Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Save This Baby's Life!

Yom revi'i, 26 Nisan 5775, Erev Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs Remembrance Day.

On this Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs Remembrance Day, consider helping to save the life of a Jewish baby as a fitting observation. Thank you, and may we share joyful news, for long, healthy, happy years.

​Hadas Osnat Chanukah, who is just shy of her second birthday, suffers from an exceedingly rare liver disease, one which has required her to undergo surgery at six weeks of age and regularly consume vast quantities of life-saving medications.

So far, this disease (bilary atresia)  has proven itself to be insurmountable, and a liver transplant operation will be required.

The healthy donor liver will be supplied by either Israel or Eliana, Hadas’ parents, in accordance with the doctors’ recommendations. Both parents have been found to be acceptable matches for this donation.

<<<<[Note details for donating in the photo.]

The Goal: To Raise 300,000 Euros (approx. $319,000/₪1,265,820) by the beginning of May 2015

It is imperative that surgery be performed by specialists with expertise in operations of this type.

The operation and its related foreign-travel expenses will require tremendous financial resources, in the realm of 300,000 Euros.

A committee has been established to oversee collection of these funds, in cooperation with the Foundation for the Development of Gush Etzion.

Several tens of thousands of Euros have been collected over the past two weeks, contributed by donors from Israel and abroad.

Do you know someone who perhaps can assist with funding? Please pass this on to them! Please speak to them to ask for help in saving this baby's life.

Contributions may be made directly to the Gush Etzion Foundation or in one of the other ways listed in the attachment titled the “Hadas Foundation.”

Checks should be made out to the “Foundation for the Development of Gush Etzion,” noting that this is “For the Keren Le’refuat Hadas.” 

The donor’s return address should be indicated as well, so a tax receipt can be sent.​

Tizku l'mitzvot! 

Adapted from a letter sent to Elazar residents by Rav Chaim Iram, Rav of Elazar, Gush Etzion

Sunday, April 12, 2015

God's Lost and Found

Yom rishon, 23 Nisan 5775, Pesach Isru Chag.

I imagine sometimes that at the End of Days, we get back all our lost or stolen stuff.

It gives me comfort, for the wedding band I didn't know how much I adored until it was lost somewhere in the big old house. It calms my rage when I think of the heirloom ring and necklace and single earring the drug addict stole in Germany when he was packing us out the last time. I like to imagine that when he sold my stuff for his drugs, it eventually found its way to long-lost European relatives I didn't even know existed, but who recognized it from family photos.

But better than that, I imagine us at the End of Days getting this cardboard box handed to us; and when we open it, every single thing we ever lost and missed, everything stolen, would be in that box. I'd see the ring and the necklace. I'd pair up that earring with its mate that I never had the heart to get rid of. All the other earrings I'd lost would be in there, too, plus the zipper decoration from Tzanchanim that my son gave me, more precious than a golden bracelet because it honored his IDF service. Every lost coin or piece of paper currency -- even money short-changed or cheated -- would be in that box.

Caryn's box would include the nearly valueless but irreplaceable charm bracelet stolen from her, one of the charms a gift from my own dear mother. Dovid's would have the favorite sefer he loaned out to the friend he couldn't remember, after the book went out of print. Your box would have everything in it you remember losing. All and any treasures lost or stolen from my friends and family would suddenly simply be there in their very own designated cardboard boxes.

And I'd breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that the tiny doll I stole as a child would find its way home, too, and the child I'd inadvertently hurt and had carried all those years in my guilt-pocket would be joyful again at its rediscovery.

In each box also would be a glowing silver star-ball, looking too hot to touch, but totally benign, for every lost thing we took the time to return to someone else during our lifetimes. The diamond ring I found in the restroom and turned in to the police instead of pocketing. The ruby earring we all looked for at the bus stop for the elderly lady, and could not find. She would get the earring back, in her cardboard box; and we would each receive the glowing silver star-ball of merit.

More glowing star-balls would be distributed. For the wallet full of money and ID someone returned to my son. For his wedding ring, lost among the shells on their tiyul to the sea near Ashkelon six months after their wedding, that his wife valiantly climbed yet another mountain in my esteem reassuring him it was all okay, even when that ring belonged to her father's family. Because in my imaginings, some soul found it, some poor fellow who couldn't afford a ring and had been asking God for a sign that he, unworthy he, should take the gamble and ask his lady love for her hand in marriage. And there he was, diving in that clear water, when among the shells gold glistened to him and beckoned and called his name, and a bat kol said "Marry her and make her happy. Don't worry so much about money." And instead of keeping the ring, he turned it in to the local police. They never could find the owner, and the ring stayed in their lost and found until the End of Days’ angels came to gather it among their booty for the box my son would receive.

And of course, the boy married the girl, and they still tell the story to their incredulous great-grandchildren, who have decided that Saba is a one of the hidden tzadikim...

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Weinreb shares that the Klausenberger Rebbe taught the value of using our ko’ach hadimyon (power of imagination) in such matters as truly feeling as if we had personally endured and escaped from the slavery of Egypt. Imagination has long been my weapon of choice against the depression of property loss, missed opportunities, infuriating life challenges.

There is much comfort in believing that all will one day be righted, and that there is no loss without a reason.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Duct Tape, Super Glue, and Other Medical Tools

Yom sheni, 17 Nisan 5775, Chol HaMoed Pesach.

Happily, the Leventhals never had a break to deal with.
I was chatting on Facebook with my friend and fellow "Boy Mom" Romi about childhood injuries and remedies for same. Romi had just had yet another of her crop of boys stitched back together again... only weeks after one was put into a cast, if I'm not mistaken. And so it goes.

Our conversation reminded me of all the times Avi and I relied on our good friends Dr. and Dr. Leventhal back in Baltimore to glue, staple, stitch and duct tape our boys back together. He was a urologist and she was a pediatrician -- just not our pediatrician. But they were fellow congregants, as well as being neighbors and friends. So very many interesting things happened to Eastman boys on Shabbat -- not an easy time to transport them to the long-suffering Dr. Ruth Ashman. The Doctors Leventhal were always just a short (and sometimes terrified) sprint away.

Let's see... There was the time Aryeh was playing Superman and "flew" into the corner of the metal bookcase with his head... the time Dovid's chin got a lovely cut and wouldn't stop bleeding... the time Aryeh fell 30 feet from a tree... I'm sure there were more such Shabbat events. The other boys seem to have had the sense to have their injuries on weekdays. And I know there were events they never shared with their mother, and "doctored" themselves.

This post isn't about anything in particular, except gratitude to our dear physician friends, gratitude to God that my kids lived through their childhoods, and respect for some of the common tools of the construction worker's trade.

Important tools for every mother-of-boys medicine chest. To be used under the supervision of a competent medical expert. (That was for you, Dr. David Zlotnick, who has been there for our boys since aliya.)
As I always say, "Children's main job is to terrify us from before they're born until we die. Everything else is frosting." Refua shelaima, Dovid and to any and all injured Sussman lads, and to all y'all other kids I didn't mention in this post. Everybody else -- stay healthy. I'm getting too old for this!