Posts Tagged ‘Israel’

Why Is this Tournament Different from All Other Tournaments?

November 23, 2017

golf 2017 Israel Nimrod-member of team of cancer patients who won first prizeThey won!

Each year, like many organizations, Ezer Mizion holds a golf tournament with proceeds to benefit its major programs. Ezer Mizion’s Eighth Annual Hole In One Tournament took place on November 20 at the Caesaria Golf Course in Israel to benefit its International Bone Marrow Registry which has, thus far, saved the lives of over 2500 patients around the world.

But this year was different!

Not only will the monies raised help cancer patients but the tournament itself created a tremendous lifting of spirits for a small group young men whose daily lives have been clouded over by the anguish of a future unknown. For the first time, a group of cancer patients were invited to create one of the teams competing for the many awards.  A day of fun under the sunny, blue sky was just what ‘the doctor ordered’.  Worries shrunk. Smiles appeared. Jokes. Camaraderie. The spirit was strengthened to better partner with the body in its battle for life. It was a delightful day. But the best was yet to come.

They won!

  1. and his team of cancer patients were the winners of Par 3, First Place. N. was not able to remain for the post-tournament dinner to receive his award as he was scheduled to return to the hospital but Chananya Chollak, founder of Ezer Mizion, made sure that he didn’t miss out on the glory. Rav Chollak personally delivered his trophy in a ceremonious display of tribute. There in his hospital bed, N. was infused with encouragement. Emotionally he felt ready to continue to engage in battle in the Major Tournament for Life. May you, there too, be a winner soon to be holding in your hands the Trophy of Remission.

 

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A Journey We Didn’t Plan Part 3 taken from the diary of Nechama Spielman

November 22, 2017

diary Nechama Spielman

Recap: Nechama has been dealing with her husband’s cancer

Hodu La’Shem. The radiation treatments have helped a lot. The tumor has shrunk which qualifies us for surgery. The remarkable precision of the timing gives us a special feeling. We are slated to go in for surgery right after Rosh Hashanah and to come home for Sukkot. We especially love the mitzvahs of Sukkot, and Yigal was really bothered by the thought that he wouldn’t be able to build our sukkah, the very first year in our new house. With superhuman effort and a lot of help (Help? Yes, there is such a word! We are trying to make friends with it, to learn it, to give ourselves over to it…), Yigal builds a sukkah that will wait for us patiently until we come back. We make our way to Shaare Zedek. Here, all eight of our children were born. We are used to passing through the doorway of this hospital and taking the elevator straight up to the delivery rooms. This time, it’s so different…

Operation. Major. Complicated. Challenging.

Hours of waiting. Tehillim being said in all corners of the country. From “plain Yigal,” he has become “Yigal ben Yaffa.” This name rolls off the tongues of so many people, who, with their prayers, have become a part of us. Eighteen books of Tehillim had been recited by the time the doctor came out to tell us that everything went well. Shvach l’Borei Olom! We experience a very special Yom Kippur in Shaare Zedek. The bet knesset is full of people, of flaming prayers: “Remember us to life, O King who desires life, and seal us in the Book of Life… Our Father , our King! Send a speedy recovery!… Listen to our voice, have compassion on us! … Answer us!”

Hot tears, so, so close to the Throne of Glory. He Who hears the sound of our cry – will You make Your voice heard, He Who knows all hidden things? Healer of all flesh, Father of mercy, will You have mercy on us?

The heart soars. The body is weak. We’re going home. Our sweet, holy sukkah greets us. Yigal goes into it and does not come out for seven days. “Spread upon us the sukkah of your peace, a sukkah of mercy, of life, and of peace.”

Ezer Mizion is everywhere. Meals. Advice. A pat on the shoulder. Rides to and from the clinic. Babysitting. Cleaning help. A volunteer to take the kids on a fun trip. A big brother for the kids to share their feelings with. Fun events for the family to remind us what family time is like…

The body gradually convalesces from the operation, gets stronger, prepares itself for the next objective. Chemo! A half year of it…

Again, trips to the hospital. Again, we leave brave children behind. Again, the body is weakened. Very. The journey looks longer than ever. How fortunate that we have our togetherness, we have each other, and a big, supportive family to fill us with strength.

The Ezer Mizion driver – he’s so much more than a driver –  picks us up, imparting his own brand of strength. He drops us off at Ezer Mizion’s guest home where anything we can possibly want is available including therapy to help us cope. There we recuperate until the next round. Again and again and again…

To be continued.

