The strains of ketzad m’rakdim (a wedding song) still reverberated in the air as they began to the drive home after a family wedding. Feet were still tapping to the joyous rhythms as the family regaled each other with the highlights of the evening. And then came the crash. Unexpected. Without warning. And suddenly their lives were changed forever.
A delightful video appears in the Inbox of an Ezer Mizion staff member. A chubby one-year-old is giggling as he tries to ‘catch’ the ball. Mommy’s laughter joins his childish giggles. Hers is a laughter of joy, of gratitude, of wonder. At his birth there had been no laughter. At his birth there had only been shock, terror and an all-pervading sadness. In the body of the email are words of thanks to Ezer Mizion: Thank you so much for all the help over the 2 months my wife was in the hospital with our baby (medical referrals, food, hot meals, snacks, hospital volunteers, transportation, emotional support, more food and hot meals, etc. etc. etc…..).
It is now almost a year since our Shlomo was born when all the doctors said there was a basically 0% chance that he was going to survive. As you can see, he is such a cute, amazing miracle. I just wanted to show you some of the results of your efforts. It is so special – all the support and help you give people in their difficult times.
Just like that, with a simple message, without a lot of noise, a member of one of the Ezer Mizion branches sums up the events of one evening:
In the middle of a Daf Yomi shiur (daily study session of Talmud), a friend, one of the participants , asked me to come with him right then (!) to a house where the wife had called for urgent help. As Ezer Mizion volunteers, we often receive calls like this. The woman was frantic saying her husband was having an anxiety attack. We were qualified to handle the situation and raced out. Continue reading A Cushion for Every Need
Linked to Life, a whatsapp network providing rides and deliveries for the ill, the elderly, the disabled, is just one of Ezer Mizion’s many divisions. And the Jerusalem branch is just of of its many branches. Check this out to see a small piece of what Ezer Mizion has accomplished during the corona crisis. How? With a lot of love and caring and much support from you, our contributors. Take pride!
Tens of thousands of missions were shared with Israel’s Home Front Command! And Israel’s seniors, seriously ill, and people in quarantine were the first to benefit from it. Each mission accompanied with so much love!
Recently, to the sound of ongoing applause, the Home Front Command awarded Ezer Mizion a Certificate of Appreciation for dedicated partnership throughout the recent battle. A big “hats off” to Ezer Mizion’s team: our friends and supporters, staff and volunteers!Even as the ‘goodbye’s to corona’ have begun, the needs have not yet ended. Says Moshe Beeri, director of Ezer Mizion’s Northern Region: “Via 350 What’s App groups, we help thousands of people and families. We are in contact with the municipalities and the social services entities, and we deal with 2,000 calls and requests a day from across the country. Thanks to our volunteers, very many people feel that they have help and support during this period of hardship and that they are not alone.”
A volunteer has enlisted her five children to do supermarket shopping for an elderly couple who cannot leave their home. She and other volunteers cook and distribute meals for those who are unable to manage on their own.
Decorative fruit platters were just one of the ways to cheer up a hospitalized cancer patient who had recently undergone a transplant.
And what does a bus driver on furlough do nowadays?
He energetically plans a trip (not easy with corona regulations) for Ezer Mizion’s special needs children in Ashdod, finds a partner who donates the cost of a bus and gasoline, and together they serve as guides for the children and their accompanying staff for two days of a refreshing experience! The highlight was a visit to the petting zoo in Kefar Hanagid, where a blissful 17-year-old boy said: “For a whole month, I’ve been shut up in the house. You made me so happy!” Here are David and Nissim, the bus drivers with the golden hearts! David, the driver, mentors one of our special kids all year round, through Ezer Mizion’s Social Services Mentoring Department for Family Empowerment.
About 6 weeks ago, a couple left Corona-battered Italy and arrived with their four children to an empty rental apartment in Beit Shemesh. During their compulsory two-week isolation, during which they slept on thin mattresses and used coats as pillows, a friend from abroad gave them the phone number of Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life, a WhatsApp network group for delivering items to people in need.
A message to the group: “Friends, we have a family here with four kids that just arrived from Milan and, due to the situation, they left Italy without any of their possessions. They have nothing — literally!!! Let’s try to help them!”
