“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.
Ezer Mizion offers a wide range of medical support services, among them, medical counseling, loan of medical and rehabilitative equipment, transport services for patients and mobility-impaired, services for cancer patients and their families, and support services and rehab for the mentally ill and their families.
At Ezer Mizion’s bustling branch in Netivot, there are many innovative services going on, among them, the “Linked to Life department – a network of thousands of volunteers who carry out a variety of assignments and requests to help the ill, disabled, and elderly. The branch also boasts a large division offering support services to special-needs children and their families, operating afternoon clubs and attractive summer retreats for more than 120 children from Netivot and the South. In addition, the Netivot branch also recently opened the Tzipora Fried Center for Families of Alzheimer’s patients, providing counseling and guidance to families caring for Alzheimer’s patients.
Ezer Mizion has been active in Netivot for more than a decade. Every year, thousands of people in the city benefit from the organization’s services. They find a listening ear and strong, caring source of support at their most difficult hours, both in the staff and the many volunteers.
There are so many people who are sick, says Rabbi Chollak. Just this past year, 30,000 more people were diagnosed with cancer in Israel. We are busy transporting patients to treatments by ambulance. There are great distances here between towns and between hospitals, as opposed to the center of the country, where treatments are easily accessible. Many patients have difficulty getting to treatments, and at times, even miss treatments for that reason. Those who do not require an ambulance are driven in volunteer vehicles. We have 770 volunteers just in the South alone.
There are many special-needs children who need support and we help them progress through activity clubs, day camps and retreats. Last year, 120 children from the South participated in our day camps and retreats.
But what do we do when the volunteer roster is exhausted? When every slot at camp is filled? When another community need manifests itself? That is what we are celebrating today. The new building will enable us to expand our existing programs and add more. It will also encourage others to join as volunteers. A celebration it truly is! We are applauding our dedicated volunteers and all those who will be joining the troops in the future, we are applauding our fantastic mayor Yechiel Zohar, who is very receptive to the needs of the people of this city. We are applauding Health Minister Rabbi Litzman, a loyal partner in Ezer Mizion’s extensive chessed work. We are applauding Rabbi Naftali Kuber, our devoted director of the Southern branch and we are applauding you, all our generous supporters without whose gifts we would not be able to continue.