I traveled to Yad Sarah's branches in Ashkelon and in Ashdod. Near noon, volunteers in Ashkelon reviewed their shift's work. "It was a relatively quiet day," stated branch director Miri Hacker.
The relative quiet referred to the number of applicants, not the number of alerts. Sirens sounded three times during their shift, and it would seem some people preferred to postpone visiting the branch. The branch is operating from a public shelter, so anyone entering is protected. The problem is travelling to and from the building.
And yet, Miri and the other volunteers, Edna Naor and Esti Bublil were not unoccupied. Yisrael Hess, a devoted husband, came to request the loan of a wheelchair with a seating cushion.
"My wife is not mobile. When we hear a siren we go into the stairwell. We live on the fourth floor of a seven-storey building, so that if a missile hits the building, it should stop before it gets to us," he explained the theory regarding his personal safety.
Chaim Dahan came to the branch to return the breast pump which he had borrowed for his daughter. According to the request form, the pump had been loaned in October, nine months earlier.
"You have had the pump for a long time. Couldn't you have waited a few more days for the situation to improve?" I asked him. "I came last week when the branch was closed," he excused himself. He left the deposit as a donation. "I have been through wars and am not afraid," he explained. "My admiration goes to the volunteers who come to work," he said, and added that this was his second granddaughter. "For my first granddaughter I also borrowed a crib."
Shmaryah Moshe is a resident of Ashkelon, where he arrived 60 years ago directly from Libya to the Aleph immigrant tent camp. "I was a curious kid. There was a cottage which had belonged to the military government. I went in and found it empty, so I called my father and told him we had a place to live… I came to Yad Sarah because my son was playing soccer and he twisted his kneecap. He needs crutches."
He said of the siren alerts: "Ashkelon residents are very obedient. Whenever there is an alarm while I am on the road, I leave the car, run for cover and lower my head."
Yoske Lauf, a Yad Sarah volunteer for five years, arrived at the branch. He is responsible for keeping the medical equipment in working order, and also for the emergency call button system. He came in a happy mood. This, because he had gotten a discount on some piece of equipment needed by the branch, when he had explained that it was for use at Yad Sarah.
"I am not afraid. I have a protected room but haven't used it." He said of volunteerism at Yad Sarah, "Our services are vital; Lopolianski has accomplished something tremendous. People come here and get equipment at zero cost, finding solutions to their problems."
Between clients Miri Hacker showed us the partition which they had built between the branch and the front area of the public shelter. Metal panels move on a track, and there is a metal door with a multi-bolt lock. Her husband had also built wooden guards to cover the panel track, which is next to the chairs occupied by clients when the branch is open. The panels are secured when the branch is closed, to protect the equipment and the computers, since the public shelter is open 24 hours a day.
Another client came to take a crib for a new baby, and another came to get an oxygen tank to replace the one that had been stolen along with his car. "Fortunately the car was found together with all the medical equipment, but that is now legal evidence. It will take a few days until it's returned to me, so I've come here again," he explained.
Two sisters-in-law arrived at the branch to obtain a walker for their mother and mother-in-law. "She's only 74 but she is a Parkinson patient. The shelter in her house is close, but she does not have enough time to get there. It takes her time to get up. The walker will allow her to get to the shelter more quickly," one of them said. They did not leave until they got detailed instructions on how to lengthen the walker's legs and how to fold it up.
Keren, in the late stages of her pregnancy, arrived ten minutes after one of the alerts. She had previously gotten to the parking lot, heard the siren, gone home, and set out to return to the branch a few minutes later. She had come to get a Tans button.
"Why the urgency to come today?" I asked her.
"I live nearby and really was afraid to come. But now I'm here. The pain and the need for the device overcame the fear. I called to make sure the branch was open. But I had guessed that it was. It's like Magen David Adom… and it's in a protected place."
I left the Ashkelon branch housed in the shelter and headed toward the Ashdod branch. They too operate from inside a public shelter. My GPS, my Waze, reported that I would arrive at my destination in 24 minutes. It did not take into account the two siren soundings on the way, during which I was obliged to stop and find cover.
I arrived exactly as the branch was closing. Monday is the only weekday it is not open continually until 7P.M. I just had time to photograph a girl who had broken her leg and entered her car with a walker.
"I didn't want crutches," she said. Chana Gontov, branch director, was going nowhere. "The branch is open all the time and today I am staying during the afternoon break," she declared. She would also stay for the later shift, until 7P.M. A half hour later, ------ joined her, arriving with Mica, a very cute dog who is congenial and never barks. I never knew there were such dogs.
The branch was officially closed but the door was open, and so people came to borrow equipment. Gindy Veyona came for a walker and a stick, which he would need after his knee surgery scheduled two days hence.
"We heard there was an alert not far from our house, but we came, from outside the city. We were told to report for the surgery with a walker," Gindy explained.
I set out to meet a vehicle servicing home hospitalization. The team were equipping a woman with an electric bed. She resides in a public housing apartment not far from the branch.
It was immediately evident that Gavriel Ochana and Meir Ezra are professionals, well- practiced in their work. They knew exactly which entrance to use in a long block of buildings. The apartment is very old and crowded. The wide mattresses on which the patient had been sleeping were moved to the kitchen. Fortunately the apartment is on the first floor, unlike the one to which Gavriel had delivered the day before. That was on the fourth floor, with no elevator… Within a quarter of an hour the bed was assembled and the granddaughter instructed in its use.
I hurried to join Moti Amir, driver of the nichonit van, who was going to collect a wheelchair-bound young woman. Moti lives on Mitnadvim (Volunteers) Street in the city. How symbolic!
He had come to Ashdod many years ago when he had finished his studies, and worked as a community center director. Since he retired he has been working for his wife, as he described it, and on Mondays volunteering at Yad Sarah as a driver and a local activity coordinator.
We drove to "Lilach," a day center for seriously disabled young people. We collected Adi and drove to her home. On the way we passed the place where the missile had fallen in the early afternoon. A vehicle covered with soot, shattered windows, broken flagstones, and holes in the adjacent cement wall. There are a kindergarten and a synagogue nearby. Moti, too, lives close by.
Gila, Adi's mother, was waiting at the entrance to the building. "The Ashdod municipality is supposed to provide transportation, but these days they haven't been coming, so Yad Sarah helps us. I have full confidence in the Yad Sarah drivers. The vans are air-conditioned and the service is excellent," were her words of praise. She recounted that 23-year-old Adi had been born as a normal child, but when she was little she nearly drowned in the pool. "G-d has struck us but He also gives us the strength to cope," she said.
On dealing with the missiles, she said," I go into the reinforced safe room. Adi has a bed there. That's all we can do." Before we left she said she would come to volunteer at Yad Sarah when she had the time.
I returned to the branch, housed at the shelter. The volunteers arrived one by one for the afternoon-evening shift. They were Kalri Oxler ("I'm not afraid to come"); Shoshana Kerner ("Of course I'll come for my shift") with her husband Yossi who is also a volunteer, installing emergency call buttons; Ella Rosenberg; and veteran volunteer Yitschak Avrahami.
Yitschak told us that they had called his wife from the emergency call button center in Jerusalem, asking how she was doing. A group of volunteers had come to the center, and together with the regular telephone receptionists, had called hundreds of subscribers to ascertain their welfare. Mrs. Avrahami had been among those they called.
Little by little the clients too arrived. A couple with two children came to return a wheelchair. A young man full of tattoos, in a phosphorescent orange undershirt, came to see about a bathing seat.
He left as quickly as he came. A resident of Gan Yavne came to borrow crutches for his daughter. "She works in Jerusalem, and fell into a dark pit yesterday. I insisted that she come home," he told us.
Many clients came and went all through the shift, including an officer from Kiryat Shmona who came to the south, in order to operate an Iron Dome together with his fellows from their division. Because of the current situation he did not approach the army but came to Yad Sarah. He had a fracture which interfered with his walking, and needed a pair of crutches. He was happy to learn that he could return them to the Kiryat Shmona branch near his home.