The message spread within minutes. The results: Religious, Chareidi, and secular alike all rallied to help. “Every ten minutes, someone drops a package at our door. Games, linens, food…”
Another neighbor opened a special headquarters, and before long, Ezer Mizion volunteers rallied to donate beds, electrical appliances, furniture, blankets, and linens to the family.. “We asked them what they needed, and all they requested was yogurt. In Italy, the yogurt isn’t kosher and the kids really wanted to taste one. They got their yogurt and so much more ”
April 2020 – BONE MARROW DOCTOR REGISTRY ACTIVITY SUMMARY
Just like the rest of the world, Corona has affected the field of stem cell transplants. We are grateful to share with you this past month’s achievements. Continue reading Because of You!
Activities at the Geriatric Services Division during the Coronavirus Period
150 professional staff members
13 branches across the country
Thousands of dedicated volunteers
With the onset of the crisis, the entire Geriatric Services Division shifted to a mode of alternating home/office work. Authorization to work remote was given to 60 staff members who were provided technical support and computers, as needed.
During this period, the tremendous responsibility of the Geriatric Services division towards the highest-risk group in the world has doubled. This responsibility is reflected by work around the clock, with no breaks, in the division’s 2 primary areas of activity:
Mentoring and guidance of new seniors, their caregivers and family members in obtaining a geriatric services stipend from Bituach Leumi (the National Insurance Institute)
Placement of certified attendants in seniors’ homes
Guidance in the process of obtaining a foreign worker
Initiated phone calls every week to all the attendants, care recipients, caregiving family members (about 7500 calls a week)
Frontal and phone visits to 3000 seniors
Intensive work geared at giving the full number of hours of entitlement and care to the senior, in spite of attendants’ fear and concern of giving caregiving hours in the homes of seniors.
Operation of an active “Corona hotline” Sunday to Thursday from 8 AM to 10 PM and on Fridays and Erev Chag from 8 AM to 12 PM; Motzaei Shabbat and Motzaei Chag from 8 PM to 11 PM
The hotline provides a response to seniors, family members, and attendants in the following areas:
Calls for emotional support
Therapy calls with experienced professionals (social workers)
Calls to obtain information about entitlements and assistance in making them happen
Facilitating community and municipal services, especially hot meals!
Facilitating Ezer Mizion services: loan of medical equipment,
Arranging purchase of groceries, produce, home supplies and medicines and delivery via Ezer Mizion “Linked to Life” volunteers
Tapping in to connections for the purpose of obtaining service from different entities, in collaboration with the Home Front Command, kupat cholim, etc.
Activating volunteers to relieve loneliness via:
“Listening Ear” project — phone calls from volunteer emotional therapists
“Adopt a Bubby and Zeidy” — in collaboration with Discount Bank employee volunteers who are set up with seniors to allay their loneliness by phone.
Online physical exercise through a number of channels: website, online handbooks, etc.
Distribution of physical exercise kits to the homes of seniors by volunteers
Telephone guidance for active participants at the Senior Health Promotion Center by Center staff
Installation of Security Cameras
Tzipporah Fried Alzheimer Patient Support Center
Outgoing support calls initiated by the Center’s professional staff to caregiving families who were in touch with the center in the past
Online support groups via ZOOM
Phone calls initiated by staff to all Holocaust survivors who participate regularly in the Ezer Mizion activities
Provision of a full response to needs that arise in the conversations: cooked food, purchase of groceries and medicines, emotional support via therapeutic phone calls
Home visits, in keeping with all Health Department directives (remote, porch visits)
Establishment of a mobile library operated by means of a personal delivery from the municipal library to the Holocaust Survivor’s home – operated by the British Café staff
Online/telephone physical exercise guidance
Distribution of potted plants to 1100 Holocaust survivors across the country on Yom Hasho’ah
The world has ground to a halt. Uncertainty, confusion, and worry fill every heart, and it seems that the Coronavirus has pushed aside every other concern
But not the thousands struggling with serious illness, special needs, or other substantial challenges. These people, who are assisted at ordinary times by Ezer Mizion’s huge support system, continue to cope now, too, with the illness, the special need, or the mental disorder. As difficult as it is for everyone, for them the situation is virtually impossible.
How can parents take care of the children who are at home, without any school or day-care, and at the same time be with their child hospitalized with cancer?! What can they do with a family member who is battling mental illness, when this tense situation triggers his terrible outbursts, and they can’t even take him outside a bit so as to calm him down?! How do you occupy a child with special needs in the confines of four walls, when he can’t sit quietly for even a minute?!
Ezer Mizion’s hotline is the answer to these and many other such questions. With the outbreak of Coronavirus in Israel, Ezer Mizion understood that the services given all year round would need to be adapted to the situation according to Health Department directives, and they immediately got to work on doing so.