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over

For further info: www.ezermizon.org                   718 853 8400                          5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219

 

 

Their Role/ Our Role

October 25, 2017

Womn Driving A CarI’ll admit it. I had a negative thought there for a moment. I picked up a woman at one of the major hospitals and drove her miles to the city in which she lived. For an instant, I couldn’t help wondering why she called for a volunteer. Couldn’t she have gone by bus?  She looked fine, spoke in an upbeat manner, even joked a bit. I’m happy to help people out. After all, that’s why I joined Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life but from what I could see, I wondered if she really needed help.

 

That’s when I realized what was going on. It was an act. An act for her children and her husband who joined us for part of the trip, for her elderly mother who was waiting at the doorstep and perhaps… even for herself. It was an act she put on after every chemo session to convince those around her that everything was fine. She did it so well that she almost fooled even me. But I saw the in-between times. From my rear view mirror, I could see when she let down her guard, not realizing that anyone was there to see. I saw the fear in her eyes, I saw the tear that was immediately wiped away in the privacy of the back seat. I saw her clenched fists as she got ready to leave the car and I heard the catch in her voice as she brightly asked her mother how the babysitting had gone.  I heard her mother joke about little Moishe who ate everything but his peas which he used to paint the kitchen wall. For one tiny instant, her mother’s smile faltered but it was immediately put back in its place…that brave lady. Mother, daughter: each one trying to be strong for the other.

 

I’m told that her compromised immune system does not allow her to use public transportation but even if she could, she is far from healthy enough to do so, in spite of her wonderful act. We at Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life can’t cure the cancer patients that we meet daily. But we can certainly make things easier for them and relieve their suffering at least a little bit. As we provide practical support, we also keep the conversation supportive, offering the proverbial shoulder to lean on. It gives them a feeling of being taken care of which strengthens their spirit and enables them to better fight the battles ahead. We get a lot of feedback about how cared for they feel when riding with us so I guess we’re doing a good job. And so, my dear fellow Linked to Life members, when we hear that beep on our phones, that’s our cue to join the drama and play our roles, offering our own strength and compassion, our arsenal of weapons in the war against a monster named Cancer.

 

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

 

For further info: www.ezermizion.org        5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219       718 853 8400

 

Because of You My Children Have an Abba

September 6, 2017

pr pix bmr cells168_ne_photo_b90aaIsn’t every child supposed to have both an Abba and an Ima? Two year old Naomi and her baby brother almost didn’t. Now their mother stood there in tears of joy when she met Aryeh. “Because of you, my children have an Abba,” she cried over and over again.

Who is Aryeh? We’ll let Abba tell that story.

“I was a strong, young man with my whole life ahead of me. I was successful, ambitious and ready to take on the world. Nothing could stop me, so I thought. That was before I heard of those three little letters that could destroy the strongest of men: AML. I was diagnosed four years ago and my life fell apart. I couldn’t even leave the house without assistance.  I felt helpless. Like a newborn infant. A successful day was being able to eat a portion of food and keep it down. My days centered around chemo treatments and blood levels. My future, that had looked so bright, now might not even be…at all. A bone marrow transplant was advised. My doctor contacted Ezer Mizion, the largest Jewish registry worldwide, to see if there was a genetic match for me. I was one of the fortunate ones. They searched through a database that had over 850,000 registered and one was perfect for me.

But things began to look up. The blood levels began to look better. I was told I wouldn’t need the transplant after all. No one can imagine what I felt like. Like ropes that had been tying me to the walls were suddenly loosened. I was free! I could go on with life! I began studying for a B.A. in Machine Engineering, something I had always been interested in, and the world looked bright again.  There would be a future. I would be part of my children’s lives. The sun shone!

Two months later, I was deep into my studies when the bomb fell. My count was up again. The bone marrow transplant would be necessary. Without it…without it…I would…

That’s when I met Aryeh. Not really. I met his bag of stem cells. The hospital had cancelled his first appointment when my count had been good but he dropped everything when he heard that I did need the transplant and made a second appointment.

International law does not allow us to meet for a year or two so the picture in my mind of this very special human being was that of a bag of stem cells. I’m healthy now. We met for the first time, appropriately at Ezer Mizion. “It’s you,” I whispered. “ You have a face, a voice…” and then we fell into each other’s arms, two grown men weeping with deep joy as my wife stood there , her face streaming with tears, crying over and over again, “Because of you, my children have an Abba!”

