Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

Being on the Giving End

June 21, 2017

pr bldg

Rivi has spent the last two hours in her kitchen running from sink to counter, fridge to oven. The smells are mouth-watering. Roast chicken, potato kugel…just like you and me. What’s different, you ask.  The difference is the interruptions. Her cell phone seems attached to her ear. A cancer patient calls and is desperate for a ride to the clinic. Her planned transportation fell through and missing her appointment is not an option. She’s crying.  Can Rivi help? Chicken breast in one hand, Transportation Roster in the other, she scrolls down, makes first call. Negative. Second. Third. Bingo. A volunteer is able to drop everything and make the trip. Back to the schnitzel. But only until the next call. Mrs. D. was recently diagnosed with cancer. The family is falling apart. There’s no food for Shabbos. The father had planned   on eating cheese with challa for the seudos. More than that he couldn’t handle. Can anything be done? Schnitzel waits patiently on the counter while another roster – this time of volunteers to prepare meals – is consulted.

“How do you do it,” we ask. “How can you manage your own home while dealing with all these major problems?”

“I have strength. I can walk. I am capable of running my home. I’m so thankful. These people that call are not able to do so.”

Rivi Kossover is Assistant director at Ezer Mizion’s Jerusalem branch. She laughs when we ask what her hours are. “Sometimes I leave at three. Sometimes at six. It depends on what’s going on.” It’s quite obvious that Rivi’s work hours do not end when she arrives home. Like all Ezer Mizion staff, she doesn’t know the meaning of regular work hours. “Work is over when no one needs me,” she feels. “How can I relax with a magazine if a cancer patient is in tears a few blocks away?”

Rivi takes a lemon cake out of the oven and puts it on the cooling rack to await its lemon icing. Maybe it will get iced. Maybe not. It depends on the interruptions. Some weeks the cake is “iced” with chessed.  But it’s always yummy.

“I can put my housework on some kind of schedule but I never know what will be needed at Ezer Mizion. People go through crises and we try to be there for them. Like the call I got from a neighbor the other day. Five kids, two in their teens and three even younger, were taking care of their cancer-stricken mother. They were wonderful, putting their own lives on hold and giving everything they had to the mother they so loved.  But they’re only human and those kids desperately needed a break. Could I arrange something? Well, I have a picture of those kids waving from a boat, looking as if they don’t have care in the world. They had a wonderful day, just being kids and it gave them strength to go on. it’s called Vitamin Fun. They’ll need another shot of vitamins every so often. Ezer Mizion will make sure they get it.”

A little boy in one family is doing poorly in school. His father used to review with him every night but now Abba is either at the hospital or recuperating from chemo. The young child, forced to grow up too soon, tiptoes through his house, afraid to disturb. He doesn’t even mention his 40 in the last quiz. That’s all history now. Ezer Mizion has taken over with a volunteer to help him. He’s raising his hand in class with the best of them.

Meals. Rides. Help with the kids. Medical advice. A place to stay during treatment. Emotional Therapy when it becomes too difficult to deal with the fears. Rivi’s phone never rests and neither, it seems, does she but, as she says, “I’m just thankful that I can be on the giving side.”

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

Tuning in to Ezer Mizion’s What’s App Screen

December 14, 2016

globeBeep! Urgent! Urgent! Urgent!

Sorry about the late hour!

Looking for a volunteer to deliver an envelope with an oncology patient’s lab samples from Israel to Milan, Italy, tomorrow morning!!

This is a real case of life and death!

We will bring the envelope to any point in Israel to the traveler. It will be picked up from any place in Milan.

 

Beep. Boruch Hashem. Thank you to staff and the five volunteers who linked together forming a human chain. Envelope delivered safely to Milan. Mission accomplished.

 

Beep. To fellow members of Ezer Mizion’s “Linked to Life” What’s App group, Bnei Brak:

Today I was privileged to take a mother and her daughter, an oncology patient, from Tel Hashomer medical center to Bnei Brak.

car-driving-man-city-46591018The mother sat in the back seat, her daughter in her arms, pale and absolutely exhausted.

I quote:

“We go for treatments almost every day.

So far, you’ve taken us more than 70 times!!!

I cannot begin to tell you what a huge chessed you are doing.

Taking Abba. Bringing home Imma.

Driving a volunteer to relieve us at our little girl’s bedside.

These are not simply messages rippling through What’s App.

For us, it’s lifesaving!

We would never be able to deal with the illness without your assistance and support!”

And then came the sentence that really broke me:

“There’s another girl on the ward from Bnei Brak who was sick a few years ago, and now, the disease came back, after she had recovered completely. The mother says all the time: Even though the second time around is supposed to be harder ­– thanks to ‘Linked to Life,’ it’s a lot easier for us than last time!”

I try to keep driving, but suddenly I feel a tear rolling down my cheek.

How blessed are we all – members of Ezer Mizion’s ‘Linked to Life’ groups.

