Aaron Yehuda is a Yad Sarah volunteer who lives in Jerusalem. His entire family is from Kiryat Shmona in Northern Israel, about three miles south of the border with Lebanon; his mother and sisters still live there. However, after war broke out following the October 7 onslaught, rocket and artillery attacks began in Northern Israel, making it impossible for residents to remain there. The city began evacuating, starting with the elderly. Many of Kiryat Shmona’s elderly residents arrived in Jerusalem at Yad Sarah’s “Yirmiyahu 33” Rehabilitation and Wellness Hotel. Aaron Yehuda’s mother, Esther, 88 years old at the time, was one of those people.
Esther stayed at the hotel for weeks along with her caregiver, but unfortunately, she suffered from a stroke and passed away in November. Yad Sarah made sure the family had a place to mourn and made half a floor available for the family while they sat shiva. With many people from Kiryat Shmona finding temporary shelter across the country, the family was able to receive guests in the hotel, as they came to pay their respects, having traveled especially to be with them.
“My mother was known throughout Kiryat Shmona as a woman who gave whatever she could to the community, living hand to mouth herself,” said Aaron. “She brought food to families during times of happiness and grief, and even gave food to some families on a daily basis. Our family was grateful we were able to receive support during this especially difficult time.”
The Yehuda family also experienced a miracle recently. Aaron’s son, an officer in the IDF stationed at Har Dov, where Lebanon and Syria meet Israel, was badly injured in battle on October 14th. When artillery was fired at Har Dov, Aaron’s son ordered his soldiers to enter the bunker while he checked to make sure that there were no holes in the fence that could be penetrated. He was injured by the fire, but thanks to a fast-thinking medic, his life was saved and he was transported by helicopter to Rambam hospital in Haifa. Aaron’s son is still hospitalized, but he knows that when he is released and will begin his long journey to recovery, Yad Sarah will be there for him with equipment and support.
Aaron knows just how much the organization is doing to make a difference in the lives of almost every family in Israel because he has been a volunteer at Yad Sarah Headquarters in Jerusalem for many years. He currently is a tour guide at the Visitor’s Center, where he speaks to people about the many services offered at Yad Sarah beyond its well-known medical device lending center. Even with his mother’s passing and his son’s injury, Aaron remains dedicated to volunteering and finds comfort in sharing Yad Sarah’s impact with visitors.