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
I just wanted to express in writing my deep admiration of the amazing woman on your Ezer Mizion Advocacy Unit staff named Tovi.
Today was the day of my appeal for eligibility for a stipend for my disabled son. I was so nervous. Everything depended on the outcome of this appeal.
Like an angel from Heaven, Tovi’s number appeared on my cell phone screen. She called to prepare me and to give me the emotional support that I needed to present my case well. The instructions she gave me proved to be extremely effective!!! Continue reading A Letter Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters
On the screen they form a row of numbers. Impersonal numbers marching down an excel sheet. But behind every number is a family. Perhaps a Mommy living under unbelievable tension, a grandma watching from the sidelines- worried, helpless or a small child expressing his frustrations at his inability to do what every other child can do in tantrum after tantrum. People living through life’s crises. Falling. Trying again.
Fraidy and her parents were one such family. Fraidy was born a preemie. Her development was slow, as expected. At twenty seven months, she still was not walking. Due to her high muscle tone, she had trouble straightening her legs. The only way she could get around was by walking on her knees. But walking on knees is not walking. It’s difficult and does not allow her to make her way around the house with ease. Walking outdoors is completely impossible. No visit to the grocery with Mommy. No thrilling trip down the playground slide. And constantly seeing the neighbor’s children exploring the outdoors while she feels herself to be second rate. How long can a mother look at her child’s sad face without breaking down herself! Continue reading Fraidy’s Best Friend: The Monkey
Esty had absorbed the message that pervades every nook and cranny at Ezer Mizion: “What else can we do to help those in need?” Esty was hired as a Developmental Aide who met with special needs children several times a week, working to attain the goals set by the therapists. Being well trained in the field and blessed with a lot of initiative and great ideas, she developed a program using games to help meet those goals. A classic Candyland game could work wonders if utilized in the right way, she discovered. It was not long before she was heading Ezer Mizion’s newly founded Game Lending Library. Therapists would use the games to supplement their own supplies and families with special children would meet with her and borrow games based on her recommendation.
A busy mother, at her wits end, is told that her child will grow so much more if Mommy does ‘homework’ with him each day. It’s not that she doesn’t want to obey the therapists’ instructions. It’s not that she doesn’t care about her child reaching his potential. Continue reading It’s Only a Game…or Is it?
When there is no sunshine, the plant grows awry. It may have sprouted from a healthy seed but the dusky gloom impedes its development. Chanochi was such a plant. He was born perfectly healthy but the sunshine of a loving mommy was missing in his life. It was during his infancy that a sibling passed away and together with the sibling was buried his mommy’s laughter, her joy in her newborn, her desire to nurture. Chanochi was fed. He was diapered. His clothes were kept clean but nothing more. And so Chanochi grew. His body matured. His motor skills developed. But nothing more. He was quite developmentally delayed and did not communicate with others. Ever. He moved from home to school on a daily basis but had no relationships. A childish giggle never escaped his lips. He did not participate in pre-school activities and simply sat there, waiting for the day to end so that another one can begin…so that it also can end… Continue reading A Plant Named Chanochi
What’s it like when a mazel tov is accompanied by a question mark?
My name is Sara. I have four enchanting, brilliant, beautiful sons, bursting with energy. I had thought that the first three were challenging enough, keeping me on my toes 24/7. Little B.’s’s challenges were different. I’d like to share my journey with all of you at Ezer Mizion, you who are so much a part of that journey.
When we brought him home, we had to regroup and decide how we would approach our presentation of their new brother to his older siblings. It took a lot of thought until we were finally satisfied with a plan of action. We taught his brothers to be happy and see his successes even though his failures were so glaring when compared to other babies in the neighborhood. . We told them that they’re allowed to ask and allowed to ache, and that there is much to be thankful for. The truth, brought down to their age level, was put on the table: No! We don’t know why. Yes, in the end, he will be able to walk. Yes, sometime or other he will talk. Yes, it hurts me, too. Continue reading A Letter Meant for You, Our Dear Friends and Supporters
A few days ago, my younger sister got married. From the moment she got engaged, I could not get out of my mind the bitter taste of the Shabbat Sheva Berachot we celebrated a year earlier for the sister before her. I felt that I simply did not have the strength to go through another Shabbat like that.
Another Shabbat in which my autistic son Shlomo knocks tables over, stains the clothing of the kallah and the guests when he spills a bottle of cola or oily matbouha tomato salad, knocks down the mechitzah with a boom, fortunately only slightly wounding the mechutan’s foot, and screams at the top of his lungs precisely when the chatan begins to speak… Continue reading Impossible Dilemma? Solved.
There is that moment, that terrible moment. I admit that I, too, have thought about it more than once, as everyone has, with raw fear: The piercing cry of a new baby resounds in the room, along with the triumphant shout of the midwife and nurses and the lingering groans from the mother. And then suddenly – suspicious silence. Something undefined hangs in the air.
“What happened?” the mother panics.
“Tell us!” the father demands. Continue reading Hillel’s Story by Kobi Arieli
Summer is winding down and with it, Ezer Mizion’s summer camp program. “It’s very fulfilling,” says Aharon Levy, senior Ezer Mizion administrator upon the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Camp Program. This year about 4,000 participated in the day camps and retreats, 4,000 special needs children, special needs young adults, families dealing with cancer, mentally disabled and physically disabled. The common denominator of all the summer camp programs was the tremendous challenge posed every day and each hour of camp, which demanded comprehensive and uncompromising logistics, single-minded commitment, devoted staff and a cadre of enthusiastic volunteers.
“Here where I stand,” says Aharon Levy, “about 400 girls with special needs are enjoying a safe and professional retreat here, which accommodates all their unique requirements. The volunteers –one, sometimes two, for each child– underwent special training that taught them exactly what they would have to do. Continue reading Summing it All Up
For the third year running, the Netivot branch of Ezer Mizion held its day camp on the campus of Chemdat Hadarom College
This is the third year that the Netivot branch of Ezer Mizion has been running the day camp on the campus.
110 special-needs children from the entire Southern region participated in the camp, each one with a personal counselor assigned to him. The day camp was operated by Ezer Mizion administrative and professional staff, backed by 140 volunteers. The camp ran for two weeks. Continue reading Netivot’s Third Year