From one moment to the next, a family’s world is turned upside down. The loss of a loved one is painful enough. How can they make all the arrangements and deal with all the red tape at such a vulnerable time?
In a large extended family, there is usually someone to step in. But English speakers in Eretz Yisrael are often very much alone. That’s why their first address is Chaim V’Chessed.
Chaim V’Chessed deals with every death with sensitivity and forethought. We step in to fill whatever the needs may be: contacting the chevra kadisha, arranging loudspeakers, notifying the family rav, having signs made, dealing with hospital authorities to take care of bureaucratic matters on time. At times we serve to notify those nearest and dearest of the loss. When a death occurs at home, Chaim V’Chessed deals with police to avoid the need for an autopsy. We assist families reeling from the loss of a child, escorting parents, expediting the paperwork process, and involving appropriate therapists when necessary. Chaim V’Chessed often helps families of those from outside Israel who are brought here for burial.
Chaim V’Chessed was a lifeline during my husband’s illness. He was sick for a while, and when things took a turn for the worse, we were in constant touch with them for hospital assistance, test results, transportation and everything else we suddenly needed. On the day that I did not know would be his last, my husband was rushed to the emergency room by ambulance. I called Chaim V’Chessed in a panic and Rabbi Freedman assured me that he and Zevi would be there to make sure everything was being taken care of.
Ten minutes later, my husband passed away.
I won’t describe the shock, the horror, the pain. I should have been prepared for it but I did not know what to do. Until I realized exactly what to do: call Rabbi Freedman.
He and Zevi accompanied me through the hospital. They called the chevra kadisha. They called our rav down to the hospital. I talked through with them what time would be best for the levaya; they helped me make the decision. They called family members for me. They had signs printed and arranged all the details of the funeral. I realized afterward that the reason my husband’s body was removed from the hospital so quickly was because of their involvement.
The pain is still raw. Nothing can take that away. But Chaim V’Chessed was there for me in my most difficult time to make sure that all my needs were met. That is a chessed I am so grateful for.