After a few hours had passed I understood the pattern of activity: The volunteers were continuing their routine and not allowing Hamas to change their agenda. Their victory was in continued service to the many applicants, whose distress did not allow postponement; they were in immediate need of Yad Sarah's assistance.
I had bidden farewell to the volunteers and was about to leave when an elderly couple arrived. The woman had trouble walking and was assisted by a cane. They were breathing heavily and I offered them a place to sit and some water. I asked them what device they required; how they could be assisted. The woman related that she needed a device to help her change the tiny battery in her hearing aid. I offered her my help, but after several minutes of searching through her bag she said that she had forgotten the hearing aid at home. "OK," I told her. "You have come to Yad Sarah, a safe place. Rest here until you want to continue on home…"
Protective Edge”: Our hearts are with the South
Yad Sarah responds to the emergency support of the crews and managers who are exposed to the bombardments and rockets
Relations between Jews and Arabs are more tense throughout the country, the rockets reach the lowlands, and threaten also the Jerusalem area – but the south is feeling the brunt of the rockets more than other areas. Hamas has escalated their attacks on Netivot, Shderot, Ashkelon, and Be’er Sheva in their aims at the civil
population. With the onset of Operation Protective Edge Yad Sarah has responded accordingly with their help. The head of the Be’er Sheva branch, Michael Benson, said, “except for our Shikumon all our varied services function as usual. We have been instructed that when schools are closed the Shikumon too is not active. We have protected areas and our volunteers all operate as usual. The loan system and workshops all operate as usual. All in all – we are coping. I would like to express our appreciation to the heads of the Jerusalem branch who have contacted us and expressed their concern and in inquired about our welfare. All of us were all very touched. We appreciate you, and are grateful of your thinking of us.”
LITTLE STORY ON A LITTLE TOURIST - AND FOR HER IT WAS BIG (TIME IN ISRAEL)
Recently, the Tourism Desk at Yad Sarah received this request from a family coming from England that was planning to stay at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Tel Aviv.
The family consists of the parents, two children and an eight-year old daughter who suffers from significant limitation of her ability to move and function normally. According to the mother, this daughter requires special equipment. The request was accompanied by a number of photographs of the equipment used in their home. Were we able to meet the needs of this family?
This request was answered with a variety of medical and rehabilitation devices and suitable transportation. The team at Yad Sarah found all the accessories required to enable the hotel room to be transformed into a mini-hospital. This included a hospital bed, a special chair, a lever to lift the child from the bed to an armchair, and suitable transportation service. This enabled the entire family to enjoy the visit to Israel.
Nadia Alalu of the Public Relations Department notes that “home hospitalization is Yad Sarah’s answer to the needs of many Israelis who wish to reduce time spent in hospitals. Additionally, when a tourist with special needs arrives in Israel and requires unique assistance, we make every effort to provide a suitable answer that enables both the individual and the family to have an enjoyable stay in Israel.”
Yad Sarah to make military cemeteries accessible to
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH- The Jerusalem Post
Nechonit vans will take mourners to the graves at these military cemeteries: Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, Kiryat Shaul in Tel Aviv; Haifa and Beersheba.more
A painful shared journey to the past
Whatdo survivors experience when they tell their stories within the framework of the Life Story Project of the Home Services Department of Yad Sarah?How do the volunteers who help record the stories feel?During the week of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yad Sarah's volunteer writer, Ora Malul shared impressions of the shared journey to the past, tales of terror and deliverance.
"The Life Story Project was basically founded for Holocaust survivors to commemorate their stories," says Varda Bar - On, who manages the Life Story Project in Jerusalem. Rivka Avihayil, who had managed the unit for many years, was quoted in the Ynet website's local news in these words: "As a Holocaust survivor, I felt I had a purpose in life. I wanted people like me, who were in hiding during World War II, to tell their story. Someone had to tell the story of the victims and survivors and to mention the names of those lost, both for their families and for the history of the Jewish people." (Jerusalem, MyNet, 25.2.10).
Today the unit does not focus solely on Holocaust survivors, but they are always the first priority. Some of the volunteers only want to devote their time to listening to survivors. One of them, a man who managed to escape in time and so did not experience the Holocaust firsthand, explains that in this way he feels he fulfills a moral obligation to the survivors.
What about the Holocaust survivors themselves?
The survivors, just like all sections of society, are not a monolithic group. Some of the survivors have felt some relief when they could tell their story; it was good for them to have someone who would listen. "People who have never spoken of their experiences before," says Varda, "now that they've reached ninety, feel a strong urge to open things up as quickly as possible."
Others prefer to continue locking everything inside. My friend, who is the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, told me something of what her mother has gone through. At the age of fifteen, she was thrown into a labor camp on the coast of the North Sea in northern Germany , where she was forced to carry heavy bags of cement in the freezing cold; she tucked empty cement bags tuck under her striped prisoner's uniform to keep warm . On the eve of liberation, she participated in the infamous Death March. Her sister survived the march only to be killed at the end of the march by a Russian soldier. "Mother refuses to reveal her story," says my friend. "She claims that this is the only way she can keep her sanity."
Varda says that now she is working on the story of an optimistic, lively elderly woman, who went through four camps, however her experience of the Holocaust is told in only in ten lines of her book. "I do not want to remember about Auschwitz," she says. "My children do not need to know what happened there and what I went through."
However, there are also survivors who insist on solely telling their experiences from the Holocaust. For example, one of them devoted his entire story to how his mother had saved him. Another survivor was moved to tears when his book came out, happy that he could finally tell his story.
Varda told me about a woman who had experienced the horrors of the Holocaust in France. Writing the story had taken a long time, more than a hundred pages had been written and before it came to an end, the woman suffered a serious emotional crisis. It turned out that the story returned her to a difficult period in her life and caused severe depression. Another survivor wanted to record a difficult incident that had happened to her in Yugoslavia when she was eight years old. She remembered details and was pleased with the result, but had to admit that in retrospect, "documentation did not do her good."
Chava Chazan a Life Story volunteer at Yad Sarah has heard five stories from Holocaust survivors so far. The survivors all spoke about the Holocaust as only one chapter in their lives as a whole, but a singular and much more difficult chapter than the others – one which left a permanent imprint on their lives. In addition, the Holocaust is also present in the lives of those who managed to escape from Europe and were saved.
I asked Chava how those Holocaust survivors felt once the stories were published. "Usually the survivors had a feeling of closure after telling their stories. It was important for them to bring their experiences to the attention of future generations," she replied. "Just telling their story brings the survivors some measure of relief on one hand, but on the other hand opens up old wounds."
Yad Sarah requests return of unused medical equipment in time for Passover
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
The Jerusalem Post
Yad Sarah, a nationwide voluntary organization that lends out medical equipment and provides services for the sick, lonely and elderly, asked on Monday for the public to return all unused equipment before Passover.
“We are interested in lending the necessary equipment to everyone who needs it to celebrate the Passover Seder with their families,” the Jerusalem- based organization explained.(more)
Writer Sarah Shapiro has donated NIS 97,000 to Yad Sarah
Yad Sarah has received an unusual donation: Writer Sarah Shapiro has donated NIS 97,000 to Yad Sarah, part of the sum she won from writer Naomi Regan in a widely publicized plagiarism suit when the District Court ruled that Regan had plagiarized portions of a book by Shapiro.
As recalled, the Supreme Court in November announced that the two litigants had accepted the court’s recommendation for a peaceful settlement of the dispute.In the settlement agreement, Ms. Shapiro undertook to donate to charity the sum of NIS 97,000 that she received as compensation from Ms. Regan. Ms. Shapiro decided to donate the entire sum to Yad Sarah for the purchase of medical equipment that will help people to be discharged from hospitals and recover at home.
In a meeting with Yad Sarah Founder and President Uri Lupolianski Ms. Shapiro related that she had been familiar with Yad Sarah’s work for many years.“My family has been helped by Yad Sarah.I identify deeply with the Yad Sarah vision.Your work is so important and provides quick help to so many people.I am certain that with this donation you will be able to help many more people who need medical equipment,” she said.
