: “We feel so touched and honoured to be able to give Liora this privilege and we cannot thank you enough.”
The Chief Rabbi also told how Liora and her family had attended an Ezer Mizion summer camp only a few weeks before she passed away. He said: “The sensitivity and professionalism was something remarkable.
“The key factor was simcha — they were there to give people happy, meaningful experiences. Liora herself hardly participated in any of the activities because she was so ill at the time, but it was just a remarkable event.”
Rabbi Mirvis told his audience: “Ezer Mizion says ‘Let’s give people the
to rejoice’. That certainly was the hallmark of Liora’s life, and that is why the connection between Liora and a floor in the new building which is going up in her name is something simply amazing.”