************************************************************************************

Click. Click. Beep. Beep. Twenty four hours. Around the globe. Jews helping other Jews via Ezer Mizion.

 

Beep.Beep.Vacation time. Family having a good time at Benei Re’em until one child stricken with asthma attack. Needs Tenzol to restore and regulate breathing. One Linked to Life member has access to child’s prescription. Another picks up med from first on his way to Benei Re’em… Child breathing normally. Family breathing normally. Back to vacation mode and looking forward to milking the cows at illustrious Benei Re’em.

cell-phoneBeep. I’m the daughter of that cancer patient for whom transport was just requested. Of course, I want to be there for my mother but I am the mother of six children and I work full time. My mother has been ill for almost two years now. The diagnosis was discovered the day after my baby’s bris.

After a year of exhausting trips and draining night shifts, I was privileged to become familiar with you, Linked to Life,

Until you came on the scene, my mother felt so uncomfortable already “imposing” on me, that once she “escaped” early in the morning, traveling in two stuffy buses, all the while with an immunological contraption on her face!!

On her last trip, she became infected and was hospitalized. This morning, she was released, and she didn’t let me know until almost the last minute. She knew one of my kids was sick at home and didn’t want me to feel any pressure. I panicked. I pictured her alone. Then I remembered Linked to Life. Is a Jew ever alone? Chezky at Linked to Life arranged for a pleasant, sensitive young woman to deliver her directly to her door. May he and all of the What’s App group be blessed!

Sorry this is so long, but I’m so grateful for all your care that I couldn’t restrain myself…

 

 

Are you living in US and like to join our what’s app program? SMS: 011 972 52 580 8936

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    718 853 8400                          5225 New Utrecht Ave Bk NY 11219

 

 

 

 

 

Who Is the Giver?

December 7, 2016

pr-amb-hi-res-img_6381It wasn’t easy. Nothing is ever easy for this child. Avi* was born with cerebral palsy and suffers from other issues also. His life is complicated, to say the least. Avi had an appointment at the clinic and I was the Ezer Mizion driver assigned to take him. Another child would simply hop into the family car and buckle himself up. But not Avi. He needs to be transported with an Ezer Mizion vehicle especially outfitted for the disabled. He was strapped into an adjustable wheelchair with back support to counteract his spasms and prevent his accidentally flying out of the chair, certainly a dangerous situation in a moving vehicle. I positioned him facing backwards so that the inertia of a short stop will be absorbed by the sturdy back of the seat, not the much weaker seat belt. More minor adjustments. I did my best to provide a comfortable, safe ride for this child whose condition makes him dependent on others to provide for his every need. Or so I thought. It was only moments later that I discovered how much he has achieved on his own and is able to give to others.

 

He was accompanied by his mother who, understandably, has a difficult life. In addition to the usual household tasks of every mother, it is she who must see to his feeding, his dressing, his personal care. It is she who must regulate his activities providing the balance between the satisfaction of accomplishments and the frustration that accompanies a goal too difficult to meet. Avi’s needs – and there are so many – color her every moment. And so it is no surprise that a minor difficulty can sometimes be just too much to handle. Today it was a head cold. She hadn’t been feeling well yesterday. The head cold and fever had kept her up most of the night. She sat on the ambulance bench near her son bemoaning her plight. Before I could respond with some soothing words, her son offered his own brand of encouragement. Speaking is so difficult for him but he exerted himself to the maximum, straining his muscles to enunciate the syllables properly:

Eeee-mmmmmmmmmmmmm-a

Evvvvvv-errrrrrrrrrrrry thinnnnnnnnnnnng is frrrrrrrrrrrrrrom Hashem.

We jjjjjjjjjjjjjjust have tttttttttttttto accept wwwwwwwwwwwwith lovvvvvvvvvvvve.

 

I had to pull over. I was crying too hard to drive. Later I tried to express to his mother how much he had given me, how much he had touched my soul. And to think only a few short moments ago, with my feeble attempts toward his comfort and safety, I had considered myself the giver.

 

 

Shmuel Strauss is a Certified IDF Medic, EMT, Ambulance Driver with over 25 years experience in the field. For the past four years, he has been based at the Ezer Mizion main office in Bnei Brak.

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

Behind the Wheel with Yisroel

November 16, 2016

car-driving-man-city-46591018They always say thank you but, in truth, I am the one who feels privileged, as an Ezer Mizion driver, to transport so many very special people who have been battling illness and often have gained a clear insight of Hashem’s loving hand. A family   had requested a ride to the kvarim to give thanks to Hashem upon their young son completing a set of treatments.

At 7:45 I met six-year-old Noam Chai and his parents, exuberant after a 5-month long hospital stay. Their story is amazing, a story of blazing faith, of pure love of Hashem.