Ms. Sepideh Yomtov, Director of Yad Sarah’s Public Relations Division, thanked Ms. Shapiro for her important contribution that will go towards medical equipment to enable patients to be released from hospitals and go home to recuperate there, in the framework of Yad Sarah’s “Housepital” service.
Yad Sarah launches campaign to implement ‘home hospital’ program
THE JERUSALEM POST REPORTS -
Voluntary organization has expanded its medical-equipment loan service with the purchase of NIS 17 million worth of home equipment.
BY Judy Siegel-Itzkovich
The voluntary organization Yad Sarah has expanded its medical-equipment loan service with the purchase of NIS 17 million worth of home-hospitalization equipment – including beds, nursing chairs, oxygen distillers and cranes to lift patients out of beds – to help 4,000 patients stay at home instead of being hospitalized.
In addition, Yad Sarah president (and founder) Uri Lupolianski announced at a Monday press conference in its Jerusalem headquarters that telemedicine will be used to connect medical staffers in hospitals to patients and their caregivers at home. This, he said, will create a “home hospital” larger than any medical center in the country. Called “HousePital,” the program is aimed at reducing hospital stays so that recovery and rehabilitation can be shortened and in some cases, made unnecessary.
But when interviewed, Lupolianski conceded that no formal talks have been held on the subject with the Health Ministry, the four public health funds or hospitals.
In addition, people who live in the periphery will be less likely to benefit from such services, as there are no hospitals nearby that could send staffers quickly or be able to bring in emergencies, without putting them through a long ambulance ride.
Lupolianski told The Jerusalem Post that due to a major turnover of senior officials in the Health Ministry and health funds in recent months, as well as the urgent polio-vaccination campaign, there has been no opportunity yet to discuss HousePital.
The former mayor, who established the organization 36 years ago by lending nebulizers to neighbors whose children suffered from croup and would otherwise have to be hospitalized, said that the hospitalization crisis is worsening every year, and thousands of patients die annually from nosocomial (in-hospital) infections. “Hospitalization units at home allow hospitalization in a healthy and supportive environment.
Three years ago, we launched the purchase of such units, and now I can announce that we have completed the acquisition of over 4,000.”
Yad Sarah already has seven vans that can transfer hospital equipment to patients’ homes, he said. Some 7,000 patients used the service last year. The equipment is stored in Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheba and Karmiel and can be moved anywhere.
The whole world is struggling with a shortage of beds and hospitalization funding, but Israel – due to its high level of health care and computerization and relatively short distances – has an advantage over other countries, he said.
A senior expert in hospital administration who preferred to remain anonymous told the Post that he was unaware of any discussions of home hospitalization by the ministry or the health funds, even though “in principle it’s an excellent idea.
But it must be economically viable [for the health funds].
If patients are sent home early for home care, their beds will be filled by other patients and more money will be spent. Only if some hospital departments are closed and medical staffers transferred to home care will it be an economical project.”
Other hospitalization experts noted that patients in the center of the country will benefit the most as hospitals are nearby, but when they are far away and do not have adequate support staff for the units, it will be problematic.
Another problem, they said, is that if family members who work (and don’t have medical expertise) are unable to remain with the patient at home, they will have to be replaced by large numbers of trained and adequately prepared caregivers.
A whole coordinated system has to be put into place to make hospitalization at home safe and effective.
The project was endorsed by Dr. Eyran Halpern, director- general of the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, who said at the press conference that Israel’s health system was effective and good despite inadequate resources, but that it must find solutions to the increasing crowding in public hospitals.
The Yad Sarah president said it envisions the connection of homes with telemedicine equipment that can monitor patients’ blood pressure, temperature, sugar level and other information and that hospital call centers will be able to take action. If a patient has already been hospitalized in a department, if he needs to be re-hospitalized, he would not be taken to an emergency department that knows nothing of him but directly to the medical team that previously treated him, said Lupolianski.
He called on the leaders of the health system, including the health minister, hospital directors-general and health fund officials to work together and reach an agreement to institute a large HousePital system together with Yad Sarah.
The event was also attended by former TV star Eyal Peled, who for years hosted the TV show World Tour and suffered a stroke at a young age – five years ago – and is disabled. He volunteered to star in a short video to promote fundraising for Yad Sarah’s HousePital Project.
Dr. Marjorie Kenyon – Yad Sarah’s oldest volunteer – says “It’s Time”
In the 100th year of her life and after nine years of volunteering at Yad Sarah, Dr. Marjorie Kenyon has decided that the time has come to retire from her voluntary work at the organization.“I’m winding up an era only because I believe there is less need for my service,” says the elderly pediatrician and family physician, but immediately adds, “I’m not completely leaving, I’ll continue to help anyone who needs me.”
Beginning in 2008 Dr. Kenyon has been reporting for duty once a week in the small offices of Da’at, Yad Sarah’s medical information center at Yad Sarah House in Jerusalem.“My work has been to search and summarize diseases, medications, treatments and medical research on the internet,” she explains about her job in the service that supplies answers to questions sent by patients from around the world requesting information about diseases, genetic problems, medications, treatments and organ transplants.“This is an important service that really helps people, and so it gave me great satisfaction.”
Dr. Kenyon’s long period of voluntary service is not unusual at Yad Sarah, where she has been one of some 6,000 volunteers.Volunteering is a “way of life” for her, as she puts it.When she retired from her medical career 30 years ago and came to live in Israel, she helped (as a volunteer) to establish the Women’s Health Center in Jerusalem, took care of women at the Tipat Halav public health stations, and simultaneously wandered among various medical clinics all around Jerusalem with the aim of raising women’s awareness of their bodies and of periodic checkups they should have.“Ever since I became a doctor it has been important to me to help sick people, and so the continuation into volunteering was natural for me,” she explains.
She was born in London in 1914, “just months before the start of the First World War,” and got her MD in 1936 “before the invention of antibiotics” as she always points out.She worked as a physician in London and Manchester during World War Two: “The Germans were bombarding regularly and there were blackouts. The times were hard but the people were strong,” she recalls.
She immigrated to Israel in 1987 and continued volunteering in the field of medicine.Dr. Kenyon has two children, seven grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.“I always tell them that you must try to give, because that is what gives meaning to life,” she concludes.
photo by Sasson Tiram
Rina Brings Creativity to the Yad Sarah Rehabilitation Center
Yad Sarah website volunteer, Eli Cohen, invites us to meet Rina Kramer, who presides over the artistic activities in the Beit Yad Sarah Rehabilitation Center. The patients choose their craft - sculpture, painting, weaving, jewelry, or embroidery -- Rina provides skill and guidance.
When Rina Kramer retired after years of creativity as an art teacher at the School for the Deaf, she had no intention of stopping her work for a moment. She wished to continue sharing her knowledge, in an effort to improve the quality of life for those with difficulty in functioning.
Every Thursday, Rina comes to the Yad Sarah Rehabilitation Center in Jerusalem, along with a large group of patients who have become her loyal and very satisfied students. She runs craft and creative activities for the art class.
Together with a team of volunteers to aid her, Rina guides the patients in a variety of creative activities: jewelry, embroidery, weaving, and polymer clay sculpture.
Rina first visited the Rehabilitation Center in Yad Sarah after a chance meeting with Irit Nahaloni, Rehabilitation Center Director, at a mutual event. Irit told Rina about the need for an art teacher at the Rehabilitation Center. Rina did not hesitate for a moment – and quickly arrived.
For the past eleven years, Rina has been with us at the Rehabilitation Center. She comes happily and returns home with the joy and satisfaction of having empowered her patients.
Rina says that the choice of the creative activity is up to the patient. Once the decision has been made, the patient receives all the materials and tools he or she needs to complete the project and this is determined according to the individual ability level.
Her guidance does not end there. Rina and her volunteers constantly move between the creative participants, supporting them with a good word, offering professional advice, and doing everything they can to ensure that the finished product will be worthy of bringing pride to its creator.
We all wish dear Rina Kramer many more wonderful years of enriching the Rehabilitation Center with the joy of artistic creation – under her skilled guidance.
