Hours: 9-5. A perfectly acceptable job description, wouldn’t you say? True, but one an Ezer Mizion employee cannot relate to. Don’t get me wrong. Ezer Mizion employees have specific work hours like those of any other entity. But the difference is seen at 5:00 PM when the average office employee locks the door to her office, to her mind and to her heart until the next day at nine. The Ezer Mizion employee doesn’t know how to do that. Her typical evening will be interspersed with phone calls. Did the desperately needed wheelchair ordered at ten-to-five arrive? Did her suggestion for the Alzeimer’s patient work? How is the K family whose mother was just diagnosed with cancer doing?
Let me introduce you to David. He’ll tell you his story.
“One of my children is brain –damaged. It’s a situation that can only be understood by someone who experienced it. He’s seriously ill and I have been at the hospital non-stop for over a month. My wife and kids? The whole family is on the verge of collapse. I desperately needed a break. My wife needed a husband there to lean on and my kids needed to feel the stability of a father, at least for a few hours. So I dialed the number. The number that everyone in Israel knows by heart. Ezer Mizion’s Linked to Life offers a network of volunteers to give rides, take over at the hospital or anything that will ease the plight of people dealing with illness.
“The dispatcher told me it took only five minutes till he got a reply. An Ezer Mizion social worker had some time to spare and volunteered to give me a few hour break. I was thinking along the lines of 3,4 hours. She came at noon and remained until the next morning! No break! Almost a full 24 hours! And when I came to relieve her, did she give me a quick run-down and politely turn to leave? Not at all. She asked me how we were managing and is there anything else she can do for us. She looked as if she really cared. She was so sincere that i found myself confiding in her – a complete stranger. I told her how my wife was undergoing an emotional crisis. She was under the care of a social worker. (At the time, I didn’t yet know that the volunteer was also a social worker by profession.) I told her what is going on at home with the social worker temporarily on strike and unable to help my wife.
“I talked and talked. It was such a relief to get it all out. That’s when – you guessed it – she told me she was an Ezer Mizion social worker and would be happy to take over for the duration… And she’d set up regular hot, nutritious meals for me at the hospital and for the family at home…And she’d arrange for people to take shifts so I could count on regularly going home for a break…And she’d have rides set up for those volunteers, given by other volunteers…And she’d put us on the list for a fun trip for the kids so we can see that smile that has been gone for so long…And she’d have volunteers come to help my wife with housework, the kids’ homework and everything under the sun that mommies do when life is smooth…And my wife would have a phone number to call when she felt she just couldn’t cope…And…”
Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.