They came to these shores not for happy reasons, but rather because of the disease that ravaged their son’s lean body. From their very first words, I could tell what a special family they were, their faith engraved in stone, resistant even to gale-force winds, and the mitzvah of loving their Creator above all, guiding their steps at every moment. I was jealous. Their tribulations did not deter them. On the contrary, they just empowered the parents and their sweet child to accept the heavenly judgment with love.

The first stop was at the gravesite of Shmuel Hanavi, where we poured out our prayers for the complete recovery of Noam Chai. Our next stop was breakfast. I derived special pleasure seeing the 6-year-old boy being careful in the laws of netilat yadayim, making the brocha on a whole roll, eating politely, like a grown boy. And so, we continued traveling, while hearing words of Torah and inspiration, until we reached the grave of Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes. In awe, the family poured out their prayers at the holy site.

From there we went on to the gravesite of Rachel, the wife of Rabbi Akiva, and then to the kvarim of the great Rambam and of the Shelah Hakadosh. Rivers of tears flowed. Near them, with the intensity characteristic of a grown yeshiva bachur, the young Noam Chai prayed tearfully and slowly, saying word after word as if he was counting golden coins. I am certain that the heavens shed tears and cleared the way for the prayer of this young child, fighting a cruel and terrible illness.

From there, we continued to a lighter experience – a boat ride. The boat owners had donated their time as a gift for the child who captured the heart of all who met him.

Tzefas was our next stop. We visited the special candle factory, and saw scribes at their work writing a miniature sefer Torah, and then resumed our travels to the gravesite of Rashbi in Meron, stopping first for a meal.

The child, who was now able to put real food in his mouth after being nourished for long, hard months by IV, was visibly thankful. When we went to wash netilat yadayim, he stood politely, his hands clasped behind refusing to wash before his elders would do so. You could see the marvelous middos cultivated by the upbringing of his mother, who is meticulous about everything, big and small.

I dropped off this special family, now recharged with holy energy, anxious to thank Ezer Mizion and the devoted volunteers who are at their side day and night, ready to meet all their needs. From rides like this to transportation to and from the clinic, from daily hot meals to detailed advocacy and medical advice. Whatever their needs, Ezer Mizion was there for them. Praised is your nation, Hashem where a Yid is never alone!

All that remains is to give our blessing to Noam Chai ben Chami, for a complete recovery among all the ill of Israel, and that his dear parents should enjoy much nachas from him, in good health and happiness, and merit to be oleh laregel with all the Jewish people in the holy land very soon.

And to you, the amazing Ezer Mizion family, who teaches us what real chessed is, I thank you for enabling me to be a small agent in this holy organization.

With the blessing of a Kohen,

Yisrael ben Reitcha Raitzel

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

 

Next Stop: Meron

June 8, 2016

cell-phoneThe family calls him a malach. A malach is both an angel and a messenger and thirteen years ago, he was truly Hashem’s messenger in saving a life. Yisroel Fischer uses his spare time- and then some- to volunteer in various capacities. He had been called to assist at a MVA with multiple victims and raced to the scene. His assignment: to move the niftarim, who were already placed in body bags, to a different area.  Things were going as smoothly as such a grueling job could until… a bag moved. Yisroel rushed to open it and was shocked to see a baby girl…alive! The MDA took over, sedating her and placing her on a respirator while he returned to his assignment.

Years passed, he relates. I took many Ezer Mizion volunteer assignments to drive the elderly to a clinic appointment, dialysis patients for treatment, cancer patients for chemo.   Time flew by, lots of water flowed under the bridge, and the time came to celebrate my thirtieth anniversary. We decided to take a weekend vacation at Kibbutz Nir Etzion in honor of the occasion…

Thursday night. A What’s App message comes through for the Ezer Mizion Jerusalem Linked to Life group asking for a volunteer to drive a mother and her daughter from Jerusalem to Haifa for medical treatment.

car-driving-man-city-46591018I was happy to work the ride into the trip towards our vacation. The feeling of doing a chessed is unquantifiable and is its own reward. What better way to celebrate thirty years of marriage??

The drive was pleasant, and the mother started telling us the story of how her entire family was hurt on their way back from the Kosel years before. One mosaic stone joins another, one colorful pebble snaps into the next, rousing old memories, and opening the fount of tears, as we realize that the tiny baby whose life I had saved was none other than the girl sitting in the back seat of my car…

Since that trip, Ezer Mizion knows that this call goes to me. I have driven them every time they need to go to Haifa for medical care, listening along the way to their firm emunah, drawing from their deep connection to Hashem.