For Shaul – everyone is VIP
Namely Very Important People. Shaul likes to help and drives people – kindly and safely * Eli Cohen – reporter of Yad Sarah – is reporting from a car, which is practically a limousine.
Shaul Pasternack has been sitting behind the wheel of Yad Sarah's car for 21 years, kindly and safely driving people in need to their destination.
Shaul used to work for the Ministry of Education before he retired. He taught Judaism for 35 years. He was always able to find one day in a week to volunteer as a driver, and he obviously volunteered even more after his retirement.
He has become very experienced in driving low functioning people from all ages and all levels, even very important people. One drive he remembers very clearly – is the day he drove the late President Ezer Weizman from Meir Hospital to his house in Caesarea.
But you don't have to be a president, to be driven by Shaul like a king or a queen. When Shaul assists people to get out of the car and move on a wheelchair to their destination, he does that with a smile on his face and with honest kindness, so that everyone is a king or a queen.
When Shaul is not driving, he takes care of the car in the parking lot of the rehabilitation centre: he oils the grooves and makes sure that the hydraulic lift is in perfect order.
I wish for shaul many more years of driving with good health and joy. I am allowing myself to thank Shaul on behalf of all his passengers, and also on behalf of Margalit Cohen, who is in the photo.
For Shaul – we are all VIP, celebrities, and first of all – human beings whom he likes to serve so well.
With Yad Sarah all the way to the polling place
When there is a celebration of democracy – the elderly did not give up on their right to vote * Haim Shibi, director of communications at Yad Sarah, with the driver of the specially equipped van, Eyal Melamed, who drove wheelchair-bound disabled persons to the polling place * Photograph: After voting
“The Yad Sarah Organization helps disabled persons reach the polling place. Disabled people confined to wheelchairs who need a ride to the polling places can call telephone 1-800-700-501. The ride is subsidized by the organization, and costs NIS25.”
The elderly Mazal Siboni sat in her wheelchair at the entrance of the polling place in the Ahuzat Beit Hakerem assisted-living residence in Ramat Beit Hakerem when IDF Radio broadcast the announcement again. She was already there, waiting for her turn to vote, after being brought to the polling place by the specially equipped van of Yad Sarah.
For a minute it seemed as if she had fallen into a deep sleep in her chair – until she suddenly raised her head and smiled a very mischievous and alert smile that would not have shamed a 16-year-old girl: “I shouldn’t vote? G-d forbid! It is my right to vote.”
The van driver, Eyal Melamed, waited patiently for her to finish voting at the polling place that was packed with the elderly, most of them in wheelchairs and some of them using walkers.
After that, he wheeled Mazal Sibuni delicately and with great care through the crowded hallways of the senior-citizen residence back to the van that was parked close to the polling place – and helped her board the vehicle. Mazal did not stop smiling: “I voted. Of course I voted. Thank you for bringing me here.”
Noon. at the integrated telephone service center of Yad Sarah, the incoming phone calls reached the number 259. Yisrael Ohayon, Hezi Yitzhaki, and the other operators did their best to keep up with the high volume of calls.
The staff demonstrated quiet efficiency in answering the incoming calls – and throughout all stages of the transport to the polling place.
Heavy Snow in Jerusalem? Jacques Meir, an 89-year-old Yad Sarah volunteer who lends out medical equipment, showed up for duty as usual.
Through the cre during the holiday of lights, each child in Beit Helena becomes a hero. Jeannie Gadish Gadish, the manager of the playground, gave us an enlightened report.
Through the active and special enforcing way of the playground,The playground works to enforce special needs children and to strengthen family ties by creating mutual experience though combined activity. The Hanukkah party at Beit Helena playground included giving each child a golden shield inscribed with the statement "I am a hero of Beit Helena playground".
In the playground, like any playground, there was a creative activity: the children created a reflection of a candle, while the parents wrote a story about freedom and independence requested by their child, and the candles were then decorated together.
The works of art were later shown to the audience, while the stories written were read to great applause.
This however did not seal the fun of the event.
Gadish: "We later went to the motor room for games with light. Each child covered 4 fingers of their hand with finger lamps. The light they created in the darkness excited them tremendously. They were asked to light a different colored lamp each time and learned how the light grows using distance. We created circles and tried to capture each others light. We were all driven into the game together. We finished with the words: "Everyone is a small light, but together we are a mighty light".
War in the South: Yad Sarah Branches Act to give More
Yad Sarah set up a special center to deal with requests for help from residents of the south and has boosted its medical equipment lending centers in Beersheba, Dimona, Yevul, Nehora, Arad, Kiryat Gat and Kiryat Malachi. Its branches in Netivot and Sderot are temporarily closed because they are not fortified. Yad Sarah will respond at its number *6444.
It is almost a tradition built into the culture of the organization: Yad Sarah is used toadjust its services to the war situation in cities and settlements in the line of fire.
Despite difficult conditions, volunteers have decided to continue activities in these branches.
TELEPHONE SUPPORT AND SOLIDARITY
Our Emergency Center volunteers headed by Arie Kahan and Shirin Malol in Jerusalem are contacting subscribers in the south to inquireabout their health and to assure them that people are available to help them in emergencies. Volunteers also inform them of emergency procedures. . photo above- Aviahi Amosi head of Shderot branch
At the same time, Yad Sarah volunteers in the North and Center of the country are contacting volunteers in the South to offer support, help and hospitality. Similar solidarity was demonstrated during each and every war – north and south- and significantly raised the morale of the Yad Sarah volunteers under fire.
Branches and Services manager Moshe Cohen follows the tradition of pro active response to the situation:
* To work in coordination with the Home Front Command, and the local social services with the aim of continuing to offer Yad Sarah's services to all the people in the South using our main branch in Be'er Sheva as headquarters. and to help them as much as possible.
* To strengthen the people in the South in general, and the volunteers of Yad Sarah in particular, who continue to serve the citizens despite the difficult situation.
* To expandservices wherever we can, at the request of the people calling for help. the Home Front Command and the Social Services Departments .
.OUR ON LINE NEWSPAPER- HERE
Friends of Yad Sarah: Inside Yad Sarah - Fall 2012
My brethren of Yad Sarah’s family, and Yad Sarah’s loyal friends,
For over 20 years, and even after reaching 90, volunteer Haim Fischer used to arrive to the Electro Mechanical Repairs center at Yad Sarah, situated in Yad Sarah’s house in Jerusalem, and repair medical rehabilitative equipment.
He did that silently, with excellent accuracy, and minded every little detail in his work. His way of life enchanted the other volunteers, even those who came from as far as Scandinavia.
Haim r.i.p. was one of thousands of volunteers, which enabled Yad Sarah to provide immediate and essential assistance to some half a million Israelis every year, in around 100 branches of Yad Sarah, distributed all over Israel.
When we do the aftermath of the ending year, we go back to that silent, caring, humanitarian efficiency.
This is the essence of existence of the Jewish nation: Israelis are compassionate, modest and full of charity. This is also the key to grow bigger, and the key to the constant trust which Yad Sarah gains from the public, as yearly surveys show.
We are ever ready to do our work silently, without loud declarations. Without over bureaucracy imposed on the person who is in need, without demanding piles of documents to be presented, and without medical qualify-committees.
We are here all year round to do our work in a way that a poor man will get the same treatment as a rich man. A man who is in need, and his family, will be immediately attended and furnished with the right rehabilitative equipment. This equipment will be chosen with the best possible professional knowledge. We will arrive to the home-restricted people, if they are unable to arrive to us. We will come to make them happy. to tell the story of their lives.
Yes, we upgrade our technological means every year. We have renewed our distress-call-centre, in a way that enables thousands of elderly and sick people to connect to a team which will listen to them and help them, from anywhere, at any time – always connected.
But the key to success, and to reliable bounding with the entire Israeli community has been, and still is, the same vision which we turn to reality every year, with the help of dedicated volunteers and workers: to become a source of warmness and compassion, in order to better and upgrade the lives of people with disabilities.
On behalf of the family of Yad Sarah, and my self – to the growing community of Yad Sarah’s friends in Israel and around the world –
best wishes for a year of health, peace and unity.
May god bless you.
