Adapted from The Marker
By: Nati Tucker
Photography: Gil Cohen Magen
Ezer Mizion Takes You for a Ride…
It happened early one morning, about two months ago. Elchanan, my 15-year-old nephew, was on his way to bet knesset for Shacharit in his hometown, Elad. Suddenly, as he was crossing the street at the pedestrian crossing, a van hit him at full speed and sent him flying. His head struck the asphalt and he lost consciousness. Even after he came to, there was serious concern for brain injury and nerve damage. He was hospitalized at Schneider’s Medical Center in Petach Tikvah. His worried parents, who had eight more children at home to take care of, didn’t budge from his bedside.
As any relative would do at a time of crisis, I, too, volunteered to pitch in. The boy’s father serves in an educational position and the mother is an English teacher. They do not own a car. I offered to drive them to the hospital and back when they changed shifts. “Thanks for your good will,” my sister replied with a smile, “but it’s really unnecessary. We’re managing just fine. All we have to do is call Ezer Mizion Linked to Life, and a volunteer from Elad immediately arrives and takes us in each direction.”
The incident of Elchanan – who came out of the accident with no long-term damage, thank G-d – exposed me to another magical chessed project that thrives Israel, this time, using the common What’s App application.
Ezer Mizion, the legendary health support chessed organization, operates a network of regional What’s App groups, with thousands of volunteers. The group head receives a call from the telephone center requesting help with driving patients, escorts, or medical equipment, and posts the request for the relevant group. The volunteer drivers – generally, working people from the middle-income bracket – announce who is available, and one of them does the trip, at no cost. Ezer Mizion reports more than 3,000 such trips every month.
This innovative social project is just a drop in the ocean of the voluntary activities existent in Israel. It is authentic “grassroots” chessed that is done day in and day out, by sincere, caring people, no different from me and you, who are happy to lend a hand to others in their times of need – and Ezer Mizion is making it happen!