meronOn the auspicious day of Lag B’Omer, young Shira received her final treatment. One thought filled the hearts of the pair as they exited the building, hopefully for the last time. R’ Shimon bar Yochai. Mr. Fischer then joined the long line of hundreds of Ezer Mizion volunteers, bringing his two passengers to Meron. Ezer Mizion ambulances have special permission to drive all the way up to the Tzion with passengers who are unable to   walk the distance. Drivers are busy all day and well into the night making the round trip again and again and again. They do not see their homes until after Lag B’Omer and make do with a cot and refreshments set up in a tent for them. But, as Yisroel says, the reward for chessed cannot be measured. Tears well up in the eyes of the drivers as they watch an eighty-eight year-old great grandfather approach the Tzion with trembling steps, hardly able to believe he has once again been privileged to make the trip to Meron. Near him sits Daniel Mizrachi, a young man whose CP does not allow him to move any part of his body except for his head. In the women’s section of the Tzion, with the help of Ezer Mizion’s ambulance division, stands Shira with her mother, clutching a t’hillim, so filled with gratitude for the miracle of having her life saved twice. Please daven for Shira bat Ora for the success of her medical procedure. May she be blessed with a complete refuah among all the cholim in klal Yisroel.

For further info: http://www.ezermizion.org

He Is Disabled???!

May 4, 2016

pr spec Daniel Mizrachi 2

We all have complaints. Some of us sit back with the attitude of ‘What can I do? If only I had such and such, then I would be able to accomplish so much more’.  And then there are the rare few who take what they were given, little as that may be, and scale the heights. Daniel Mizrachi is one of those rare gems.

Today Daniel Mizrachi is 24 years old and gets about in a wheelchair.  And how he gets about! Daniel wakes up each morning and says to himself, “Now why did Hashem give me this new day? What can I accomplish with it?”  It’s real accomplishments that Daniel is looking for… accomplishments that will help both him and others grow in ruchnius.

Were you born with your disability or did it happen later in life?

I was born with it. There are only five other people in the world with a similar type of CP. The doctors had predicted that I would never be able to go forward in life. Everyone, except my parents, thought I was retarded. People spoke around me, not to me, thinking I was not able to understand a thing. I just lay there like a bump on a log.   In my heart, I thought to myself: Just you wait. With my belief in Hashem and my will, I’ll yet overturn worlds.  If those doctors could have seen inside my head, they’d know that I was more than a bump, someone who just occupies space.

תמוגה דגיאלpr DanielWell, you surely showed all those others who were sure that you were retarded! Are you able to use any part of your body, Daniel?

My whole body is paralyzed except for my head. When I was nine, Hashem caused the people at my school to have an absolutely brilliant idea. Since I had use of my head, they created a “hand” to be attached to my head. It was actually a stick that was strapped to my forehead. It was unbelievable.    It was like having a third hand, but one that worked. It was my key to becoming independent.  That little stick enabled me to get some control into my life.  Now I can go anywhere moving my wheelchair with the stick. I can even make the chair spin around- very handy for chasuna dancing.

Daniel demonstrates his  chasuna dance and I cheer.

I can use the stick on a computer or cell phone.   I can type. I can send text messages. I can communicate. I can accomplish.

The earnest look on his face tells me how important it is to him to give! Ezer Mizion helps him a great deal. As he says, ‘ I am a ben bayis at Ezer Mizion. They do so much for me. Whenever I want to go somewhere, they are there to take me. They accommodate all my details to make things work for me. A lot of the drivers know me and some even put on my favorite CD even before I get in. ’

Even though he has learned to accept help graciously, he wants very much to give.  

pr Daniel Mizrachi w stickNothing can stand in the way of a strong will coupled with an even stronger belief in Hashem. Belief brings such joy, knowing there is Someone watching over you. The answer to all problems in life is found in just two words: Belief and Will. My belief in Hashem has accompanied me throughout my life. It has got me to where I am and will help me to achieve even more IY’H. I feel like a passenger aboard a ship sailing on the waves of Emunah as I tear open the bars of the cage in which I was placed. That’s what I feel like- like I’m in a cage. But I’m getting out. Bit by bit.

For a moment, I think perhaps I have entered the wrong room and am attending a mussar schmooze given by a godol. Daniel continues, trying to explain to me what his life is like. 

Everything I want to do in life requires some form of movement. I try so hard to figure out ways of doing what everyone else does so easily using just my head.  I know I can spend my life waiting for people to take care of me but i don’t want that. I want to do things myself like everyone else.

Like what, Daniel?

pr spec CP Daniel Mizrachi at 2015 Chanukah partyI used to have to wait until someone comes every time I needed a drink. Someone would hold the cup and I would drink through a straw. It satisfied my thirst but my dignity…well, that was very unsatisfied. So I talked to myself. Daniel, I said, it’s up to you. If you want it badly enough, figure it out. Then I took the first, most important, step. I daavened.  Hashem never leaves my side for a moment. I sometimes wonder when He has time for anyone else. I keep him so busy with all my needs.

Daniel grins. He seems to be always smiling. I see you have a cup of water on your wheelchair tray. Do you need help in holding it? Daniel’s grin stretches even wider.

Watch, he says.

