(Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem, 1630, Rembrandt van Rijn)
Five years ago, on July 20, 2010, which coincided with the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The day of fasting to remember collective tragedy became the anniversary of the day my life changed forever as well. My personal feelings of desolation and destruction mirrored the words of the scroll of Lamentations, read on Tisha B’Av,
“Your ruin is as vast as the sea; who can heal you?” (Jeremiah, 2:13)
At the time, my ruin felt as vast as the sea. And yet…here I am. Five years renders no guarantee, and none of us, not those of us who’ve traversed the fields of illness nor those who’ve been left unscathed, know the future. But five years is five years. Years of raising children to adulthood, of love and of professional and personal fulfillment. Five very full years during which time I’ve healed, and witnessed much growth and happiness. Reconstruction borne out of destruction, for which I am ever grateful.
In another fine twist of fate, I’m privileged to reach my fifth year of health during a Sabbatical, a Shmitta year, here in Israel, also a message of healing. The Sabbatical year is agricultural in practice (land must lie fallow once every seven years, to replenish itself,) but the philosophy is one of social justice. Land is deemed ownerless, debts are forgiven and everyone partakes freely of the bounty of the land. We are all only borrowers of the land, and once every seven years we relinquish control and all stand together, as equals. The medieval scholar, Maimonides, writes that the commandments of the Sabbatical year are ‘meant to lead to pity and promoting the well-being of all men, as the Torah states, “That the poor of your people may eat.” (Shemot 23:11)
One of the highlights of these last five years has been the creation and growth of the Lemonade Fund, www.lemonadefund.org, the Israel Breast Cancer Emergency Relief Fund. In less than four years, the Lemonade Fund has helped many impoverished Israeli breast cancer patients with emergency financial aid during their illness.
The world has rarely seemed so perilous from the outside. This Tisha B’Av, talk of complete destruction (the nuclear kind) is up close and personal here in Israel. Antisemitism is epidemic throughout the world. Yet Talmudic sources claim that the cause of the downfall of Jerusalem, and all subsequent tragedies, came from within. We were not caring, even worse, we were hateful to one another. We followed the letter of the law but we cared not for justice, fairness or kindness.
The joint lessons of Tisha B’Av and the Sabbatical year are that we must be worthy of this national home we are fortunate to have after 2000 years of exile. We must work to maintain a society that is just and kind. To be inclusive rather than rejecting; reaching out to others who are different than us. To listen. To be patient. To be kind. To help those who are more unfortunate in a way that preserves their dignity. To be concerned about the welfare of those living within our borders. To reduce socioeconomic disparity. To avoid humiliating others, to avoid senseless hatred. …There are limitless ways to build a better world.
Just as the body can heal, societies can be repaired. Jeremiah rings hopeful at the end.
“I will bring them back to this place and cause them to live in safety. They will be my people and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one path, that they may always honor Me, and that all may go well with them and their children after them. I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing them good, and I will inspire them to be in awe of Me, never turning away from Me. I will rejoice in doing good for them; and will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and soul.” (Jeremiah, 32:37-41)
Wishing you all an easy fast and many years of health and happiness.
L., 26, was pregnant with her first child when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She began intensive chemotherapy treatments soon after giving birth in the 38th week of pregnancy. L. and her husband, an employee of a utility company, are facing many extra illness-related expenses. L. cannot care for her child due to side effects of chemotherapy so the young couple had to hire help to care for their newborn, and formula for the baby is expensive (L. can’t breastfeed.) In addition, L.’s husband accompanies his wife to her treatments and doctor appointments. Though his employer has been tolerant of the absences, L.’s husband’s paid sick leave days are running out. This young couple is enormously stressed about money and according to their social worker, a Lemonade Fund grant could be what it takes to help them over this hump. A grant was awarded to L. and we hope that she can now relax and focus on the important work of getting well.