Founder and President
BALTIMORE COMMUNITY LEADERS LAUD YAD SARAH
By Jack Katzenell
Seven senior executives of the Baltimore Jewish community organization CHAI, who visited Israel this week, were lavish in their praise for the activities of Yad Sarah, Israel's largest volunteer organization.
In a conducted tour of Yad Sarah's central facility in Jerusalem, the visitors expressed astonishment at the scale of the aid provided to the sick and the elderly, the bewildering variety of the services, equipment and solutions available, and Yad Sarah's unsurpassed success in recruiting volunteers.
Yad Sarah is Israel's largest volunteer organization, helping approximately half a million people each year, Jews and non-Jews. It has over 100 branches throughout the country, within reach of virtually everyone. Over 6,000 volunteers, ranging from ambulance drivers, artisans and cooks to highly trained medical specialists, give their time to the patients. Every second family in Israel has been helped by Yad Sarah.
With an annual budget of 100 million shekels, of which 97 percent is funded by donations from the public, Yad Sarah saves the government over 400 million dollars annually in hospitalization costs.
Yad Sarah is the first Israeli Jewish organizations to be recognized by the United Nations as a consulting organization to the UN Economic and Social Council, and as Yad Sarah's Orly Dreman told the Baltimore guests: "The UN does not usually honor Israeli organizations."
CHAI executive Joann Levy said she was surprised to see at Yad Sarah that "Israel is a country that embraces volunteering as part of its culture. That is not something we do well in the United States. In this country volunteering is almost like breathing."
Arieh Goetz, who is in charge of neighborhood investment and services to the elderly provided by CHAI in Baltimore, said he was very impressed by the respect for the elderly which he had seen at Yad Sarah.
"In the United States people tend to be more stand-offish," he said. "You get old and you're no longer part of the active society. Here at Yad Sarah we saw more care and compassion. But we also do a lot of work with the elderly, and that ties CHAI to Yad Sarah."
Molly Amsteris the director of voluntary services at CHAI, with over 800 volunteers every year, helping the poor and the elderly in Baltimore to repair their homes, making them more energy-efficient, so that they can save money on their utility bills.
Nevertheless, she was amazed at how Yad Sarah utilizes volunteers. "It's astounding, the number, the scale, the range of activities the volunteers are performing and the services they are providing. A lot of it is about reciprocity - motivating people who have received services to put something back into the community. Yad Sarah does this very well, so maybe we could follow its lead."
Ellen Jarett,who works with Continuing Care Retirement Communities said she admires that way in which Yad Sarah protects the patient from bureaurocracy and unnecessary trouble.
"In Maryland you can't find one organization where a person coming out of hospital can get everything he needs in one place," she said. "I think it's an amazing model, and if we could have it even in Baltimore, it would be a big step forward."
Sigma Aldrich Chooses Yad Sarah
The global giant, Sigma Aldrich, employs 8,000 people and deals with the development of medicine and tools for scientific research. Recently the Israeli branch of this company decided to give its workers the opportunity to be part of a social outreach project and experience the privileges that go with volunteering – and chose Yad Sarah as the perfect partner.MORE
As Passover approaches, Yad Sarah is preparing for an increase in wheelchair requests
Past experience has shown that many patients are discharged from hospitals at this time and need to borrow equipment. In addition, senior citizens living in nursing homes and other residential institutions celebrate the Seder with families in their homes, and depend on wheelchairs and other equipment from Yad Sarah.
Approximately 200 different types of devices are available, among them orthopedic items, respiratory instruments, equipment for mother and baby, sanitary bathroom equipment, and accessories for the bedroom.
All medical equipment at Yad Sarah is acquired through money obtained through the generosity of its many donors.
“Dear Yad Sarah, We would like to move our 83-year-old mother from her home in Netanya to our home in Jerusalem on the eve of Passover. We would appreciate it if you would let us know as soon as you can, if this is possible.”
The above is just an example of one request received over the years by Yad Sarah during pre-holiday days—one of many.The closer we come to Passover, the stronger the stream of requests for assistance from Yad Sarah.Yad Sarah's loans of medical equipment reach a record high over the weeks before and during the Passover holiday.
What we have and know how to offer allow people with functional disabilities to celebrate the seder with the rest of their families.
Throughout the holiday Yad Sarah Vans make hundreds of trips transporting wheelchair-bound patients to relatives’ homes, tourist attractions and on trips.
The emergency center also experienced increased activity, mostly from lonely housebound people who simply need a friendly person at the other end of the line to listen to their problems and reassure them. In extreme cases of need, operators at the emergency center informed social services professionals or family members of a problem that needed immediate attention.
Many inquires come from tourists who are physically handicapped visiting Israel to enjoy the pleasure of being with their Israeli family.
With the approach of Pesach many people request information and suggestions, and are referred to the several Guidance, Resource and Exhibition centers of Yad Sarah.
As the Pesach cleaning frenzy approaches,Yad Sarah feels that it is important for all of us to guard our physical condition, and take steps to insure that household accidents do not occur during routine cleaning.
In our Guidance, resource and exhibition centers we have designed model apartments, to display and demonstrate aids and accessories for help and rehabilitation of those with special needs. The tools and accessories here offer solutions to a wide range of daily needs: accessibility and mobility, proper seating, dressing, bathing, eating and coping with various household tasks.
Visitors to our counseling centers find a professionally trained and skilled volunteer staff, ready to answer questions and provide personal training at no charge.
These are only a few of the many available services to the Israeli community at large - all of which exist through your contributions.
We wish you a happy, kosher andhealthy Passover- from all of us at Yad Sarah.
Volunteer organization lent 270,000 pieces of medical equipment for the bedridden and oxygen-producing machines.
During 2011, the Yad Sarah voluntary organization assisted 420,000 peoplearound the country and saved NIS 1.5 billion that otherwise would have been come from public coffers. This included the lending of 270,000 pieces of medical equipment, from walkers and wheelchairs to air mattresses for the bedridden and oxygen-producing machines.
One of the unusual recipients of help from Yad Sarah, just two weeks ago, was 24-yearold Odelia Lavie of Bat Yam, who was taken in her wheelchair to the hairdresser, makeup artist and bridal gown salon, and then to herwedding ceremony, in a Yad Sarah Nechonit van. Born with disability, Lavie has long been receiving the organization’s help in getting places via its Nechonit; her bridegroom became disabled in school when he was 17 and has since needed a wheelchair as well.
Yad Sarah reported on Wednesday a 3.5- percent increase in people assisted in 2011 compared to 2010. Among the equipment lent out free were 40,000 wheelchairs and 2,400 hospital beds used at home, thus reducing pressure in hospital wards. If these people had been hospitalized, the overcrowding would be much worse than it has been, said the organization, which has 6,000 volunteers in over 100 branches around thecountry. More than 1,000 new volunteers joined last year.
The organization, founded by former Jerusalem mayor Uri Lupolianski, also repairs medical equipment, runs a laundry service for the bedridden, displays medical devices that are available for purchase, provides legal advice to the elderly and answers medical questions.
Giving a Hand to Those in Need
Helping others is a way to help myself. I feel that when I do something positive for someone else, I am contributing to the world in a positive way. As a teacher I always enjoyed working with those students who struggled in some way with their studies; working together to achieve a goal. Everyone can contribute in some way or another. Helping is a way of moving your own life forward in a positive direction. Not helping means being still, not moving in any direction.My children are also involved in helping others; my son is soon to be an officer in the IDF and my daughter is learning to be a leader in her youth group. They are always ready to help me when I need help and I know that they will be aware of others in their lives that can benefit from some help.
Helping can take many forms; I have an elderly friend who is lonely. She is somewhat difficult, yet I remember her as a younger person as being warm and welcoming. I remind her of those days when she prepared Shabbat dinner for many of her daughter's friends. We sometimes play scrabble and other times just drink tea together and chat. This is something I can do that may enrich her life in some small way.
Over the years I have been actively involved in several areas; I was a member of the Tali school and we started the process many years ago in our living room, talking about starting a school in Raanana. I have also been working with the Meitarim school in Raanana, a founding member and active on the Board for some years.