His face now turns serious as he slowly, very slowly, enunciates a bracha. Beads of sweat appear on his forehead as he uses every bit of effort to be sure he is pronouncing each syllable correctly. I feel a bit embarrassed to be present. It’s clear that Daniel is not just rattling off a string of words but truly communicating with the Creator. Then I gasp as Daniel manages to get the cup held between his teeth, not spilling a drop. On his face  is an endearingly  smug grin.

Speaking is hard for me. I reserve it for when I really want to communicate. And the most important communication is, of course, with Hashem. It takes me a long time to daaven, even to make a brocha but how can I not thank the One who enables me to do so much. Daavening shacharis can take as much as three hours. Daavening is between me and Hashem. I don’t want anyone helping me. I use a siddur with thick pages and turn the pages with my stick.   I even learn with a chavrusah.  After all, I’m a Yid like everyone else.  It’s my Torah, too.

You are, by far, on a higher madreigah than anyone else, I whisper to myself.  Daniel, what do you do after learning?

I spend a lot of time at Ezer Mizion. We daven, learn, have activities. We travel to mokomos kdoshim. This year,  it was Maaros Hamachpela. Volunteers brought us all up the many stairs.

Can you tell us how you got interested in music?      

pr Daniel MIzrachi songI especially find it fulfilling to express my feelings in song.  I’ve been zoche to publish four albums.  I still remember when I first realized that I can express myself through song.  I had attended a performance and suddenly I wanted to join in. I moved up front with the singer and just began to sing along. The audience loved it and, for the first time, I saw how much easier singing is compared with talking. In a flash, I saw how I could share my feelings about emunah with others by means of song. That’s when I began to compose songs. I just took my feelings and tried to put them into words. You see, my emuna is boiling inside of me. I want to share it. One song, Shma Koleinu, I just had to sing myself. I poured all my feelings into it. People could sense that.  It feels really good when people tell me how my songs affected them. One person even became a baal tshuva because of a song.

 

Yes, Daniel actually composes these heartfelt songs. Below is a translation of the chorus of one:

 One day I looked at the natural world

And knew clearly Who created it

There is a Creator in the world (2)

He is concerned with every one of His creations.

Daniel is anxious to share his experiences.

“I got a call from one of the radio broadcasters. I got so excited that it was hard for me to speak. “We are calling from Kol Baramah. We heard that you are celebrating your 24th birthday and we would like to host you and hear your latest songs.” My whole wheelchair trembled with excitement. Of course, I needed transportation but there was no question who I would call for that.  Whenever I call, the answer is always, “Sure, Daniel.”  Even my stick probably knows the Ezer Mizion number by heart. During the program the Mayor came on the line to wish me Mazel Tov as well as the king of Chassidic music, Avrahom Fried.

Daniel continues.

It’s easy to compose songs but the hardest thing is to get it typed up before it flies out of my head.

Daniel demonstrates  how he types. It’s very time-consuming and the tremendous effort is obvious but he is amazingly accurate. I glance at the email he had sent me, marveling at how long it must have taken him to respond to my questions.

Once I got the urge to design the CD cover.

Design?? How were you able to do that?  

Well, I had an idea in my head. I wanted to use a picture of Har Sinai to represent Emuna and I knew just how I wanted it to look. So I felt I had to do it myself. I got some writing materials attached to my stick and presto, there it was. Well, not exactly ‘presto’. It did take a lot of work.

Any more ideas in that busy head of yours?

Well, yes. One thing led to another and one day I decided I wanted to organize a musical event. So I did.

So you did? Just like that?

It was somewhat complicated. Getting the singers. Working out how much they would be paid. Advertising. Selling tickets. Getting a venue. In fact, the original venue cancelled on me and I had to get another one at the last minute and notify all those that had bought tickets of the change in address. The event was out of this world.  I’ve done quite a few of them already.

Honestly, Daniel, I would be overwhelmed if I had to organize such an event. How do you do it?

It’s mostly done by email. Most of the people don’t even know about the CP until we meet.

He shows me his inbox. It’s jammed! Daniel has a message and he is not about to let a little thing like ‘impossibility’ stand in his way. In fact, he lectures frequently to groups composed of both disabled and those with full abilities.

“Everyone has problems,” he tells his audience. “The trick is to know how to look at them.”

Daniel has internalized the concept that we are all put here on this earth to fulfill a specific mission and we were given whatever tools we need toward that end. He continually searches for new avenues in which he can go forward.

Those of us engaged in normal activities cannot begin to imagine the effort that Daniel puts out each day to achieve what he has. A break here and there is just the vitamin he needs to continue.

 

Did you go to Ezer Mizion’s recent retreat?

 

I sure did. I try not to miss them. We had a Shabaton in Elul in Golan that truly strengthened us enabling us to continue in spite of all the difficulties we encounter. The summer Shabbaton at the Kinnnerit which began with a boat ride on Thursday was another one. They played Chassidishe music the whole way. I even got to feel the waves later after the boat ride right there from my wheelchair. And there was the jeeping trip. I can still feel the thrill of that drive!  I saw people worse off than I am. I thanked Hashem for giving me so much! I clearly see how much Hashem loves me for creating me just as I am, and not in a more difficult situation. Even though I only have use of my head, I can do so much.  That week gave me a charge of energy that is impossible to describe and filled me with strength for the entire year to come! Thank you, Ezer Mizion, thank you!”

