Do You Know Why?

Special children are not comprised of just a computer printout of IQ’s and IEP’s. They are children like all children.  But their needs? Their needs are special. And their sisters and brothers? Their mothers and fathers? The people who love them dearly but live day to day- minute to minute- with the unbelievable difficulty of raising a special child? The children need an occasional outlet geared just for them. The families need an occasional respite from what is often termed as a nightmare – living with a special child.  In an effort to assist these families with not only educational needs but also professional support,   Ezer Mizion’s Children Division includes projects such as daily afternoon clubs scattered across the country, assistance in transport of the mobility impaired and their families to hospitals and various rehabilitation centers, summer camps and periodic retreats.

Ezer Mizion’s special retreat, held this year for the first time in Netivot, brought joy and renewed confidence in their own abilities to approximately 100 children with special needs.

For years, the southern city of Netivot has boasted a special afternoon program serving special children in the area, under the direction of the dedicated branch manager, Rabbi Naftali Kober. Last year, Rabbi Kober took on the challenge of organizing a special week long day camp during the summer vacation, which included meals, naps, etc. In light of the tremendous success, Rabbi Kober decided this year to organize a ten-day retreat, in the finest tradition of Ezer Mizion, with all the myriads of logistic organizational details involved. The first one to rally to this mitzvah was Dr. Avi Levi, dean of the “Chemdat Hadarom” College, who generously contributed the college campus for this purpose, turning Rabbi Kober’s dream into a tangible reality.

The retreat met the high standards of Ezer Mizion, without forgoing even the tiniest detail. The staff of the “Chemdat Hadarom” College was at the service of the retreat directors for the duration of their stay, offering any necessary assistance graciously and pleasantly. Some of the college employees even canceled their personal vacation in order to be partners in the project. Rabbi Naftali Kober, who worked long months on organizing the retreat, pointed out the remarkable, unique Divine assistance which accompanied the project from beginning to end. “It was as if someone were smoothing out all the bumps on the road as fast as I would get to them.”

Rabbi Chanania Chollak, International Chairman of Ezer Mizion, and members of the directorate came for a special one day tour of the retreat and expressed their wonder at the tremendous investment of effort and the unbelievable organization. Rabbi Chollak thanked Rabbi Naftali Kober for getting the gigantic project off the ground. He blessed Rabbi Kober in the name of the children and their families with continued success in all his endeavors.

When the security situation in the South suddenly declined, the Ezer Mizion administrators went in to speak with the Gedolei Yisrael (Senior Rabbinical Advisors) and ask how to conduct themselves at this time in regard to the Netivot retreat. The question was clear: While the situation in the South was fragile, as of that point, the city of Netivot had not yet been the target of any missiles.  The answer of the Gedolei Yisrael was unanimous: The very reason why it was quiet in Netivot was the merit of Ezer Mizion at this crucial time! Nevertheless, out of a sense of responsibility and out of concern for the parents’ peace of mind, they recommended concluding the retreat earlier than planned. And so the Goodbye Party was held and campers hugged their counselors who promised them another retreat soon. “Tomorrow?” asked one. “Not tomorrow. But soon. Very soon. You know why? Because we love you.” 


To view kids at Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camp:


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