Profiles in Courage – Feb/March 2017

This is the story of the son of a breast cancer patient. F. is a young Israeli soldier in the Golani unit whose mother was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer. She is having trouble coping with the disease physically and emotionally. As she is a widow, F., the oldest son, is tasked with all manner of caring for his mother. The family is in desperate straits financially. (They live on disability payments and F’s army salary.)  The Lemonade Fund called the telephone number listed on his mother’s application, and we were surprised to reach F., in the field. Whenever he has a break he deals with his mother’s paperwork, doctor appointments, etc. We often see how caregivers in indigent families of breast cancer patients need help, too. We are happy to send a grant to F.’s mother and we hope it brings the entire family some well-needed relief.

To donate to the Lemonade Fund:

https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Profiles in Courage – January 2017

A., a 52 year old immigrant from Georgia, lives alone in a housing project in the south. She is divorced with older children with whom she has lost contact. She has long-term issues with drug abuse and mental illness and now she has a new diagnosis of breast cancer. She is very fearful about breast cancer in part because of the financial burden. She lives completely on her small disability pension, with little money to spare. Her hospital social workers reached out to the Lemonade Fund on her behalf, requesting a grant to help A. with extra transportation and basic living costs during the challenging period ahead of her. We hope this grant gives her some peace of mind.

R. has a similar story, divorced with no family support, except that she is older than A., and her breast cancer has advanced and is now terminal. She lives in the center of the country on a small pension. R. is asking for a Lemonade Fund grant to help pay for extra household and nursing help beyond that which is provided by National Health Insurance. She prefers to stay home as long as possible, only moving to hospice care at the last possible moment. Additional financial help will help her achieve this wish.

To Donate to the Lemonade Fund: https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Thank you.

Profiles in Courage – November 2016

F., a 52 year old woman from Sderot with Stage 4 breast cancer, applied to the Lemonade Fund with an unusually straightforward request. “I just need a break so I can rest and gain some strength. My son is getting married soon.” F. is in a great deal of pain from metastases to her bones; it is hard for her to walk. Despite this she has been running her household as her husband is disabled. The family is living on disability payments alone and this isn’t enough to pay for extra household help. The Lemonade Fund was created to give one-time grants to help breast cancer patients and their families weather crisis moments during treatment. We are happy to help F., and her family during this difficult time.

B. is a 49 year old divorced mother of three. Her youngest child is 14 and she lives with B. full time. B. was diagnosed with breast cancer in April soon after declaring bankruptcy of a small business. She had been working in temporary jobs to repay her debts but hasn’t been able to work since starting chemotherapy and the small family is struggling to pay for even basic needs. In addition, B. has a long commute to the hospital and her transportation costs are high. The Lemonade Fund awarded B. a grant to help with basic living costs so she can focus on the important work of recovery.

Please remember the Lemonade Fund on GIVING TUESDAY:

https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Thank you.

Profiles in Courage – September 2016

D. has a noble story. She is 51 and she lives in a central town with her elderly mother and her college-aged daughter. As a single mother, she supported her mother and daughter working as a home health aide. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 which unfortunately has now metastasized extensively, and D. can no longer work. D.’s daughter, a law student, tries to help with her mother and grandmother in the evenings, after school. The family is obviously struggling financially with basic needs, but D.’s strongest wish is to see her daughter through law school. D. needs help in the house but doesn’t want her daughter to have to stop studying to care for her. A grant from the Lemonade Fund will supply some much needed financial support during this difficult time, so that D. can hire some assistance in the house for herself and her mother. And she can enjoy seeing her daughter continue her studies.

To donate to the Lemonade Fund:

https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Thank you for helping us help needy Israeli breast cancer patients who find themselves in financial crisis.

Profiles in Courage – August 2016

E., 33, lives in a Bedouin community near Beer Sheva. She discovered a lump in her breast near the end of her first pregnancy. E. had overcome years of infertility to carry a child and she is now facing an early induced labor with immediate breast cancer treatment to follow. With the help of her Social Worker, E. wrote to the Lemonade Fund requesting financial assistance for the period after the birth. She is afraid of not being able to cope with the treatments and her baby at the same time and is asking for money to hire help. Her husband is unemployed but is looking for work and her mother is dealing with her own bout of breast cancer.

