A Time to Laugh and a Time to Cry
“How did I become an EFRAT volunteer?
When I began volunteering for EFRAT, my sister and brother in law had been married for over 9 years without children. The entire family had accompanied them throughout the long years, sharing their longing, tears and prayers.
I decided that I had to do something concrete to help and I took it upon myself to volunteer for EFRAT, an organization that helps those women who are given the blessing of a child, but sadly do not have the tools to cope with this in their lives. I knew too well the other side of the story, the perspective of my sister, who did indeed have the tools but had not yet been bestowed with the blessing.
I decided that if there are women who have merited this beautiful blessing but just need a little help to bring it to fruition, I wanted to be part of the process. I wanted to help them to bring the blessing of a child into their lives. I committed myself to dedicating the merit of my voluntary work at EFRAT to my sister and her husband. Not only this, but whenever I was able to donate some money to support EFRAT’s work, I said a small prayer. When possible, my sister and brother in law also supported EFRAT with their own donations.
After almost 11 years my sister gave birth to a son. I do not understand G-d’s calculations and I have no idea if or to what extent my volunteering helped them. I would like to think that it has a small connection to the salvation they merited.
EFRAT accompanied me through hard times and I am so grateful now to be able to share our time of joy.”
What Goes Around Comes Around
“A few months ago I attended a first aid course.” Netanel told me.”One day I was on my way home and I heard the sound of brakes screeching. I didn’t think twice and ran over to help. A woman had been injured by a passing car. I and another man nearby administered immediate first aid to the woman until the ambulance arrived. A few days later, I decided to go into the hospital to see the lady who had been hurt; her name was Leah.”
Netanel continued, “It seemed that the doctors had told Leah how fortunate she was that people had carried out first aid. She had wanted to thank whoever had helped her but she had no way of knowing who we were. When I arrived, Leah was emotional and effusive in her blessings. I was embarrassed and told her that I was only a messenger, at right place at the right time”
“Leah noticed that I had a repaired cleft lip. She began to ask me questions, where I lived, who my parents were etc. I felt uncomfortable and asked her why these questions were so important. She told me that 15 years ago she had heard about a woman who was carrying a baby with a cleft lip, and wanted to terminate her pregnancy. The news had reached Leah on a Friday and when she herself had no success in convincing the woman of the value of the life she was carrying, Leah turned to Dr. Schussheim from EFRAT. After Shabbat Dr. Schussheim called Leah to tell her what had transpired. Dr. Schussheim had made immediate contact with the woman and the conversation had extended well into Shabbat. He explained to her that a cleft lip is something relatively mild which can be fixed almost completely. Leah told me that when she heard my personal details she realized that I was the child born to that woman.”
“What could I say? Only within the family was it known that my mother had thought of terminating and that it was her consultation with Dr. Schussheim that had influenced her to change her mind. After this incident, my parents told me that the fact that Dr. Schussheim had continued to talk to my mother even though Shabbat had come in, made a deep impression on her. It proved how important it was to him to impart the message that my mother was carrying the life of a child.” Netanel concluded, “My family became religious soon after I was born. My mother often mentioned how grateful she was that she had kept me.”