 

I look back in awe at this giant in a wheelchair . He is called disabled??? He has more ability anyone I know. The glow on his face. The supreme happiness as he metaphorically holds Hashem’s hand. The stick attached to his forehead- he uses it sort of as a joystick and, for him, it is truly a stick of joy.

 

http://www.ezermizion.org/blog/he-is-disabled/

https://ezermizionusa.wistia.com/medias/dly3vwiuhq

 

To contact Daniel regarding speaking engagement in US: daniel mizrachi (dnielmizrahi3@gmail.com)

To contact Ezer Mizion: www.ezermizion.org     718 853 8400

Article partially based on The Victory Stick/Mishpacha Magazine 3/19/15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making the Difference between Wheelchair-Bound and Simcha-Bound

April 13, 2016

dropdown_icons_ambulance2It wasn’t easy to make it to the wedding. I arrived home from work much later than I had planned. There was supper to prepare and homework to do with my kids but frozen pizza and a big sister who actually knew the math better than I did solved both problems and I made it in time for the chupa. I was patting myself on the back when I saw Adina. Adina??? She managed to come? Together with her husband?! Yes, they were both walking in together. Did I say walking? Let me qualify that. Adina’s husband has advanced Parkinsons  and, though he can struggle with a walker for short distances, he is wheelchair-bound much of the time –  a  real challenge for someone who loves people and simchas and lives on the fourth floor…

 

We sat together, Adina and I. She is a dear friend and neighbor and I was so happy to spend time with her. As the last strains of wedding music began to wind down, I stood up to make my way to the bus stop. A long trip awaited me. I was not looking forward to it. “Wait,” Adina called out. “Would you like a ride?” “It’s not too conventional,” she chuckled. “But much easier than the bus trip. If you wait a bit, the Ezer Mizion ambulance will coming soon to pick up my husband.   There’s room for companions if you don’t mind sitting on a bench.” We met her husband in the lobby. He was glowing. He told his wife he had actually ‘danced’ with the chosson, wheelchair and all. People kept coming up to talk all evening. He felt human again. It had been months since he had gone anywhere except to doctors’ offices. Of course, he appreciates the Ezer Mizion trips to the clinic. Without them his physical condition would deteriorate considerably. “But Ezer Mizion also recognizes a man’s spirit,” he said, his grin lighting up his face like a light bulb. “I’ll remember this evening for weeks.” The “limousine” arrived. The driver helped him in all the while singing chasuna songs with his patient, trying to extend the simcha a bit longer. As we were driven home, Adina mentioned that Ezer Mizion is an organization that realizes that, for people like her husband, it is just as important to help them get to weddings in the evenings as to get to doctor appointments in the morning! Tonight he was not wheelchair-bound. He was simcha-bound.

 

Ezer Mizion’s Transport Division drives the frail, the elderly, the disabled, the ill to treatment centers, therapy clinics and doctor’s appointments but it doesn’t forget the dreams they have…a trip to the kosel… attending a grandson’s Bar Mitzvah … visiting an equally disabled relative…a fun day at the beach…dreams…

 

Ezer Mizion’s Elad Transportation Troops in Action

February 10, 2016

 

Ezer Mizion, the Caller ID reads.

“Are you available to drive a patient to the hospital today at four?” Eli’s forehead wrinkles in thought and he makes the calculations. “I’ll take it.”

His cell phone vibrates. “This is Dr. Kluger’s secretary,” You have an appointment in another two weeks but a slot became available today at four. Interested?”

Yes, very interested. His foot has been waiting for over a month to be seen by the overbooked, expert orthopedist. True, it’s nothing critical but the nagging pain… Perhaps he should cancel the volunteer trip? Just this once…

“No,” he heard himself say. “I’m booked this afternoon.”

A soldier in the Ezer Mizion army does not go AWOL.

At 3:55 he leaves. His foot seems to be bothering him so much than before. The thought that he could have resolved his ongoing pain pulses through his mind.

The passengers are deeply engrossed in saying Tehillim and he silently joins their pleading murmurs. He almost forgets about his aching foot and the appointment that almost was. The passengers are frightfully tense. They burst out of the car and rush in.

He adds another chapter of Tehillim to the anonymous passengers’ pool of prayers, and is about to begin the long ride back . At that precise moment, a call comes in from his elderly mother.

“Eli,” his mother sobs hysterically. “Go to Tel Hashomer. Fast!” “Abba fell. He is in terrible pain. A neighbor called me at work. Nobody went to the hospital with Abba,” she groans. “Abba needs you. Now.”