H. is a middle-aged divorced mother of 3 grown children from a coastal city. who has had her share of challenges in the last 10 years. Her youngest son was severely injured in the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and after years of rehabilitation he is finally able to move out and begin university. H. feels that the stress of her son’s ordeal and PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome,) has had an impact on her own health. She has survived two kinds of cancer and was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she formerly had a high level career, helping her son and dealing with her own illnesses necessitated her withdrawal from her work, and the family fell into debt. H. is a proud woman who hasn’t yet asked for help but she is reeling from the side effects of chemotherapy and now feels she must seek help. Her Social Worker recommended she apply to the Lemonade Fund until she gets back on her feet.

Both women. (and others like them,)  were awarded grants from the Lemonade Fund and we wish them well.

To help women like E. and H., please donate here: https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Thank you!

 

 

6 Years, 5 Years and 78 Years

On July 20, 2010, my life was turned upside down by a diagnosis, out of the blue, of breast cancer. I will never forget the feeling of complete devastation upon hearing the news that day. I had been fasting, as it was Tisha B’Av, the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. A day of mourning, 9 Av is the saddest day of the Jewish year, marking the destruction of Jerusalem (twice,) as well as other calamities (pogroms, expulsions, wars, etc.) that have befallen Jews throughout history, on this date. Collective sadness became deeply personal as I suddenly faced my own mortality.

As Tisha B’Av approaches this year (Sunday, August 14, beginning at sundown the night before,) I am grateful to be celebrating six years of health since that fateful day. Another year of watching children become adults, of love and personal and professional fulfillment. Another year (our fifth anniversary!) of turning lemons into lemonade at the Lemonade Fund, https://lemonadefund.org/movie-what-the-lemonade-fund-does/, providing grants to Israeli breast cancer patients who are in financial crisis. Nothing but pure gratitude for the gift of life and the ability to move forward.

It is easy to see the parallel between recovery from a serious illness and the fast of Tisha B’Av. How do we as a people rebuild, and even improve, after near total destruction? Every year I now feel graced to find a message of hope on this saddest of days. It comes this year care of my mother, Vera Greenwald, z.l.

vera photo

My mother died suddenly of a massive stroke, in February, at the age of 78, at the height of her career, and if ever there was a tale of rising from the ashes, it was hers. Her life story is one of miracles, survival and rebirth.

My mother was born in Presov, a city in eastern Czechoslovakia that had an active Jewish community of about 8000. Once the war began, her parents had the foresight to begin to run early on, while many were sitting tight. While they were waiting for false papers, my grandmother had a way of hiding in plain sight. It was known that the Nazis worked on a schedule, that they had specific hours when they’d enter the city to round up Jews. My grandmother would take my mother early each morning to Kosice, the next town, and they’d wait in the high reeds by the river all day, only to return each evening after the Nazis had left.

Once this became untenable, they began to run in earnest. One time, while hiding in the house of a righteous Gentile, my very young mother was told to keep completely silent for hours, beneath a pile of potatoes, while the Nazi’s banged their guns and shouted, hunting for Jews. My  mother has a memory of clasping her hands together, and promising God over and over again, that if she survived, she would even eat barley soup that she despised.

mom child

Eventually hiding in houses became too dangerous and there was no where to go but into hiding in the forests, where my mother and her parents lived with a small group of Jews. They lived in primitive wooden bunkers, 12 people in one, and 17 in the other. Many times they were near death from starvation, living on nothing but  rose hips, or foraged greens boiled in melted snow, only to find food one way or another. Many times they couldn’t light fires for fear of the smoke being seen, and it is a miracle that they didn’t freeze to death in the winter months.

Another time, a Russian soldier warned them to disperse, to flee, moments before the Nazis came and found their bunker and razed it to the ground. My mother and her parents hid behind one tree, silently, for a long time, in the bitter cold, while the Nazi’s scoured the woods. They watched as other families were found, just meters away from where they hid. Yet in daylight, in a winter forest with no leaves, they were not caught. My grandmother told of the family scurrying up a sheer ice-covered cliff, at night. She remembered that they all had bloody knees by the time they reached the top. She said that she never knew how they were able to climb that mountain, in the cold and dark. My mother was a very young child at the time.

Somehow those who survived this attack, rebuilt the bunkers, much deeper in the woods. My mother remembers Passover seders in the bunker. My grandfather kept track of the calendar with a match on the wall and recited the Haggadah, the Passover story, by heart. As the end of the war was nearing this small band of Jews were so close to starvation that they decided to risk their lives to venture to the nearest village to get food. They had one valuable watch remaining, to use as a bribe. At the last moment my grandfather and the other men were given a sign that they were falling into a trap and they turned back. Days later they were liberated.

