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?
“I would wake up in the morning and my mind would begin to churn. Will the deal go through? Will Moishe remember his spelling for the big test today? Can we afford that vacation my wife wants so badly? That was before I attended the inauguration of the new Ezer Mizion building in Netivot and heard Chananya Chollak, Ezer Mizion’s founder, speak. His message was clear. We wake up in the morning and feel fine. Shouldn’t our first thought be: How can I help those that do not wake up feeling fine?” Thus said an attendee of the inauguration of the new Netivot building who has since registered as an Ezer Mizion volunteer. Continue reading The Inaugurating of the New Netivot Building
It wasn’t easy. Nothing is ever easy for this child. Avi* was born with cerebral palsy and suffers from other issues also. His life is complicated, to say the least. Avi had an appointment at the clinic and I was the Ezer Mizion driver assigned to take him. Another child would simply hop into the family car and buckle himself up. But not Avi. He needs to be transported with an Ezer Mizion vehicle especially outfitted for the disabled. He was strapped into an adjustable wheelchair with back support to counteract his spasms and prevent his accidentally flying out of the chair, certainly a dangerous situation in a moving vehicle. I positioned him facing backwards so that the inertia of a short stop will be absorbed by the sturdy back of the seat, not the much weaker seat belt. More minor adjustments. I did my best to provide a comfortable, safe ride for this child whose condition makes him dependent on others to provide for his every need. Or so I thought. It was only moments later that I discovered how much he has achieved on his own and is able to give to others. Continue reading Who Is the Giver? by Shmuel Strauss
All barriers fall to the wayside when the human heart encounters respect. Secular , Chareidi, Druze…it makes no difference. When the Israeli policeman watches an Ezer Mizion counselor, tzitzis flying in the air, gently placing a disabled child into a wheelchair with an encouraging pat on the cheek… When he sees the pride in the set of the shoulders as the counselor wheels his young charge down the plaza towards the kosel, the one place on this earth where all IQ’s are equal…When he recalls that these very special children are being cared for 24/7 by these very special counselors who are spending their vacation at Ezer Mizion’s camp and receiving no pay…respect wells up in his heart and he desperately wants to be part of this event. And so he, too, grabs hold of the handles of a wheelchair, and, for several minutes, he, too, proudly joins the parade of chessed. Continue reading Israeli Police and Yeshiva Students
“Hello, Ezer Mizion, this is the medical transport division…”
“Thank you, this is T. Would it be possible please to have a transport for tomorrow morning, going at 10:00 a.m. and returning at 1:00 p.m.?” – “Certainly, with pleasure. Please call and confirm again tonight.”
That is the pleasantness and good feeling that we witness again and again at Ezer Mizion, an organization that has long ago become a model of exceptional public service, especially for the ill and disabled. The service is wonderful, reliable, and punctual, and they maintain full confidentiality.
In the evening, when we call to confirm, we again feel the radiating pleasantness and empathy. The actual transport staff also gives such a good feeling. They are friendly and upbeat and do their work with their entire heart.
Thank you to all those involved, and especially to Mrs. Dassy, who orchestrates the entire network.
Wishing you continued strength to do your work with joy!
It wasn’t easy to make it to the wedding. I arrived home from work much later than I had planned. There was supper to prepare and homework to do with my kids but frozen pizza and a big sister who actually knew the math better than I did solved both problems and I made it in time for the chupa. I was patting myself on the back when I saw Adina. Adina??? She managed to come? Together with her husband?! Yes, they were both walking in together. Did I say walking? Let me qualify that. Adina’s husband has advanced Parkinsons and, though he can struggle with a walker for short distances, he is wheelchair-bound much of the time – a real challenge for someone who loves people and simchas and lives on the fourth floor… Continue reading Making the Difference between Wheelchair-Bound and Simcha-Bound
Ezer 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
Menachem Weiss, a “special” teen with CP, reports every week to Merkaz Ha’inyanim on an angle of life that he alone can talk about
Shalom dear readers!
Let me tell you about a very special Shabbat with the Ezer Mizion’s Matan Club.
Navah Giloh, the director of Ezer Mizion’s Matan Club in Petach Tikvah, called to say that they are planning a stay up in the Golan Heights. She wanted to know if I was coming. Continue reading CP & All
We all have complaints. Some of us sit back with the attitude of ‘What can I do? If only I had such and such, then I would be able to accomplish so much more’. And then there are the rare few who take what they were given, little as that may be, and scale the heights. Daniel Mizrachi is one of those rare gems. Daniel introduces himself in a clip.
The clip begins with Daniel as an adorable 3-year-old and his promise to us all that if we believe that G-d can help us and what we want is something good, we will succeed. Today Daniel Mizrachi is twenty-four years old and gets about in a wheelchair. And how he gets about! He doesn’t just use his wheelchair to get to the local newsstand to buy a newspaper and then spend the rest of the day relaxing. Daniel wakes up each morning and says to himself, “Now why did G-d give me this new day? What can I accomplish with it?” It’s real accomplishments that Daniel is looking for… accomplishments that will help both him and others grow spiritually. Were you born with your disability or did it happen later in life?
I was born with it. There are only five other people in the world with CP similar to what I am afflicted with. When I was one year old, we moved from Russia to Israel. I grew up in a warm, loving family. The doctors had predicted that I would never be able to go forward in life. Everyone, except my parents, thought I was retarded. People, including the doctors, spoke around me, not to me, thinking I was not able to understand a thing. I just lay there like a bump on a log. In my heart, I thought to myself: Just you wait. With my belief in G-d and my will, I’ll yet overturn worlds. If those doctors could have seen inside my head, they’d know that I was more than a bump, someone who just occupies space. Continue reading He Is Disabled??!