Several weeks ago, Rivka’s world was shaken when her son, Moshe – along with six of his fellow IDF soldiers – was injured in a firefight with terrorists in Gaza.
This was not the first time Moshe had defended Israel in direct combat in Gaza, having also served in 2014’s Operation Protective Edge. Now a reserve soldier, he was among the some 300,000 reservists drafted in response to Hamas’ heinous October 7th attack.
Miraculously, Moshe and his fellow soldiers survived the ordeal, having each played a crucial role in saving one another’s lives through their camaraderie and courageous actions.
Once extracted from Gaza, they received initial treatment at Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. What unfolded was a story of fortitude, resilience, and a testament to the far-reaching impact of the spirit of unity and mutual care embodied by the People of Israel, including Yad Sarah.
At the hospital, the family immediately encountered an outpouring of chesed and support, thanks to volunteers from both Israel and abroad, who appeared constantly with gifts, messages of support, and musical performances.
One Shabbat, a Chabad family living next to the hospital invited Rivka and her husband along with some 30 people for meals, including a group of American volunteer doctors. Rivka’s family had been traveling the hour-long journey from Jerusalem to Ashkelon daily to be by their son’s side during his hospitalization. At one point, the couple was able to stay in a nearby apartment after the owner, who was temporarily overseas, graciously offered it to them for free.
Two weeks later, Moshe was released from the hospital, and the acts of compassion continued as he began rehabilitation for a severe arm injury that has left him with very limited use of his hand. He attends physical therapy twice a week at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, and has received medical equipment from Yad Sarah that is aiding in his recovery, including a wrist brace and therapy putty. He is one of the thousands of wounded soldiers whose rehabilitation is supported by the organization.
“A friend who’d received assistance from Yad Sarah while caring for her elderly parents recommended I turn to the organization for the supplies,” says Rivka, who made aliyah 40 years ago from San Diego before starting her family here. “From the first phone call I made to Yad Sarah, the experience was nothing short of wonderful.”
When she told the Yad Sarah volunteer phone operator that she wanted to borrow a wrist brace for her son who was injured in Gaza, he was immediately enthusiastic and eager to help.
“Each volunteer we encountered was cheerful and efficient even at the end of the day, expressing a genuine desire to go above and beyond in helping others,” she recalls.
Rivka received a brand new wrist brace with customized straps for her son.
“In addition to direct help the brace provides, we received a warm feeling knowing everyone wants to go the extra mile and work as efficiently as possible to help wounded soldiers,” she adds.
Before turning to Yad Sarah, Rivka had explored other options for the brace, however, the costs were high. At Yad Sarah, she was able to receive the item for her son free of charge with only an ILS 50 deposit.
Her connection to Yad Sarah resonates further, too, as she recounts volunteering at Jerusalem headquarters teaching folk dance to seniors. The spirit of volunteerism and community support left a lasting impression.
“The dedication of volunteers to aid soldiers, including from the charedi (ultra-Orthodox) community that founded Yad Sarah, reflects a genuine desire to help with enthusiasm and ratzon (will) that’s very beautiful,” she says.
Rivka credits the kindhearted support and assistance emerging from all corners, for inspiring hope as Moshe continues his rehabilitation and as Israeli society continues to work toward a safer, healthier and stronger unified nation under the duress of war.
*Names have been changed for the privacy of the family