52 Years Later

kosel
Imagine Eliyahu’s pride at having helped to create the plaza of the Western Wall!

It was a day that no Jewish heart can forget. From the time of the Romans to the Ottomans to the British—strictures had been placed on what Jews could and could not do at the Western Wall. Benches and tables were mostly banned; at times it was the blowing of the shofar (ram’s horn) or the mechitza that divides men and women at prayer services. For two decades, the Western Wall had been in Jordanian hands and completely inaccessible to Jews. And then came the Six Day War and suddenly, the Western Wall was in Jewish hands. Every Jewish soul responded – from the Hasidic Jew to those with no Jewish identity at all  . Some understood. Others did not but their souls did. In a scene that was repeated many times over, the inner soul cried out:

“I want to say a prayer. What should I say?”

“Say Shma!” (universal Jewish prayer)

“But I don’t know how!”

“I’ll help you. Shma…”

“Shma!”

“Yisroel”

Yisroel!”

All eyes were filled with tears. These hardened soldiers were unable to speak. They had one desire only to grab hold of the Wall and hold on tight. And there it was, in all its splendor. They were overcome and bowed their heads. Many of those heads had never been graced with a yarmulka (skullcap) but somehow knew that this…this was real.

pr golden 1 Wish - tractor
Eliyahu is given a VIP tour by Ezer Mizion as he so richly deserves!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The alley in front of the Western Wall was barely 15 feet wide.  Even before the war was over, a group began clearing the area in front of it for a plaza. They began immediately after the Sabbath on June 10, and finished bulldozing the Mughrabi Quarter at 3 a.m., thus creating the Kotel plaza as we know it today which accommodates 60,000 people.

pr golden - 1 wish -- tractor
Ezer Mizion’s many divisions enabled Eliyahu’s dream to come true!

Eliyahu, a holocaust survivor, was one of those men. He was young and vibrant, sitting on top of his tractor doing his part as a loyal son.  Today, 52 years later, he is no longer young, no longer vibrant.  But that glorious day in history is as clear in his mind as the day it happened. And he yearned to visit the kotel once more, to witness the thousands that congregate on the area that he helped clear. His voice was wistful as he expressed his desire to the Ezer Mizion volunteer who had been visiting him regularly. On his own, it was impossible but with the help of the varied Ezer Mizion divisions, it all fell into place. An appropriate companion was found, all logistical hurdles were overcome. And there he is waving to us as his wish is about to come true.

 

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L’chaim! To Life

hourglass
A cancer patient cannot wait!

He was eight years old. Third grade is a time for small boys to learn multiplication tables in the classroom and how to pitch a ball in the schoolyard. But Naftali* had learned neither of these. Instead he learned about IV’s and scary hospital equipment, about hair falling out and about roommates who ‘disappeared’ never to return. Naftali had cancer. The medical staff called his parents in for a meeting. There was only one recourse left: a bone marrow transplant. It would save his life but a genetic match would have to be found soon or… it may be too late. Jews will genetically match other Jews and so Ezer Mizion was contacted. Ezer Mizion’s registry with close to a million potential donors is the largest Jewish registry in the world, but, for Naftali, it was not large enough. There was no match. Continue reading L’chaim! To Life

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A Special Yes

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Summer camp for Special Needs

What would you do? What would you do if a fellow Jew stood there in tears begging you for help? If her situation was so difficult that you knew you yourself couldn’t handle it? If your heart ached to offer at least some relief? What would you do? Wouldn’t you say yes? Of course, you would! We’re Jews. Known for our compassion. Continue reading A Special Yes

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