A special counseling and support hotline was opened at *2236, providing a response in a range of areas: mental health, the elderly, cancer patients, special needs, and more.
In collaboration with local municipalities and Social Services departments, Ezer Mizion branches across the country began functioning as emergency stations and vital services were stepped up, in accordance with needs as they arise.
The Phones Don’t Stop Ringing
Print and digital media ads were published, listing details of Ezer Mizion branches, hours, and contact information of branch directors and service providers.
The phones don’t stop ringing. Hundreds of calls are coming in on a range of subjects. They are responded to and addressed with Ezer Mizion’s trademark efficiency, graciousness, and professionalism.
There are also the responses given before the calls: Along with the ongoing support for cancer patients and their families, hundreds of special craft kits were delivered to the families of patients across the country, to keep kids busy and free up parents to deal with the battle for their loved one’s life. One-on-one mentoring continues (as long as it will be permitted by the Ministry of Health) and individual therapies and personal emotional intervention for cancer patient families are also provided. Hot meals are still being brought to families homes. Deliveries will continue as long as permitted.
In addition to hotline teams that are responding to incoming calls, the Mental Health division initiates contact with mental health patients and their families, helping maintain calm and picking up on distress signals in time, ensuring provision of a timely, appropriate response. There has been an understandable unprecedented peak in requests for assistance in cases of anxiety and depression, relating to the unstable health, social and financial impact of Covid-19.
The Geriatric Services Division provides homecare attendant services and extensive support to the elderly, maintaining their daily routine, meeting their unique needs, and assisting this high risk population. Special supervision is given to ensure that the attendants fulfill Ministry of Health requirements and do not abandon the patients for whom they are responsible.
While all group meeting and activities have been suspended by the Ministry of Health, the Tzipporah Fried Alzheimer Family Support Center is busy reaching out to hundreds of families and caregivers of dementia patients who are part of the service network, with guidance and support during this incredibly trying time. They are also manning the hotline, fielding incoming phone calls and requests for help.
Babies and toddlers who attend Ezer Mizion’s Judith Pfeuffer Day Care Center network, along with all the children who attend Ezer Mizion’s kindergartens for special needs children, are currently home, in accordance with Min. of Health directives. The teaching and therapy staff is in touch with each family, who are monitoring the children remotely. Each child received a personalized instruction and work program, sent to the homes of countless children, all delivered by volunteers!
The ambulance fleet is flooded with requests and at the ready to provide an optimum response to the many callers. Drivers are of course equipped with appropriate protection.
Medical and rehab equipment loan center services have been intensified to provide a response to the many requests coming in. The Augmentative and Alternative Communication Equipment Loan Center is continuing business as usual, lending out urgently needed communication equipment, counseling for speech and communication issues, and trouble shooting for equipment. Just last week, a device was lent to a young Corona patient….
Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life volunteer driver division, has embarked on a massive volunteer recruitment campaign. This is to preempt a situation in which there is no one available for an urgent need of delivering stem cell tests, medications, medical and rehab devices, and such. Ezer Mizion has been amazed at the response of volunteers, and thanks to them, the system is working full strength ahead, despite the fact that many volunteers who are currently in isolation.
A special call from Chananya Chollak, Ezer Mizion’s International Chairman, went out to the thousands of Ezer Mizion staff and volunteers: “The mitzvah that is forefront in our minds during this period is “V’nishmartem me’od l’nafshoteichem,” to guard our health. I am certain that each and every one of you is doing the maximum to guard his health and the health of his family, and, at the same time, to stretch out a helping hand to those who are in special distress and need our support. It is our prayer that Hashem should watch over everyone and remove this plague from us and from the entire world.”
Many volunteers responded on the spot to Rabbi Chollak’s heartfelt plea and expressed their readiness to volunteer on behalf of patients, the elderly, populations with special needs and their family members. At Ezer Mizion, we are praying along with the entire Jewish people that G-d should put an end to this pandemic and bring us the complete redemption.
When we take pictures, we direct the camera outward, to the world around us. We see a path, a flower, a beach, a child. We aim the camera and press the button, capturing the moment in a photo. The photographer compels the viewer to adopt his perspective, the unique manner in which he views the world. The viewer thereby is able to visualize the inner world of the photographer. And the photographer is able to see more clearly the depth of his own mindset in the view he has captured. Continue reading The Camera Captures