Tuesday, March 20, 2007
BUT FOR THE GRACE OF G-D - part II
The center I visited today is located in Pisgat Ze'ev - part of Jerusalem but a long way out from the center of town. This is a purpose-built center - unlike our other centers which are housed, for the moment, in whatever appropriate space we can find - unused bomb shelters - the basement of a synagogue - any place we can call "home".
The center in Pisgat Ze'ev houses both English and Russian-Speaking groups. The Russian group is, for the most part, very highly educated and also relatively high-functioning - and it's that group which had me disolved in tears.
The people are still quite aware of what is going on around them - and kept asking the regular workers who we - Ida and I - were. I was asked to say a few words - in Hebrew - about who we were and why we were there - and Nili translated into Russian. At the end of her translation one of the Russian women asked to speak. She told us that in Russia she had been a cardiologist. Now she is in Israel - a member of MELABEV - and said "if it weren't for MELABEV I would be lying in the ground".
When she finished speaking her friend, who was sitting next to her, wanted to speak. She had been a teacher in Russia and said "at home no one smiles at me - here everyone smiles all the time".
I was smiling - through my tears. We all hugged and kissed each other and as I told them I didn't speak Russian they spoke to me in Yiddish - shades of my Mom and my Grandma.
Here, too, the workers - and volunteers - are saints. Angels. Women of Valor. And right up there with them belong the Fillipino and Fillipina (male and female) "metaplim" & "metaplot" (caregivers). Many of the people in Israel who can no longer care for themselves employ caregivers. You have never seen such devotion between people - the caregivers and those being cared for. Many of the caregivers have learned to speak Hebrew - how strange to hear them saying "heenay, Mami - tochlee" - (here, sweetheart - eat).
Yes - there are still lots of things we haven't quite gotten right here in Israel - our terrible driving record for one - but I am so proud of what we are doing for our elderly. Mind you - we at MELABEV can only take care of a small percentage of the people who need our help - but, boy, we are really doing something right.
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