For further info: www.ezermizion.org              5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219             718 853 8400

She Opened My Heart

August 23, 2017

pr wedding

The gentle, loving glance of a freshly-minted chasan to his kallah as they sit on their new couch together, sharing their innermost thoughts. A special moment made even more special by the newlyweds themselves – two young people born with Downs Syndrome.

 

Marriage? Impossible, the naysayers had said. How will she…? How can he…?

But with the right kind of assistance, it became possible and many have found the ultimate in fulfillment with several organizations in Israel holding their hand.

 

How many times did she cry to her mother, I want to marry and have a home like my sisters and brothers. How many times did he look longingly at couples who had a closeness found only in marriage. They both ached to achieve what seemed so out of reach until a phone call was made. And the impossible became not as impossible as their families had assumed.

 

Lets visit a bit and watch them on their first shopping trip together. Such joy. Such togetherness as they choose the appropriate items from the shelves. Home again. To their own home. Delight as they turn the key and unlock their front door.  They’re hungry and prepare supper. He slices the cucumbers. She slices the egg. The pot is washed clean. The counter sponged to perfection.

 

But marriage is not about clean counters, you question. Can they relate?

 

Watch. Watch as she pours the Kiddush wine for her new husband. Their joy is palpable. Watch as they laugh together over the wedding pictures, sharing their own private jokes.  “She worries about my health. She cares about me,” their devoted glance at each other says so much more than his words. He becomes sensitive to her needs and brings her the perfect present to make her happy. She speaks about her marriage and he cannot resist planting a tender kiss on her forehead. He captures the essence of their marriage with the fond words: She opened up my heart.

 

 

All parents dream of the day they will accompany their child to the chuppah and see him found a family of his own. But for many parents, bringing that dream to fruition can be a nightmare! When the young man or woman has a condition that casts a shadow on his or her matrimonial future, the path to the chuppah may be strewn, not with rose petals and confetti, but with tears and frustration.

A few years ago Ezer Mizion decided to take up the challenge of advancing matches between people with medical issues. Its tremendous success has led the division to undertake the next step: Special Marriages.

 

Many such marriages have already been made. The sensitive caring provided by several organizations in Eretz Yisroel have made them a remarkable success. These organizations care for the couple after marriage. They operate and supervise apartments for special needs and provide mentoring for the couples. While these organizations assist after the wedding, none of them deal with the matchmaking, from beginning to end of the process. Ezer Mizion’s Strike A Match Division has recently partnered with them in creating shidduchim between special people.

 

Penina Raziel directed a Special Ed school for many years and has recently retired. But full retirement was not for a capable, energetic person like Penina and she began looking for a volunteer opportunity that would dovetail with her experience.  She discovered the perfect ‘match’ in heading the Special Department of Ezer Mizion’s Strike A Match Division.

 

Under Mrs. Raziel’s direction, Ezer Mizion recently held two introductory events, in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak. The response was overwhelming.  Although the events were minimally advertised due to the high advertising cost, over 200  attended in Jerusalem and more than 250 in Bnei Brak, participants coming from all parts of the country.

 

We look forward to sharing many ‘mazel tov’s ‘ with you , our good friends, as the special kol sasson, kol simcha reverberates among the streets of Eretz Yisroel.

 

To share their joy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2MP76Nax40

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_QaL2MJ16I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaOscSirXtc&spfreload=10

 

 

For further info: www.ezermizion.org    5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219         718 853 8400

August 9, 2017

pr pix bmr cells168_ne_photo_b90aaAt 61, Betzalel N. was just beginning grandfatherhood. He had three children and several tiny grandchildren. His drawer was filled with lollipops and his mind was filled with future plans: trips to the zoo with Grandpa, graduations, dancing at their weddings…until the day it all came crashing down. Leukemia. There would be no holding the hand of a grandchild as she gingerly feeds a baby goat at the zoo. Weddings would take place but there would be no glowing Zeidy to dance with the chassan (groom). It was over. He’d be gone. The doctors had tried everything and there was only one procedure left. A bone marrow transplant. If a genetically matching donor could be found somewhere in the world, he’d have a chance. If not, …

Genetics is based on ethnicity and Jews will match other Jews. Ezer Mizion is the largest Jewish registry in the world and has saved over 2400 lives. But even the largest registry is not large enough and for too many, no match is found. Would there be one for Betzalel?