To Ima’s disbelief, he assures her that he is already at the entrance. “An ambulance just pulled up,” he updates his frightened mother. A tremulous smile breaks out on the pained face of the elderly man on the stretcher. His son is here. Now everything will be all right.

Two terrified, elderly parents at peace now because a soldier in the Ezer Mizion army does not go AWOL.

 

 

“Ezer Mizion calling. Will you be available to take an elderly woman to the hospital?”

“No,” his rational mind silently answered. He had plans for the day.

“Yes,” his compassionate heart responded aloud. His plans would have to wait.

He stopped at the entrance to the hospital and waited but his patient did not emerge from the car. Frightened. Her voice trembling, “They don’t pay any attention to a sick old lady” she whispered. “I never know what to say.” The devoted volunteer discerned her unspoken request and offered his services as her escort.

It was just as she feared. Their attitude was rough and humiliating, arrogant and derisive. She approached the receptionist’s desk to let her know that she had arrived. “Sit down, Grandma,” the receptionist roared at her. “When it’s your turn, you’ll hear about it.” At this point, the “escort” came to her assistance, speaking authoritatively. The attitude towards her changed sharply. She suddenly wasn’t just another “old lady,” come to spend the rest of her days sitting in clinic waiting rooms.

Their turn at the receptionist arrived. The woman rummaged through her pocketbook and was horrified to see that she’d left her form at home. “On the end-table in the living room, under my glasses,” she wrung her hands in disbelief.

The volunteer took her house key in hand, and rushed back to Elad. Then back to the clinic. Again at the side of “his” patient for the duration. Five hours later, he opened his front door.

********************************************

An elderly person with frightening case of muscular dystrophy asks for a ride to the clinic. A relationship develops and he becomes the volunteer’s “adopted” grandfather. Efficiently and energetically, the volunteer arranges complicated bureaucratic business and submits requests to the authorities. His trips to the grocery take longer because of all the items he buys for the old man – unfamiliar packages appropriate for his strict diet. Making appointments for doctors, second opinions, and tests have become a regular part of his “to do” list these days, and food for Shabbat is on his wife’s list –unfamiliar recipes adapted to “Zeidy’s” health needs.

Ezer Mizion transportation troops armed with an arsenal of solicitude and sensitivity.

http://www.ezermizion.org

 

 

 

On the Road to Life

October 21, 2015

pr amb row 1690_ne_related_content_a_pic_4dfbeEzer Mizion’s eighteen ambulances and vehicles for transport of the disabled cruise Israel’s roads and highways almost twenty-four hours a day, providing service to as many patients and mobility-impaired as possible. For each of the passengers, this service is as indispensable as the air they breathe. Most of them are oncology or dialysis out-patients who must come to the hospital a few times a week for treatment. Some are transported by car by our thousands of volunteer drivers. For others, their physical condition precludes travel by car, even with assistance. Yet, for these patients, frequent hospital trips are essential to life. Travel via ambulance is the only option but ambulance transport is not covered by Kupat Cholim. The cost of one trip by private ambulance begins at about NIS 400. When a few trips per week are required, the families simply cannot handle the staggering expense. What then is a family, who is already overburdened financially due to the medical crisis, do in such a case?
Ezer Mizion’s Ambulance Transport center provides a response for this vital need, with the help of ambulance drivers who are on call at all hours of the day to keep the wheels of chessed turning. Is it discounted trips that are offered by Ezer Mizion? In spite of the steep overhead involved in every ambulance trip, the passengers are not asked to pay a penny. Ezer Mizion, funded by all of you out there who support the organization so generously, is the one to cover all the ambulances’ running costs and maintenance expenses.
Over the last year, the ambulance network was significantly streamlined following the centralization of its calling centers. Now, anyone who needs an ambulance anywhere in the country calls one number, and all the trips are coordinated from that central headquarters. In addition, ambulance driver assistants in the center of the country have begun getting around on motor scooters, enabling one assistant to help out several ambulances within a short span of time by availing himself of this efficient and easy means of mobility.
Transport Center coordinators look back with great satisfaction at the tens of thousands of life-saving trips made this year in addition to special projects such as transporting the ill and disabled to summer retreats and day camps, to Meron for prayers on Lag Ba’omer or taking patients on outings and other activities in the framework of Ezer Mizion’s Make-a-Wish project.
On your next trip to Israel, you will find that every time an Ezer Mizion ambulance passes you on the road, you will feel a tremendous sense of fulfillment, knowing that you too have a part and a merit in this mitzvah transport!
For further info: http://www.ezermizion.org

