Leah Chollak, A’H
How many people are prepared? Leah Chollak, A’H was one of the few. She spent her life preparing for this day. Sunday, October 20, 2013. The day her soul ascended to the heavens above.
Leah was the treasured wife of Chananya Chollak yibodel l’chaim, founder of Ezer Mizion, a veritable empire of chessed in Eretz Yisroel. In their far too short thirty-four years of marriage, Leah worked alongside her husband– her heart, her home, her time, her energy devoted to the needs of her fellow Jews. As a young bride, she stood over immense pots preparing delectable meals for families dealing with serious illness. "A hot meal will rejuvenate them physically. They’re worn out. And it will say ‘Someone cares.’ That will help to give them emotional strength to deal with their nightmare." And so Leah, peeled, sliced and stirred, adding the special spice of love to each dish because she really did care.
As Ezer Mizion grew from its original eight volunteers to an organization of professional staff and 13,000 volunteers serving 650,000 each year, Leah grew with it-always giving, giving and then giving some more. Cancer. Mental Illness. Special Children. Old Age. These represented not titles of departments but people-distraught people, people who were hurting, people who were bewildered, not knowing where to turn. They came to her in droves and she nurtured them all like a loving mommy.
Leah had twelve children. Each day was jammed with family obligations and chessed. Life was more than full. But when a child needed a home, Leah opened hers. The child was formally adopted merging with her own offspring to expand the Chollak family. Then another. And another. Four children in total became the recipients of Leah’s ever-expanding outpouring of love.
And then it was over. Leah, who seemed to have no physical limits, became ill. She tried to hold on. Just this past erev Rosh Hashona, she was at the helm of the Ezer Mizion tzedakah mailing campaign. But the illness was stronger and her grip on life loosened. Tens of thousands whose lives she had sweetened poured out their hearts in prayer but it was not to be. The funeral began from the Ezer Mizion’s headquarters in Bnei Brak, where she had invested her all in every stone of this kingdom of chessed. Led by Maranan, rabbonim and roshei yeshivos, the large crowd, broken and wrapped in grief, gathered to pay homage to a woman who personified the eternal words of ‘A Woman of Valour’ Y’ZB