Many years before, Yoni H. had registered with Ezer Mizion’s International Jewish Bone Marrow Registry. He had been a young man, still in his late teens. Too young to fully realize what that registration meant. Now his cell phone rang. “This is Ezer Mizion calling. You have been found to be…” Yoni was a mature man now. He fully understood what was at stake. He had questions about the procedure, of course, but never for a moment did he entertain the possibility of saying no.

Yoni and Betzalel met recently at Ezer Mizion. Betzalel brought his children and grandchildren who all wanted to meet the angel who had saved the life of a person he didn’t even know. Perhaps their next meeting will be at the zoo, helping the little ones to feed the goats and sharing the joy of being alive.

Mordechai H. was only 70 when diagnosed with lymphoma. He was active, leading a full life, never thinking that it could come to an end very soon. His family was very worried but he himself didn’t allow his mind come near the truths that had devastated his family. He couldn’t think about it. He just couldn’t. He was paralyzed with fear.

His physicians were aggressive in their battle for Mordechai’s life. Chemo. Various treatments. Nothing helped. In a saga similar to that of Betzalel, with one last chance to survive, Mordechai’s life was saved when a successful bone marrow transplant took place, donated by David P., another Ezer Mizion hero. Two years later, Mordechai enveloped David in a giant bear hug, now allowing his mind to dwell on what could have been had David not taken the few minutes to register so many years before.

For further info: www.ezermizion.org              5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219             718 853 8400

Giving with Vitamin P

August 2, 2017

pr general hel;ioong hand in darkTheir mother has cancer and is in a very precarious condition. Her situation is shaky. The family is shaky. And terrified. And numb. And overwhelmed. And beaten. And disoriented. All at once.

 

A day of fun, of pampering can work wonders for the spirit. I ask them what they would want. Unable to think past their dire situation, they say, “A trip to Teverya, to pray at the gravesite of Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes, to daaven for Ima to have a nes, a miracle…

Linked to Life is not staffed by mere people. It is staffed by angels. When there are angels along the way, things looks different… It starts with a phone call to Shmulik of Ezer Mizion’s Transport Division, who works on the logistics for the family trip to Teverya.

 

Family bonding. A vitamin called ‘Pleasure’ to strengthen the spirit. Vital ingredients for this Special Day. And so it gets better: First thing in the morning Yishai, the nicest volunteer driver in the world, reports at the door with a huge smile and takes them for a banana boat ride on the Kinneret, funding donated by SL from Teverya. Smiles are contagious and tentative replicas begin to appear on the faces of the family.

 

And even better: They continue on to a gourmet meal at the Caesar Hotel, funding donated by AAA from Caesarea. Long-forgotten feelings of happiness well up in them as they continue their day of pampering.

 

They reach the gravesites of Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes in Teverya and Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron and daven with every fiber of their being. Their arms around each other, they leave strengthened. They’re a family. They can cope.

 

More Vitamin P, shared together, empowering them for the difficult days ahead: a fantastic performance to suit their mood (funded by MH from Hadera) tops off the day.

 

Because that’s the way it is with Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life, when there are people there who care about you, who are sensitive to your needs and want with all their heart to pamper you…

 

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

 

For further info: www.ezermizion.org             5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219             718 853 8400

 

July 26, 2017

pr canc sup lego kids - sLove at first sight, that’s what Maor Cohen felt when he got his first Lego set at age five. “My Mom came home from a visit in Tel Aviv, the ‘big city,’ with a humongous Lego set that must have cost half her monthly salary. You have to understand that back then, in the beginning of the 1980’s, this was no trivial matter. I was so excited that I went to sleep at night hugging the box and the next day I couldn’t wait to come back from preschool and play with it.”

“From that moment, which remains vivid in my heart more than thirty years later, I never stopped developing my hobby. Every birthday present was Lego, and every bit of money I saved up as a child remained in my piggy bank until enough accumulated to buy a new set. I lived at the time in Yavneh and I would ride my bicycle all the way to Rechovot in order to buy Lego and save the cost of a bus ticket.”

Throughout his youth, Cohen never abandoned his hobby. But, of course, as he matured, his focus turned to adult occupations. He served in the army, completed an officers’ course, and today, after finishing his academic studies through the army, is serving as a Major in the Manpower Department.