Helping is best when the person receiving the help is able to participate in a positive way. “Teaching a person to fish instead of giving them a fish.”
As someone who has worked full time and studied whilst bringing up my children, not working now, gives me an opportunity to do other things. I will happily work in a volunteer capacity and do my best to help those that I can.
Robyn Gross- Yad Sarah volunteer
LAYING OF CORNERSTONEOF YAD SARAH BUILDING IN MODI’IN
A cornerstone was laid at the beginning of the week for a new large Regional Center of Yad Sarah in Modi’in, after 13 years of wide-spread volunteer activity in caravans at the entrance to the city.The establishment of the new building in Mote Gur Street in the Maginim district will enable a significant expansion of the diverse services provided by Yad Sarah. MORE
The support for the Caregiver Center
BY KAREN KOVEN
The services that Yad Sarah offers to those with a physical challenge or an illness are well known including, but not limited to, home oxygen supplies,medical supplies, legal aid, transportation and the lending of specialized equipment. However, the services available to the caregiver of the patient are newly established and continue to evolve and expand.
The Caregiver Center was created in January, 2011 with the mission to assist the caregiver in overcoming the difficulties of caring for a spouse, parent, relative or friend. It is crucial to keep the caregiver healthy, both mentally and physically, in order for them to properly care for the patient and keep the patient in the home setting as long as possible.It is a joint project of Yad Sarah and Eshel. It also operates in cooperation with services in the community, including municipal social services, health maintenance organizations and others, such as Reut-Eshel, which gives counseling on the topics of aging, rehabilitation and geriatric nursing care.MORE
A MESSAGE FROM DIMONA
BY DANIEL COHEN
In the midst of apartments, trapped in a cul-de-sac, the one story building sat with little to distinguish it from the market on the corner. Two offices occupied the space inside; one for drivers being qualified to drive on Israeli highways and carry their precious loads of children and passengers, the other for demonstrating the serious reason for a spiritual commitment to a society that cares about each individual in it: Yad Sarah.
On the right side, Ginetta Volodasky met me with curiosity when I introduced myself. This 51 year old, comfortable, yet serious woman from Tashkent wondered about my mission; to see, learn and write about the Dimona Yad Sarah operations and the people who work there.I say comfortable because she has worked as a volunteer for several years helping people with physical disabilities, find the best equipment for mobility and therapy. She has a background in several languages and medicine to call upon to meet the needs of injured and sick residents. She is partnered with a lovely 64 year old Shoshana Voknin (who looks 40) from Morocco, in their public service and administration efforts, all without computers, I might add. Even so, I was given the hospitality of smiles and a cup of coffee, while asking my distracting questions. MORE HERE
FROM THE JERUSALEM POST BY JUDY SIEGEL
Yad Sarah: Halacha says synagogues should be accessible
Halacha says synagogues should be accessible
Printed information on solutions for disabled to reach the raised bima as well as other synagogue facilities, is being distributed to synagogues.
Emerging from the elevator on the third floor of the Shaare Tzedek hospital, Jerusalem, two things struck me. Firstly, the ease I had experienced in finding what I was looking for. On entering the hospital, I approached the first group of nurses who crossed my path and asked them to direct me to Yad Sarah. “The third floor,” they replied in almost perfect unison,“”You will find your way from there,” one of them reassured, on seeing the sceptical look on my face.
Merely sending someone to the correct floor in such a massive institution doesn't necessarily qualify as clear directions. On arriving at the third floor I saw why no further instruction was needed, as the doors slide open the wide open offices of Yad Sarah are revealed. Surely no one had ever got lost on there way here.
The second thing that struck me was the positioning of this branch. Situated in the middleof hospital facing the elevators doors, why had Yad Sarah been given this prestigious, central location over any other department?
On entering the room I was greeted by a smiling secretary who pointed me in the direction of the waiting room. This was no ordinary room, the melting potof Israel presented it self. A microcosm of society, Jews, Arabs, foreign workers and Christian tourists all united in this one place and time by the open arms of Yad Sarah.
With out much encouragement one patient began to tell me his story. He had been involved in a serious accident a few months ago and badly broken his right leg. He had been put in a castbut there were no wheelchairs available in the ward for him to take home.
“I had to jump to the toilet,” he told me, “ so I asked the doctor what I should do and he recommended I go to Yad Sarah.” Smiling he continued, “ The service was better than good, with out them I wouldn't have mobility, I appreciate their help so much that I am donating the deposit to Yad Sarah.” Today, he explained he had returned the wheelchair as he was graduating on to a mobility stickalso from Yad Sarah.
I followed him to the desk of one of the Yad sarah volunteers, Rachel Medlov who has been at the branch for twelve years. She showed him how to use the mobility stick and they practised walkinguntil he felt comfortable.
After, Rachel passionately explained the value of the branch to me, “Its essential,” she said, “When people leave the hospital they need equipment”.
Showing me the storage room she continued “ Yad Sarah serves everyone with equal goodness, people come in speaking all sorts of languages and leave satisfied, they all get equal treatment. People come in so distraught, we try to help and if we don't have something we make phone calls to help them get supplies from somewhere else. We always run out of things, there is a huge demand.”
On my way out of the branch she reiterated to me “The more donations we get the more equipment we can get.”
Now I understood the central positioning of Yad sarah, in many ways it is pivotal to the hospital's day to day functions.
photo: fixing wheelchairs at yad sarah.
A link between generations:to send
to the grandchildren
They come to Yad Sarah’s club to learn about computers, to check the news on the net, to figure out how to pay bills on-line…but more than anything, to communicate with their grandchildren by e-mail.
The computer club for elderly people is the key to their entrance into the modern electronic age. Ms. Judith Yazraski, a volunteer at the computer club tells us: “It’s as if they have a car but don’t know how to drive. Most of these elderlies have a computer at home but they had never been taught to surf the web.”
The Jewish Chronicle: Yad Sarah provides assistance for the disabled, elderly and housebound and the dinner - addressed by former Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy - was a first step in raising awareness. The UK group will focus on funding projects for medical equipment,
Our Play Center for Special Needs Children and their Families
Over the past months, we have learned about many of Yad Sarah's unique services.We recentlyasked some of the wonderful volunteers what else we could see, so that we could tell you about it.We were told that the Jerusalem Play Center for Special Needs Children and their Families, is one of the most innovative services offered by Yad Sarah at its headquarters branch in Jerusalem.
~The Canadian Team
"I came in for help with a pressure sore and-
I AM LEAVING WITH SO MUCH MORE"
A woman visited the Yad Sarah exhibition and guidance center in Jerusalem concerned that she had found a pressure sore on her Mother's hip. She told us: "My mother had been hospitalized three times in the past three months and had lost a tremendous amount a weight. She was searching for equipment that would help alleviate the pressure". Photo: guiding visitors at the center.
She left the center with a list of equipment to borrow from the lending program,(pressure reduction mattress and pump , wider wheelchair and cushion ).
She learned about the services in the community that can help teach her Mother's aid how to position her Mother in bed as well as increasing the amount of movement in her daily life.Now that her Mother is out of danger she needs to do more.
She was happy to hear that there are leisure activities that can stimulateher Mother and help her to enjoy her time. She learned a tremendous amount and exclaimed:
"I came in for help with a pressure sore and I AM LEAVING WITH SO MUCH MORE". We call it the Yad Sarah Spirit: giving the best professional advice and tools -we can give. Giving more with all our heart.
Happy Independence Day
To the volunteers, employees, donors - and hundreds of thousands of Israelis who approach us daily for help - I would like to send greetings on Independence Day.
Recently we have turned to you, the growing community of Friends of Yad Sarah, and asked you to give us a hand to enable us to continue our endeavors. We asked you to send us donations so that we can continue to equip every second family in Israel with all the necessary tools for medical rehabilitation – in the difficult moments of life.
The response was a vote of confidence for Yad Sarah. Furthermore, in the flow of donations, both large and small and all of them precious to us, we felt the love which rose up from all sectors of the social spectrum for the charitable institution we established in Israel.
