It is now over half a year since Chaim V’Chessed officially opened its doors.
Since our establishment, we have received 2720 calls on our 24-hour hotline. We have dealt with 1081 individual cases involving English speakers throughout Eretz Yisroel. We have provided assistance in areas ranging from hospital assistance to bureaucracy and everything in between. We have created a database of information on nearly every aspect of life in Eretz Yisroel, from buying an apartment to special education services.
In only seven months, we have gained a reputation as the one-stop organization for Israel’s English-speaking community.
We thought you’d like to know what we have been up to. Our first e-newsletter will fill you in on just how far we’ve come.
A neighbor noticed it first, when my five-year-old daughter was playing on the floor and looked up at something. There was a swollen gland protruding from the front of her neck. It looked like a big marble, and it was hard.
The results of the ultrasound were not good. The radiologist at the ultrasound recommended that our family doctor monitor the gland’s growth on a weekly basis. But our doctor refused. “It’s too big and too hard,” he said. “It looks too scary. I can’t take on the responsibility.”
We made an appointment for a biopsy.
I’d been surfing the web all this time, so my brain was a wreck of all the diagnoses my precious daughter could possibly receive. Words like lymphoma and Hodgkin’s floated around my mind, making me crazy. But I was still unprepared for what I overheard during the biopsy. A handful of medical students were gathered in the operating room to observe the procedure. One of them casually asked the doctor, “So you’re checking for lymphoma, right?” The doctor quickly tried to change the subject. I was shaken.
They told us the results would take at least two weeks, but I was so anxious knowing it could be delayed. In a display of hashgacha pratis (Heavenly intervention), I bumped into a friend who told me about Chaim V’Chessed. “Call Rabbi Freedman,” she told me. I had never heard of Chaim V’Chessed before, but I figured I’d give it a try.
Rabbi Freedman called me back right away. He took down all the information and told me he would do anything he could to get the results as soon as possible. If they said they would need two and a half weeks, he explained, they would – but he could make sure it wasn’t longer.
Rabbi Freedman was in touch with the hospital nearly every day, making sure there was no delay. Every day he would call me, check in, see how I was doing, share his kind words and encouragement. “Have bitachon (faith),” he would say. “Stop that Internet-itis! We don’t know what is going to be.” At one point during that time he traveled to America – and continued to text me from there.
Two and a half weeks passed. I called up our doctor and asked him to check in with the biopsy department. He got back to me saying that all he’d heard was, “We’re working on it.” We’re working on it – when every extra moment tore me apart!
Then suddenly I got a call from Rabbi Freedman. “It’s ready. Tell your doctor to call.”
I did. He said, “But I called already, and they’re still working on it!”
I said, “Well, call again! It’s ready!”
They were ready. And they were fine. The results were completely normal. Hodu laHashem ki tov.
The first person I called with the good news, after my husband, was Rabbi Freedman.
Those two and a half weeks were the longest of my life. Every moment of worry was excruciating. I was anxious and so scared. But throughout that time, I never felt alone. No, we do not have any family in Eretz Yisroel. Even our own doctor wasn’t in touch with us! But you don’t feel alone when Rabbi Freedman’s texting you from America. We had his support, and that really made all the difference.
May the organization see continued blessing in assisting English speakers in need.