One day, he recalls, after realizing that he had accumulated in his home an unimaginable amount of Lego, worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, he decided that it was time to pass the pieces on to somebody else who would enjoy them. “I wanted to do something good with the Lego. I turned to my friend, Rabbi Eitan Eckstein, who suggested that I donate the collection to Oranit, Ezer Mizion’s Donald Berman Rehab Center for Support of Cancer Patients and their Families.pr canc sup lego

When I arrived at Oranit, my plans changed. Drastically. “I came there intending to simply donate the Lego and go my merry way. Oranit staff had a different idea. “Suppose you keep the Lego and use it for a club, showing the kids how to use it. You’ve got the skills. You’ve got the know-how. You could accomplish so much. You could put life into those kids (and maybe even adults). Dealing with cancer is frightening. It’s depressing. Having a project like Lego to look forward to would work wonders.”

“They were so convincing that I tried giving the workshop that very day. I recall hesitantly entering the playroom with a few pieces of Lego and three children and we started building. Well, it worked. The kids loved it. Every week, the number of kids increased, and today there are almost thirty children participating.

From that moment five years ago, Maor Cohen has been running the Lego Club in Oranit on a volunteer basis. With time, the project expanded. Others volunteered to assist him. Nir Solomon, who served as Cohen’s brigade commander in the past and is now retired uses his free time help Maor run the club. Four other volunteers also come regularly. Even Maor’s immense collection has its limits but many have been fascinated by the project and offered to help finance new Lego sets. Maor’s brother is one of these. “He was very excited by the idea and asked to donate money so that I could buy the kids Lego as a gift. That would enable them to have Lego not only during the club time but also at home and with them during their treatments.”

Neither sun, nor rain, nor the security situation can deter the energetic Lego man. “The club is now in its fifth year, and it takes place once a week, no matter what. At most, I push it off a day, because I know that the child and his family are waiting for me. In addition to the club, I also make the rounds in the Oncology wards of the hospitals 3-4 times a week and build with the hospitalized children.”pr canc sup lego s-f

Why Lego? “First of all, Lego is great fun. I also think that it is especially important for these kids, because with Lego, there is a feeling of continuity. All that planning gives them a sense of a future.

Dr. Bracha Zisser, Director of Oranit, explains that Oranit was founded in order to relieve patients and their families during the difficult period of treatments. “We operate as a guest house that enables families to sleep over in the Center of the country near treatment centers to avoid the long, grueling hours of traveling. We also organize trips and social activities. In addition, we provide many forms of therapy for both patient and his family. We are constantly expanding our activities in order to enable every person, the patient or his family member, to connect with activities that speak to him.

Maor has got to know Oranit and its staff over the years. “Oranit is an amazing place. They provide support in the most difficult moments, both to children who are sick and to children with a sick parent, and actually to the entire family, in the knowledge that the family is the circle surrounding the child.”

For further info: www.ezermizion.org              5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219             718 853 8400 Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

What Would You Have Done?

July 17, 2017

pr special sunWhat 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. And so that’s what we did. We said yes. We said yes to the mother of a special needs child who had already used up her allotted respite hours and called the office about Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camp for Children with Special Needs. The father had passed away a few months ago. The mother was left alone to care for the family including a difficult special child. She knew she had no more respite hours left and would have to pay for the service.  She began giving over her credit card info but before she reached the last digit, her voice choked up into sobs and she could not continue.  The camp was essential for this most difficult child. And no less essential was the break it afforded the whole family who would be able to enjoy the healing time of togetherness without the continual, relentless turmoil created by a child who was incapable of joining the family

unit.

The Real Thing
CP young man experiencing the ocean for the first time in his life

Camp was crucial but so was food for her family. Basic food. Credit cards have to be paid at the end of the month and there was hardly any money. The heart-rending tears flowed and so we said yes. Yes, we will accept her child at no cost. Wouldn’t you have done the same?

 

And we said yes to the family that has not one but two special needs children. As if that is not enough, another family member suffers from severe emotional disturbances. She, too, had no allotted hours remaining but could we say no?

 

We said yes because we were confident that you, our friends and supporters, would do the same and your generous donations would cover the cost.

 

pr spec cp matan 9 15 11947443_539963429489931_8189755830918778233_n
Jeeping trip for cancer patients and their families

Every year, Ezer Mizion’s Summer Camps include camps for Special Needs Children, camps for Cancer Patients and their Families enabling the whole family to enjoy a rejuvenating vacation from cancer in a fun atmosphere geared for their needs and, beginning this year, camps for the Mentally Challenged and their Families.