Their family was almost completely wiped out and there was no home to which to return. Very few Slovakian Jewish children survived the war. In post-war Prague, where my mother and her parents lived for two years after the war, no one believed my mother’s story of survival. They said it was impossible, that no children her age survived. She would tell them that she was saved by a miracle.

postwar pix

In the years that followed, my mother and her parents were fortunate to build a new life, near my grandfather’s sister,  in America. In 1959, my mother met the man of her dreams, my father, and thus began a love affair that was to last 53 years, until my father passed away. They had children, grandchildren and careers. My mother was a brilliant businesswoman, working until the day she died. She was dazzling and a bundle of energy. She was also loving, kind and charitable. In her last years, as the number of Holocaust survivors dwindled, she took it upon herself to speak to groups of young people at public schools about her wartime experiences. She began each talk with this sentence,

“YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK.”

vera pix 1

The Talmud (Rosh Hashannah, 18B,) states that,  “at a time when there is peace, they (the fast days) shall be transformed into days of joy and happiness.” In honor of the memory of my wonderful mother, Vera Greenwald, z.l., let us try harder than ever this Tisha B’Av to work on reconstruction. On building a society that is more cohesive, unified and at peace. One that is just and kind. That is inclusive rather than rejecting; one that reaches out to others who are different than us. Let us help those who are more unfortunate in a way that preserves their dignity. Let us be concerned about the welfare of those living within our borders. Let us avoid senseless hatred. In deference to those who survived and rebuilt their lives, let us heal the rifts that divide us. We are stronger than we think. Just as the body can heal, societies, too, can be repaired.

In honor of our parents, my brothers, Joel and Daniel Greenwald, and I, are inaugurating the Martin and Vera Greenwald Memorial Lemonade Fund. Throughout their lives our parents were charitable to those in need and showed deep compassion for those who were ill. And they loved Israel. After it was founded, in 2011, our parents were proud supporters of the Lemonade Fund. Though they never had breast cancer, they had a daughter who had had it, and they saw the anguish that accompanies the disease. They were sensitive to the need for an Israeli emergency financial relief fund for indigent Israeli breast cancer patients.

To donate to the Lemonade Fund:

https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Thank you.

Wishing everyone an easy fast and years of good health and peace.

Shari

 

 

Profiles in Courage – June 2016

We at the Lemonade Fund often see how cancer can devastate a family financially in no time. E., a 73 year old Russian immigrant, lives with her unmarried daughter in a small apartment in a development town in the south. Until E. was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, the salary from the daughter’s factory job supported the two women. Subsequently, E.’s daughter lost so much time from work caring for her mother, accompanying her to doctor appointments and treatments, that the family slid into financial crisis. Despite assistance from Bituach Leumi, (National Health Insurance,) eviction was a possibility. The Lemonade Fund awarded E. a generous grant, and E. and her daughter can breathe again and turn their focus back to E. and her health. We are, as ever, grateful to all of our donors, who help us make this kind of assistance possible.

To donate: https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Profiles in Courage – May 2016

M. and her husband, a gentle couple in their mid-sixties, recently made aliyah from South America. Despite their limited Hebrew, they found jobs and were doing well. Within the last year, M.’s husband was laid off from his job and M. discovered a lump and was diagnosed with breast cancer. Due to the side effects of chemotherapy, M. cannot work and the couple is now living solely on M.’s husband’s unemployment benefits. They’ve slid from solvency to financial crisis and they are feeling desperate. The Lemonade Fund was created for just such situations – and a Lemonade Fund grant was awarded to help tide them over and alleviate M.’s financial stress so she can focus on getting well.

H. has had a hard life by any standards. Yet she is proud and not accustomed to asking for help. She is a widow, living alone in the center of the country, suffering from mental illness and now breast cancer. She was orphaned at the age of 5 and was subsequently raised by various adults who mistreated her. When she was 29, her husband was killed in a car accident, leaving her to raise her two young children alone. She continued to work and support herself even after a diagnosis of schizophrenia. She has helped her daughter, who was also diagnosed with cancer, as a young mother. H. lives in a dilapidated flat without an elevator and is now quite ill from her treatments. She needs help with shopping, cooking and cleaning while she is so weak, but she has no extra money. Her social worker urged her to apply to the Lemonade Fund, and we were happy to award H. a grant to pay for some extra help. We wish H. (and her daughter,) a full recovery.