M. is a 44-year-old single mother of 4 children, from Azerbaijan. The children range in age from 22-9. Though she was a professional before making aliya, M. has worked as an office cleaner since arriving in Israel, and the job offers no benefits or sick leave. When M. was diagnosed with breast cancer in January, she had to stop working and the small family lost their main source of income. In addition, M. had complications from surgery that caused her to have a lengthy hospital stay. During this time, the family slid into debt. Fortunately, M. is doing better and hopes to go back to work so that she can pay off the debt and once again support her family. In the meantime though, she and her social worker submitted an application to the Lemonade Fund, asking for assistance with living expenses to tide them over this difficult period. The Lemonade Fund was glad to help M. and we wish her a speedy recovery.
To donate: http://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/
Thanks to all who participated in/helped out at the Lemonade Fund Women’s Health Awareness Evening on May 4th. The event was fun and informative. Some amazing people donated their services and shared their expertise. Worth getting to know them!
Non-profit organization run completely by volunteers
raising awareness about hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer.
A supportive community for BRCA gene carriers.
Discover the blessing of BRCA.
Dr. Batya Ludman
Dr. Batya.L. Ludman, Psy. D., F.T, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
I work with individuals couples and families and author of ‘Life’s’.
Reflexology, logotherapy, (meaning centred counselling), & massage
Naturopathic expert with experience in helping to improve health and lifestyle on the physical, emotional and spiritual level
Reflexology and more…
Lectures, workshops and reflexology treatments
Life Coaching Andi Saitowitz
*Individual coaching, group workshops and team facilitation.
*Personality portraits and personal development planning.
Massage, accupuncture, aromatherapy, Shiazo, Thai Massage.
The Calming Coach
Life coaching through stress management, fear, overwhelming, giving tools and skills to teach dreams and goals.
www. the calmingcoach.com
Medicope Mapping Project
MediCope is a mobile digital companion for chronic and serious illness patients.
Medicope Mapping Project
Manufacturer and market for special post-mastectomy clothes and market prostheses, bras and swimsuits.
Organic fruit and vegetable delivery service in Raanana
Saidel Artisan Baking Institute
Boutique health Bakery
*Training – workshops courses and lectures
Super Juice –
Super nutritious and delicious juice delivered directly to you
For all your culinary needs, private cooking lessons, group lessons, parties, Bar and Bat mitzvah groups, workshops and demonstrations at every level.
Sarah Raanan Photography
Sarah Raanan is a boutique family portrait photographer based in Raanana.
sarah Raanan Photography
Sally Halon, Marion Lebor, Maddy Levine
Short video production for non-profits or corporations
Gabi Ladenheim & Avital Ladenheim
(Possible to form your own class with your friends.)
1.Gabi’s Pilates and yoga
Physical Therapist/Personal Trainer
Teenage training 11-18 years
Personal training, group fitness, running, walking, water aerobics
Ergonomic (work &home) consultation, pain management, hand therapy and safety advice for seniors in their home.
Irma van de Vison
Happy Feet Clinic – Kfar Saba Chiropodist
Professional foot treatments with advanced European technology, for men and women.
Order in the House
Professional Home Organiser,
– calming the chaos
Decor and Fruit sponsors:
Flower Donated by:
Flowers were very kindly donated to the lemonade fund on the night of the event.
Fruit Donated by:
Hameshek, Givat Chen
Fruit and lemons were kindly donated by Hameshek to the lemonade fund on the night of the event.
A., a 53 years old divorcee, from the former Soviet Union, lives with her two daughters, and two grandchildren, in a small town along the northern coast. One daughter is 15 and the other is in her early 20’s, herself a divorcee with two young children. A. and her older daughter support the family by working as office cleaners; they receive no alimony or child support. A. was diagnosed with breast cancer in October and is currently getting chemotherapy treatments and is too weak to work. Her sick leave has run out and the family of five is struggling to make ends meet on the older daughter’s small salary. In addition, the hospital is more than an hour away, and traveling on several buses after treatments is very difficult for A. The Lemonade Fund awarded A. a grant to help her with transportation and living costs during this critical time. We wish her a speedy recovery.