 

Some excerpts from one of the many thank you letters received:

pr spec - camp 2015 11817085_525607327592208_8172798921861778918_n
High functioning special kids visiting the kosel

Survival mode. That’s the only way to describe it. When my daughter was out of the house, we lived normally. When she was home, it was all about getting from one minute to the next with the house, her siblings and my sanity usually less than more intact. Pandemonium reigned. Every day. My children hardly knew what it was like to live in a normal home. Invite friends over to study for a test? Absurd. Have a quiet talk with a child? There was no quiet. We had no end to look forward to in the foreseeable future. My eight year old dreamed of getting married and living in a calm house. Ezer Mizion came through over and over again with a variety of support, then with the biggest surprise of all – a summer camp geared just for kids like her. My children couldn’t believe it when I suggested a trip to the zoo during vacation.  Such a simple pastime but so out of reach with a special child at home. Ezer Mizion, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. May you all be blessed.

 

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

 

For further info:   http://www.ezermizion.org            5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219             718 853 8400

What the Kids Have Discovered

July 6, 2017

helping handssSome say that the new generation is steeped in materialism and can’t see past their ipod screens. Is it true? A recent event in Israel honoring junior volunteers yielded some surprises.

Last summer, M, a sixth grader, noticed something strange going on in her neighbor’s home. “There are two children living there, and I understood that their mother had cancer. She was undergoing treatments, and some of the time, was even hospitalized. And those kids were home alone.” M. decided to help. She invited the kids to her house, which turned into a regular practice. “They come every day after school, eat lunch, do their homework with me and play games. They go home only when a relative arrives to be with them.” M. didn’t see anything extraordinary about what she had been doing but the organizers at the event thought differently and she was singled out for an award.

S joined M on stage also unsure of why she was there. “We have an elderly neighbor with no children or family, and also, almost no money. I think that he doesn’t always even have what to eat. I come to him almost every day with food, sit with him a bit and speak to him. It’s just regular. Anyone would do it.”

Many of these children have discovered Ezer Mizion as the place where there is always a need for chessed. Z has been volunteering for Ezer Mizion since she was seven years old. She just walked in to Ezer Mizion and asked to volunteer. “They didn’t understand what I wanted. After all, I was just a little kid. They smiled and gave me a few jobs, thinking I’d soon get tired and go home. It’s been five years since then, and I’m still there. Twice a week (“Before Yom Tov, every day, and during vacation, all day”)

I come straight from school, put down my book bag in a corner, and get to work. I arrange meal trays, pack up vegetables, and give food to anyone who comes with a note. Sometimes, I go to the preschools and pick up non-perishable leftovers from lunch. Sometimes, I deliver food packages to people’s homes, and other times, I make order in the storeroom, depending on what needs to be done.”

Don’t you ever feel that your volunteering comes at the expense of other fun things, like music or art lessons, or spending time with friends?

“It gives me a good feeling to volunteer, and I also enjoy it. If I have a lesson or club, or if I make up to meet with a friend, I go there after I finish at Ezer Mizion. Before Yom Tov, I was there every day and I helped pack up food packages. I think that helping people who are in need is more important than all the other stuff. It also makes you feel good, in your heart. It leaves you with a taste for more.   I am the youngest volunteer they’ve ever had.”

D has found a different venue for helping others. One can’t help noticing her lovely hair. That hair is now on several other heads in addition to hers. D is grateful for her beautiful hair and feels it’s proper to ‘give back’ by donating it to Ezer Mizion. “When I was five, I saw a picture of a girl who was bald. My mother explained to me that the girl is sick and that part of the treatment for her illness made her hair fall out. To me, that was awful, and I knew that I wanted to help. I said I would give her some of my hair. It’s funny. Usually little kids have ideas that don’t really make much sense. Little did I know that my idea about giving my hair was a real possibility and done by many people. My mother said that I was too small. She assumed I’d forget about it. But I couldn’t. Every time I thought of that girl being so embarrassed walking around with no hair, I wanted to help. Finally, when I got to second grade, my mother agreed.

Did you have any regrets?

“No. I knew that I had plenty of hair and that it would grow back. I actually waited for my hair to grow in enough so that I could donate it again. This year, my braid reached the right length, so I went to have it cut and donated it. I had a lot of hair this time. They might even be able to make two wigs from it.”

D.relates that the day of her haircut was a happy day for her, “because it meant that there would be a girl somewhere who would look in the mirror and forget about her sickness, at least for a few minutes. I try to convince my friends to donate to Ezer Mizion, too, even though each one of them loves her hair and finds it really hard to part with it.”

The stage was soon filled with youngsters who had discovered what many adults do not know. What do you think? Will Ezer Mizion have any problem filling its volunteer slots next generation?

Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.

For further info: www.ezermizion.org              5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219             718 853 8400