“God, you have drawn me up and not let my enemies rejoice over me. My God, I cried out to you and you healed me.” (Psalm 30)
It would be easy to be depressed about what has been happening in Israel lately. We are being attacked, within our borders, and we are doing our best to defend ourselves. In truth, there have been losses of many bright young men in the prime of their lives, or of innocent civilians, and the cry of mourners can be heard in almost every corner of our land, of our region. We are facing formidable foes, and though we are united in our resolve and strong in military might, it is human nature to be fearful and sad.
We at the Lemonade Fund deal with assisting people who are seriously ill. Those who are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness face the personal battle of their lives. They succumb to hopelessness at times, and fear is their steady companion.
How, then, do we find hope during times of such profound worry and sadness? The Ninth of Av, the saddest day of the Jewish year, begins tonight, and the meaning of the day lends a clue to finding solace during hard times. Tisha B’Av commemorates one Jewish tragedy after another, each one could have threatened future Jewish sustainability. Yet, through it all, we as a people have survived. It is said that baseless hatred between Jews, between brothers, brought about these periods of destruction. More likely, it was a lack of kindness, consideration and tolerance that caused us to work against one another. We are powerful when we come together, as the current situation in Israel has shown. As a nation, we are experiencing unity as never before, and there are immense national and spiritual benefits to this. Our enemies haven’t rejoiced over us.
If this terrible war can help us to learn about the benefits of unity and we can continue to act with kindness and tolerance toward one another, something good will have come out of all of this.
As we did at the same time last year we at the Lemonade Fund ask that you take on simple acts of goodness. (The Lemonade Fund was founded during the week of Tisha B’Av and this week we mark our 3 year anniversary.) Our particular focus is illness. Most of the breast cancer patients who have received Lemonade Fund grants are desperately ill. The poor often don’t get medical help until disease is advanced. Many are young and single parents. Children are impacted. Many of our recipients are from communities in the south that have been particularly hard hit during Operation Protective Edge.
Please take a moment tonight and tomorrow to have these patients in mind. If it is your way, please pray for them. (You can read many of their stories on the website, http://www.lemonadefund.org/profiles.) Volunteer at the Lemonade Fund; we welcome all volunteers. Or reach out to someone you may know who is ill. Call them, text them, visit them, connect with their caregivers and offer support. Reach out to a stranger who is needy or lonely. Just Reach Out.
May this day go from being a day of mourning to a day of celebration. May we all stay safe and see peace soon.
Thanks, the Lemonade Fund.
S., 44 years old, from a city in the center of the country, applied to the Lemonade Fund when she felt she had no where else to turn. S., recently diagnosed with breast cancer, lives with her elderly mother (who requires full-time care) and her husband who is no longer able to work as a butcher due to mental illness. S. was unable to have children but has worked for many years with disabled children. Due to the side effects of chemotherapy she is currently not working and her small family is living on minimal disability payments. She has fallen behind on many payments as well and debts are piling up. The Lemonade Fund was created in order to help breast cancer patients weather difficult financial times so that they can concentrate on recovery. S. was awarded a generous grant and we wish her a swift recovery.
T., 61 years old, is a divorced mother of three, living on a small pension in a fourth floor walk up in Kiryat Malachi, a town in the south that has been hard hit during Operation Protective Edge. Breast cancer, originally diagnosed seventeen years ago, has returned and metastasized. She is in a great deal of pain and applied to the Lemonade Fund for help to pay for pain medicines that are not fully covered by insurance as well as for assistance with travel expenses to the hospital where she is being treated. (Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva.) We at the Lemonade Fund hope that T.’s grant will help alleviate some of the considerable pain and stress that she is under at this point.