C., is a 67 year old retiree from the south. She is divorced and living alone on a pension of less than NIS 3000 per month. Her breast cancer recurred after almost 20 years and is now stage IV, metastatic, having spread throughout her body. She is weak and needs extra help in many ways. Her social workers turned to the Lemonade Fund to ask for financial assistance for C. and a grant was awarded.
Thank you for helping us help these patients.
To donate: http://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/
L., originally from Uzbekistan, is a married grandmother who was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer recently. She and her husband, who is disabled, are the legal guardians of their 12 year old grandson, who lives with them. Until her diagnosis L. was the family breadwinner, but due to treatments, she can no longer work. Now the small family is living solely on her husband’s disability, and National Health Insurance benefits for her and her grandson, and they are in financial distress. The Lemonade Fund awarded them a grant to help them through this difficult time.
M., a 30 year old young mother from a remote town in the south, was diagnosed with breast cancer in her second trimester of pregnancy. She and her husband had a successful salon before her diagnosis but M. hasn’t been able to work during treatment and her husband has had to reduce his hours in order to help M., as well as to care for their 4 other young children. Disability hasn’t yet come through and they have fallen into debt. They’ve had to leave their home and move in with M.’s parents. Their application to the Lemonade fund was granted and it will help them pay for childcare, daily living expenses and transportation to the hospital.
This month’s Lemonade Fund Profiles is dedicated to Etana Gordon Friedman, z’l, who passed away this month, after a long battle with breast cancer. Etana was a good friend of the Lemonade Fund, an inspiration. We are fortunate to have known her.
The Lemonade Fund is deeply saddened to report the passing of our wonderful friend and supporter, Etana Gordon Friedman, Etana Sara bat Hadassah. As a breast cancer patient herself, Etana helped the Lemonade fund assist impoverished Israeli breast cancer patients. She seemed to always be thinking of others, first her loved ones, and then those who were less fortunate. We send our love and support to her family during this difficult time. Baruch dayan emet. This photo was taken at a concert that Etana’s marvelous children created and performed in, as a ‘segula’ for healing. Admission was charged so that all monies could be donated to two charities that were dear to Etana. One was a local Petach Tikvah soup kitchen and the other was the Lemonade Fund. Substantial funds were raised and we honored Etana’s request that all monies donated from this event be earmarked for widows and orphans. Etana was an inspiration and we honor her memory.
M., is a young married mother of two young children (ages 2 and 1) from the south. She was recently diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and her hospital social worker applied to the Lemonade Fund for financial assistance for her. M. is unable to work as she is undergoing neoadjucant chemotherary, which will hopefully shrink her tumor prior to surgery. Following surgery, M. will undergo weeks of radiation. Her husband has his own small business, but he’s had a hard time juggling work and care for his wife and small children, and his business has suffered. M. is additionally traumatized as she lost her mother to breast cancer recently. She and her mother had been very close, and her extended family is unable to help her. The Lemonade Fund issued a grant to M. to help her and her husband weather this difficult period and we wish them well.
C., in her thirties, was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in July. Her marriage ended in September and she is now the single mother of an 8 year old. C. is a professional, who had a good job prior to her diagnosis, but her deteriorating health has made it impossible for her to continue working and she has exhausted her work benefits. She has no savings, and alimony and National Health Insurance (Bituach Leumi) payments leave her with just enough money for necessities. Catastrophic illness brings with it extra costs, such as the need for babysitting, household help, transportation, etc., and we at the Lemonade Fund are grateful to be able to help with these kinds of ancillary costs. We hope that the grant we gave C. will help ease her financial stress so that she can concentrate on recovery. Unfortunately, we are seeing more and more young people with breast cancer.
People of all ages need have extra expenses when they fall ill, but young parents seem to have even more. Please help us to help them. Thank you!
To donate: http://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/