Lights in the Tunnel

April 1, 2015

Kindling Lights in People’s Hearts
Mishpacha Dec 2014
The K. family’s living room was well-lit. But neither the sparkling chandeliers nor the glowing fluorescents could banish the darkness that prevailed there.
As long as there were only suspicions and conjectures, they managed to somehow suppress them. But when the unequivocal results arrived, they could not ignore the facts anymore. The father of the family, the supporting pillar, the broad shoulders that carried the entire family – was diagnosed with cancer.
Malka felt as if the sky had crashed down on her. At night, on the tear-drenched pillow on the ward, she had a frightening dream, blacker than black. With the first light of morning that shone into the ward, a ray of light radiated to Malka, a ray that with time emerged as a flaming torch: The Ezer Mizion Cancer Support Division entered the picture and embraced her in a cushion of warmth, empathy, and support in every possible area.
“The change began the moment I was approached by Blumi Willner, the indefatigable head of the department. With a warm, sincere smile, she introduced herself and asked- no, literally pleaded with- me to transfer this entire load to her,” Malka recalls.
“The help she offered was like a lifeline for me, both from the physical side and the emotional aspect. They provided us with medical counseling, took care of the maze of bureaucratic matters that had me totally lost, sent us hot meals, babysitters, and help with housecleaning and laundry. They provided “big brothers” for the kids, helped transport us to the hospital and back, and took shifts by the patient’s bedside. They treated us to a rejuvenating retreat, included us in support groups, and more and more and more, until we arrived at the ‘happy ending’ baruch Hashem. I cannot imagine how we could have gotten through this dark course without the guiding light of Ezer Mizion.”
Ezer Mizion’s Mental Health Center has a terminology all its own. Rabbi Yehuda Silver feels that he is entrusted with a power station of souls: “The soul of man is G-d’s candle,” he quotes, and explains: “When the soul is hurt, this light is extinguished. Here we operate a range of projects and rehabilitation programs for the mentally ill and their families. We even have a Center for the Musical Arts, ‘Sounds of the Soul,’ along with occupational rehabilitation, social experiences and ,of course, Torah classes. These activities restore the person’s basic belief in himself and pull him out of the dismal pit of mental affliction. And so, every day here, dimmed eyes become radiant, with flames of vitality once again glowing within them, and another pure Jewish soul emerges from darkness to light.”
You can recognize Efraim by his smile. Once, he was a Down’s Syndrome child, today, he is a Down’s Syndrome adult – so he has known Ezer Mizion for years now.
“My Mom refused to hide me the way they used to hide kids like me,” he says in his typically direct manner. “But she didn’t know who would help her raise me. She put me in a stroller and went to the Ezer Mizion branch, which was very small at the time, but even then, everyone knew that you can get help there for any problem. My Mom likes to tell how I stuck out my tongue at everyone, but that didn’t scare them off. They just stroked me and wished my Mom that she should see lots of nachat from me.”
Efraim’s mother relates how throughout the years raising her special child, Ezer Mizion were like her eyes, giving her guidance and counsel, encouragement and assistance, lending her the necessary rehabilitative and medical equipment, and even helping care for the child, through the afternoon clubs and summer retreats.
A glance at the Geriatric Services Division reveals the great devotion and respect accorded to applicants. Seniors here are treated royally, based on the deeply rooted Jewish belief that the elderly deserve the utmost honor since they are the crowning glory of the generation. The Division operates in a number of areas in the goal of supporting the elderly and illuminating their days by improving their quality of life.
The organization’s Transport Network also includes a number of areas: Ambulances transport patients who needs require the special equipment available in the ambulance. In addition, tens of thousands of volunteer drivers transport the frail or ill in their private vehicles.
In this same manner, important medical materials are also transported from the Center of the country to the North and from the South to the Center. Every day, more than a hundred such requests are posted.
Sometimes it is more complicated. Here is one example among many that happened recently: On Monday, the world stopped for a family in one of the cities of Israel. The mother was diagnosed with a serious illness and the entire family felt that the earth was pulled out from beneath their feet. Ezer Mizion rushed in to do whatever they could to envelop the family with everything they needed. When they asked about meals for Shabbos, the father said that he would be with his wife in the hospital and the children would be scattered among relatives. Then, three hours before Shabbos, the mother of the patient decided that she would stay in the hospital with her daughter, so that the father could be home with his children.
A small light flickered on fifty screens: “Shabbos meals needed for a family of ten.” In fifty homes, they started setting aside portions from the food that was ready, defrosting ingredients, rolling up their sleeves, and sending out flickering, glowing messages: “We’ll prepare ten portions of fish, “Three salads – taken care of,” “”Five challahs waiting here for pickup,” “Seven portions of chicken and a tray of oven-baked potatoes, “Ten schnitzels will be ready in another fifteen minutes, “Dessert for two meals,” “Shabbos will be here in another hour and a half, and I’m starting the pickup now…”
And so, within an hour, the dishes were collected and brought to the family’s home. With tears in his eyes, the father accepted the generous delivery. When he lit the Shabbos candles and poured out his prayers for his wife’s recovery, he added another emotional request: “Master of the World, look at the tremendous chessed of your people and show us soon the candles of the rebuilding of Zion!”