To donate to the Lemonade Fund: https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Thank you.

 

Profiles in Courage – April 2016

Even among the hardship cases at the Lemonade Fund, N.’s case stands out. N. is a divorced mother of five from the south. Her youngest son committed suicide during his army service. She has two severely mentally handicapped children. One daughter is a widow with four young children, and another child was taken in by a foster family when N. could no longer cope. The family has never had an easy time financially and when N. was first diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in 2012, she was awarded a Lemonade Fund grant. This month we received a second application from N.’s social worker saying that N.’s breast cancer had returned and is now Stage 4. The Lemonade Fund gives one-time grants but sees recurrences as new disease as patients must undergo treatment again. N.’s widowed daughter tries to help her mother as much as she can, but she is struggling herself. Thanks to your contributions, the Lemonade Fund awarded N. a generous grant. This grant will help N. and her children. N.’s social worker reported that she called to tell N. that the Lemonade Fund was helping her again, and N. cried and said that this will be a good Passover holiday thanks to “Keren Limonana.”

To donate to the Lemonade Fund:

https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

Thank you very much!

Profiles in Courage – March 2016 (and a cool recipe)

G. and her husband, a couple in their mid 50’s, from northern Israel, were living an average Israeli life. Married, with 2 adult children, they were doing well until illness struck. Recently, G.’s husband was diagnosed with a psychiatric problem that rendered him unfit to work. As a result, G., developed stress-related disorders, such as diabetes and heart problems, followed by a breast cancer diagnosis. She is now getting chemotherapy and neither spouse can work. They are barely making ends meet on their disability benefits, and they’ve gone into debt. Their financial situation is causing both G. and her husband, enormous stress, and their case was referred to the Lemonade Fund by G.’s social worker. It is important to note that many of our grant recipients recover from their illnesses and go on to rebuild their lives, financially. The Lemonade Fund was created to help alleviate crushing economic pressure that can hit even formerly solvent families as a result of a breast cancer diagnosis. It is our privilege to help.

One of the ways we express joy and gratitude on the upcoming holiday of Purim is through ‘matanot l’evyonim,’ helping the poor. Please consider a donation to the Lemonade Fund as your ‘matana l’evyonim,’ this Purim. Thank you.

https://lemonadefund.org/to-donate/

(This month’s Profile is dedicated in memory of Vera Greenwald, a staunch supporter of the Lemonade Fund.)

Ingredients & Quantities

Hamentashen

  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) natural margarine, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz) shortening, cut into 8 pieces
  • 3 cups (13.5 oz, 380 g) flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (7.5 oz) sugar
  • 2 ounces almond paste, crumbled into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup poppy seeds
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2-4 Tablespoons ice water
  • 1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water, lightly beaten
  • lemon curd for filling (see below for recipe)

Meyer Lemon Curd

  • grated zest of 4 meyer lemons
  • 3/4 cup fresh meyer lemon juice
  • 3 yolks and 3 whole eggs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 cup (9.5 oz) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil
Lemon Poppyseed Hamentashen recipe

Preparation Instructions

Hamentashen

Pulse the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, almond paste and lemon zest in the food processor until well combined. Add the poppy seeds and pulse to combine. Add the margarine and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Add the beaten eggs and pulse until combined.

Remove the mixture from the food processor and pour it into a large bowl. Sprinkle with two tablespoons of ice water and mix until it comes together into a ball. If the dough seems dry add the remaining water juice.

Divide the dough in half and roll each piece out between two sheets of lightly floured parchment paper. Stack the dough, with parchment attached, on a large cookie sheet and chill for at least 30 minutes, or until firm.

Remove dough from the refrigerator and cut into circles using a round cutter or the mouth of a drinking glass. Fill each circle with a small amount of filling. (For 2 inch circles use about a teaspoon of filling). Brush each circle with the egg wash and fold two sides together, pinching tight to make a corner. Fold up the remaining side to make a triangle with the filling showing in the middle and pinch the other two corners well. It is important that they are well pinched, so that they do not come open in the oven.

Bake at 350 until they are slightly firm to the touch, about 11 minutes.

Meyer Lemon Curd

Combine all the ingredients except oil in a saucepan. Whisk to combine. Cook, stirring constantly over medium-heat, until the curd thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Strain the mixture and stir in the oil. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 1-2 hours or until set. (Can be made up to 3 days ahead. Keep covered in the refrigerator.)