We have declared, and we believe, that we are committed to the best service and to mutual social responsibility. We have impressed on each employee and volunteer commitment to personal attention and to lend a warm and human ear. The public has responded with support for this message.
We are proud of your vote of confidence, and proud that delegations from all over the world come to Yad Sarah to learn this vision and its implementation.
The word "independence" is seen in the context of political independence. We salute those that enabled us this independence. At Yad Sarah the word "independence" refers to personal independence, and is the main value which we work tirelessly to achieve: to safeguard the ability of people to deal with functional difficulties and to live full lives, of work and creativity –a life of personal independence.
To this purpose we continually expand the range of medical rehabilitation services at home and in the community even further. To this end we make sure to incorporate all possible technological innovations - so that the recuperating patient can return as quickly as possible from the hospital to his home, his "safe castle" - and recuperate while being surrounded by family.
We will continue to offer this aid to everyone, anywhere - and from the bottom of our hearts. The service will continue to be optimal, reliable and available.
Happy Independence Day and a healthy summer!
Yad Sarah’s Geriatric Dental Clinic:
The Human- professional touch
Yad Sarah’s Geriatric Dental Clinic turned out to be the answer to the prayers of those senior citizens who can not eat with what was left of their teeth and can not afford to pay for dental care. Yad Sarah’s Geriatric Dental Clinic comprises some of the kindest and most meticulous professionals they have encountered–inside or outside Israel.
A feisty, no-nonsense Batya Greenberg, for example, pays tribute to the volunteer senior doctor at the Clinic who treated her with “golden hands” for a number of denture problems.Batya’s dentist still stays in touch with her as a personal friend, visiting her once a week at her residence in the Bukharin neighbourhood of Jerusalem.David Levinger, a Shoah survivor from Slovakia, says that the treatment he received from Clinic staff was “hamon nechmad [super nice],” even “unforgettable.”Tovah Stein, an 8th generation Israeli, goes so far as to call her experience “mei-eyn Olam Habah [like a taste of the World to Come]” . (Photo left- Dr. Sarit Palmon - the director and guiding hand behaind the speical dental team). More Here
Never Alone"Before they call,
I will answer;and while they are yet speaking,
I will hear." (Isaiah, 65:24)
As we entered a very special and important room in Yad Sarah, this
verse in the Book of Isaiah caught our eyes as it was boldly written across the top of the wall.
The Emergency Alarm Response Centre is a room where many volunteers work as
operators 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
This is a great service which enables the elderly,
disabled and anyone in need who is living alone to feel
A kind volunteer took the time to
explain to us the inner workings of
the Emergency Alarm Response Centre.
The way this works is that each client has
a wristband with a two-way transmitter
connecting him/ her to a Yad Sarah
volunteer with the touch of a button.
This immediately activates a connection
to this room where all the client's
personal information appears on the
computer screen. The details include the client's name,
information, languages spoken, relative's contact information. As well it
informs the operators which neighbours have keys, the client's doctor, and the
nearest medical centre, etc. This system is not exclusively used for medical
emergencies but it is also available for those who need someone to talk to for
encouragement, support, and peace of mind.
It also enables the client's relatives to feel more secure and at ease with
leaving their loved ones alone
as well as giving the clients themselves a greater sense of independance.
After learning about this incredible service that Yad Sarah provides we truly
recognized why this verse was chosen to be displayed in this particular room.
This Passuk fully captures the tremendous chessed performed within these
Until next time,
Ofra Lipson & Margalit Bernstein
The Canadian Team (In the picture above:))
"The Canadian Team"
by Margalit Bernstein & Ofra Lipson Seeing is believing. Its a phrase we have heard and experienced so many times
but not to this extent. We have heard so much about the volunteering that takes
place in Israel, and now we were given the opportunity to become a part of it.
We walked into the beautiful,
Jerusalem-stone building proudly bearing the name
"Yad Sarah". Immediately we were greeted with a friendly, "Shalom! Mah
Nishmah?" by a smiling security guard as we entered. As we walked down the
hallway to the bank of elevators an impressive sign enlisting all of the
numerous services Yad Sarah provides stood before us. After running our eyes
over the many options we finally rested on the "Volunteer Office". After
hearing countless positive reports about this wonderful organization we finally
were registering as volunteers in the hopes of contributing in our small way.
Growing up in Toronto, Canada, we were exposed to various fundraisers for Yad
Sarah. Every year, our school organizes a mother-daughter event donating all
proceeds to a charity in Israel. One such organization that really struck us
was Yad Sarah. We were shown a DVD of the various services this organization
conducts. However, it was hard to imagine how so much could be achieved by a
team of volunteers. This charity operates without ongoing government funding
and is financed almost completely by generous donors. A couple years later we
participated in an evening of entertainment organized by the Canadian Friends
of Yad Sarah. These fundraisers raised our awareness of the incredible help
provided to Israelis struggling with medical challenges.
When we decided to
spend this year studying in Israel, we knew that it would be a privilege and
opportunity of a lifetime to get involved with Yad Sarah.
On our first visit to Yad Sarah's headquarters we met with various volunteers
who contribute an unimaginable amount of their time and skills to make this
organization what it is.
We witnessed so many different services offered such
as the Golden Garden Coffee Shop, the Karten Rahabilitative Computer Center,
and an art therapy workshop taking place which was just a small sample of the
immense care that is provided. We look forward to our next visit as we continue
discovering the generosity that takes place at Yad Sarah every day".
(photo: doing good work. volunteers at Yad Sarah).
Until next time,
Margalit Bernstein & Ofra Lipson
The Canadian Team
Jusidman House- More Service To The South
Giving to others in all life-cycle stages, for the fulfillment of the vision and purpose of Yad Sarah, could be witnessed in the recent opening ceremony of Beyt Jusidman - Jusidman House, the new regional Center of Yad Sarah in Be'er Sheva. In the picture - Happy smiles of a Be'er Sheva kids at Jusidman House opening day. MORE HERE
Yad Sarah On The Net: ModiInfo
Volunteers Needed to Help the Families of the Sick and Disabled As Part of a New Yad Sarah Program
A new and exciting program was formed between the Social Services Branch's Volunteer Unit and the local Yad Sarah Branch: "Im Lev HaMishpacha (With the Family Heart)." The project is aimed at the families (below the age of 60) that are treated by the Social Services Branch, such as sick families or families with disabilities. More Here
You can use www.friendsofyadsarah.org to make online gifts, stay up-to-date about what's new at Yad Sarah, learn about urgent needs and goals, and find out what Americans are doing to make a difference.
Yad Sarah Offers an Additional Service for Holocaust Survivors
Yad Sarah is expanding its range of unique services to Holocaust survivors. A generous contribution from the fund in memory of Holocaust survivors will enable Yad Sarah's professional staff to offer more survivors the following services:
Subsidized dental care is offered, provided at the geriatric dental clinic in Beit Yad Sarah in Jerusalem, and as part of treatment for the homebound in the seven Yad Sarah branches (Jerusalem, Be'er Sheva, Ashdod, Modi'in, Kfar Saba, Haifa and Kiryat Motzkin).
In photo - Dr. Sarit Palmon, Clinic Director, to the right, and left, Rinat Sharoni, Clinic Reception Manager.
The clinic for seniors provides dental care to the elderly and specializes in the unique problems of the older population, along with routine dental care.
It is possible to receive a variety of dental treatments in the clinic including: preventive care (dental hygienist), dental restoration and prosthodontics, including dental implants when needed.
Treatment is provided by volunteer dentists, assisted by experts in prosthodontics, surgery and periodontics. In the past year there were approximately 10, 200 visits to the clinic including the mobile clinics. About 30 percent of applicants were Holocaust survivors - and the goal is to broaden and deepen their treatment. A subsidized fee is required for this service.
"There is no responsible body in this country for providing dental care to Holocaust survivors. Many of the survivors suffer from economic difficulties and cannot afford the necessary treatments. Consequently, they lose their dignity, withdraw into themselves and have difficulty talking or eating. The significant contribution from the fund in memory of Holocaust survivors allows us to provide services to Holocaust survivors, to whom we owe a great moral debt," says Rivka Feuchtwanger, Public Relations Director at Yad Sarah.
