Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Adar II 5763 - March 5, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Ezer Mizion and Yad Sarah were Hard at Work in Yerushalayim's Snowstorm
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

The largest snowstorm in Jerusalem in 50 years blanketed the city with a foot of snow and shut it down for two days. While children and their parents enjoyed an unexpected vacation, Ezer Mizion and Yad Sarah staff and volunteers worked round the clock to help the sick, the handicapped and the elderly -- and to make weddings happen on schedule.

Ambulances worked nonstop last Tuesday and Wednesday, shuttling people to and from hospitals, delivering food and other necessities to the homebound, and providing a host of services to people in need.

"The phones did not stop ringing the past few days," says Meirav, coordinator of Ezer Mizion's volunteer drivers. "There were people who needed injections urgently, but could not get to medical clinics. We arranged for nurses in their neighborhoods to walk to their houses to give the injections.

"Some people were stuck without heat. Others needed groceries. There were those who called to ask us to clear the snow in front of their houses. So our volunteers delivered heaters, shopped for groceries, and shoveled snow."

A middle-aged woman suffering from cancer contacted Ezer Mizion and asked for food. She was in an isolation unit at a convalescent home in Rechavia, and neither her daughter nor her regular caregiver could bring her the soft food she needed. This woman was one of the hundreds of people who received Ezer Mizion meals for a few days.

On Tuesday, Ezer Mizion got a call from the head of the maternity department of one of Jerusalem's largest hospitals. "We are turning away patients coming to give birth," he said. "Can you please help us take mothers and babies home to make place for the new patients?"

In addition to shuttling people to and from hospitals, Ezer Mizion ambulances provided another important service. They brought brides, grooms and their families to wedding halls, allowing them to celebrate their special day properly. An ambulance also brought an elderly man in a wheelchair to his grandson's bris. The man had come from the United States to act as sandek at the bris, but had no way of getting there.

"We gave priority to the sick and handicapped," says Rivi Kossover, assistant director of Ezer Mizion's Jerusalem branch. "Oncology and dialysis patients were the top of the list for transportation. For these people, postponing treatment could be life-threatening. We also tried to accommodate women in the process of fertility treatments. If these difficult and expensive treatments are interrupted, their success is jeopardized."

"I want to thank our staff and volunteers for their heroic performance over the past few days," says Rabbi Avigdor Quinn, Jerusalem branch director. "Their dedication ensured that the snowstorm did not become a threat to people's lives."

Yad Sarah volunteers also manned 20 multipurpose vehicles around the clock for three days. Altogether Yad Sarah assisted more than 1,000 people.

Yad Sarah's emergency alarm center called up additional volunteers to handle the flood of calls needing immediate assistance. The alarm center alerted doctors and ambulances, helped in the gathering of food and essential medical supplies, as well as contacted the utility companies to provide urgent services and repairs where needed.

All help was provided free of charge. All vehicles were donated. For more details about Yad Sarah's efforts, contact David Rothner, Yad Sarah's spokesman, at 972-02-644-4430 or 972-53-606-326.

Yad Sarah saves the Israeli economy $300 million a year and many thousands of its citizens rivers of tears by lending out medical equipment, driving the disabled people, providing geriatric dentistry, advising about home care equipment, supplying legal aid, maximizing the potential of special- needs children, meals on wheels and much more. All these services are free or at a nominal fee for everyone in need, Jewish, Muslim, Christian or otherwise. Yad Sarah's 6,000 Jewish and Arab volunteers operate at 97 branches throughout Israel. Yad Sarah's founder and chairman Rabbi Uri Lupolianski was recently appointed acting mayor of Jerusalem.


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