For more information:
firstname.lastname@example.org Installation of panic buttons – a service operating 24 hours a day all year round, is provided. The person receiving this service wears a device like an alarm clock on his wristwatch – at a time of distress the button is activated and connected to the operator at Yad Sarah telephone service in Jerusalem.
From handling emergency calls for help to offering a sympathetic ear for lonely individuals – the dedicated team of Yad Sarah responds immediately to all calls. The new service with the help of the fund in memory of Holocaust survivors - is designed to expand the number of survivors who are connected to the telephone center and allow immediate and necessary response to every question or problem arising in the survivor's environment.
For more information:
We wish you a happy, kosher andhealthy Passover- from all of us at Yad Sarah.
THE JERUSALEM POST ON OUR WORK BEFORE PASSOVER:
Yad Sarah volunteers work hardest before Pessah
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Voluntary organization reports a three-fold increase in the borrowing of medical equipment for home use during the upcoming holidays.
Yad Sarah reported on Thursday a three-fold increase in the borrowing of medical equipment for home use during the upcoming holidays.
The voluntary organization’s central storehouse has been transferring needed equipment to its more than 100 branches, with wheelchairs the most popular as families invite elderly relatives from old age homes and other institutions to their homes for the Pessah Seder.
Other items much in demand that are being lent out are thousands of oxygen canisters, walkers, hospital beds and pulleys to help people out of bed; all of these are worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, all purchased with donations.
As Pessah is the major holiday when families want to be together, the period is the most hectic for Yad Sarah. The number of reservations for the 40 Nechonit vans to transport the disabled in wheelchairs around has been large.
Meanwhile, Yad Sarah is distributing via its website (www.yadsarah.org.il) a special Haggada for the visually impaired, printed in large letters.
The 67-page book was produced by Da’at, the Center for Jewish Studies of the Herzog College.
Dozens of Yad Sarah branches will be open on the eve of Pessah, on Monday, and during the intermediate days of the holiday. For more information and branches and opening times, call *6444 or visit the website.
Our New Campaign- As Reported In The Jerusalem Post-
Yad Sarah to hold first-ever fund-raising campaign
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Move comes as demand for services increases and donations decrease.
Photo: At the opening of Yad Sarah new regional southern center - BeerSheba.
For the first time in its 35- year history, the Yad Sarah organization has decided to hold a national fund-raising campaign due to increased demands for its services and reduced donations.
Organization founder and chairman (and former Jerusalem mayor) Uri Lupolianski reluctantly made the decision after opposing it for years on the grounds that “everybody knows what Yad Sarah is and does and knows where to contribute.”MORE HERE
The Grand Opening in Beersheba
The fundraising event for the new Yad Sarah in Beersheba was a huge success - another step forward towards beginning operations in the new regional center which will include the entire spectrum of services to be available to residents of the South.
About 200 leaders of major business corporations in the South came to the opening night fund-raiser. Many of them gave generous donations and offered assistance to help run the services in the new center.
Most of the attention was focused on the auction, skillfully run by actor Zvika Hadar, who also volunteered to moderate the evening.
The first Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Eliyahu Eilat, donated a cigar given to him by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, which was sold to the bromine company employees for ¤ 10,000.
Contractor Yossi Dluya, the head of the Southern Chamber of Commerce purchased a ¤9,000 egg with the Book of Ruth and the Song of Songs written on it in micrographic script, the work of the late Abraham Haba.
A Gold medal designed for the 32nd Anniversary of Independence by Marc Chagall "Light of the Nations", was sold for ¤15,000. Rubik Danilovich, Mayor of Beersheba (above in photo with President of Yad Sarah, Uri Lupoliansk)i , along with Zvika Hadar, purchased a Yossi Stern lithograph for 4,000.IS. MORE HERE
We came. We ate. We met Shuli-
and We Understood the Spirit of Yad Sarah
On our most recent visit to the Yad Sarah headquarters, we were curious as to what other incredible discoveries we could possibly encounter. We did not have to wonder long as we entered the cafeteria and met yet another extremely enthusiastic volunteer.
We began engaging Shuly Mizrachi, a very devoted volunteer who still had her apron on from her shift in the cafeteria. More Here
The Canadian Team, Margalit Bernstein and Ofra Lipson
A Message From Our Friends In NYC-
Friends of Yad Sarah has a new website:
www.friendsofyadsarah.org You can use www.friendsofyadsarah.org to make online gifts, stay up-to-date about what's new at Yad Sarah, learn about urgent needs and goals, and find out what Americans are doing to make a difference.
“Safe Wheels” our new video on how to use a wheelchair correctly
by Deborah Roitman
Here are some notes we have recently received from viewers:
“I really appreciated the video when I recently had to care for my mother who was wheelchair-bound. It was only for a few weeks that she could not walk and needed the wheelchair, when she was so very sick, but still…”
“Thank you so much for the information. It is a service that is so necessary for so many people. A job well done!”
“I am confident that this video will be helpful to many people.”
These are some of the early reactions to the video “Safe Wheels” which is the brainchild of occupational therapists Shani Rosenfeld (the head of the Exhibition and GuidanceCenter at Yad Sarah) and Toby Koren (the founder of the Center for Road Safety at the AlynHospital in Jerusalem).
Yad Sarah and AlynHospital are comparable in that both institutions are at the interface when thousands of “new drivers” are confronted for the first-time with a wheelchair upon which they will need to rely…but for which they have not been sufficiently trained to use safely.
Staff at Yad Sarah and at the AlynHospital often feels that patients and their caretakers alike put themselves at risk when they are unaware of the basics of handling a wheelchair correctly.
Over the years, many professional reports were written of the experience that had amassed, but only recently did this desire to promote an educational tool develop into something practical.
Dekel Eisenberg, at the time a student at the MusraraCollege in Jerusalem, approached the Public Relations department at Yad Sarah and volunteered to make a film on the topic of the safe use of wheelchairs.
The challenges were considerable in transforming pages of thoughts into a ‘user-friendly’ medium that would nonetheless remain true to its professional purpose. The choice was to use actors who present the difficulties faced by a caretaker and a patient as they come to deal with a wheelchair, a reality, albeit transient, with which they have had no prior experience.
The main points that are dealt with in the video are the proper use of the wheelchair by the patient, getting a wheelchair in and out of the car, and safe manipulation by the caretaker of a patient in a wheelchair outdoors, because these are the issues that are critical for the safety of a patient who is wheelchair-bound.
It is the hope of the entire team at Yad Sarah that this video will be helpful to private individuals and their concerned significant others, but also be an educational tool for nursing services including students in the helping professions, professional working with patients after orthopedic surgeries, and many others.
“Safe Wheels” is user-friendly, short, and has very clear instructions that are easy to remember and easy to follow. The objective is to add a measure of safety to a practical situation that thousands are confronted with annually and for which they are not sufficiently prepared.
Last week we had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Yad Sarah headquarters to view some of the incredible services that are offered there daily. We strolled through the hallways which display countless pictures of Yad Sarah over the years until we came to a room that caught our attention.
The room was filled with beautifully hand-crafted pieces of art. Upon viewing the masterpieces we asked a hard working staff member about the artists and their connection to Yad Sarah. She responded with a smile explaining to us that the artists are actually dedicated volunteers who have reached retirement-MORE
YAD SARAH CHANNEL ON YOU TUBE NON-PROFIT, MEJEW Scores of video clips available on You Tube`s Non-Profit Channels. The videos feature volunteer profiles, highlights of milestone &more.www.youtube.com/yadsarah Now also on NEW! MeJew.com check it out!
VIRTUAL TOUR OF YAD SARAH EXHIBITION AND GUIDANCE CENTER
Now – without leaving your seat – take a peek at hundreds of useful special equipment available for kitchen, bath, bedroom at Yad Sarah`s Resource and Exhibition Center in Jerusalem . This site was developed by Tourwise, an Israeli company specializing in dynamic web applications developed as a complimentary service . [Download of small plug-in required for first-time viewers.] Take the tour now…..