web analytics
September 24, 2014 / 29 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



He Who Saves The Life Of Even One Jew Is Likened To One Who Has Saved An Entire World

Pachter-091313-Efrat

Rosh Hashanah, the start of the High Holidays, was fast approaching. I had promised myself that this year would be different. For years I have followed their activities with a mild interest, just an observer, as though their concerns were not my own, but this year, in the wake of recent media storms and false accusations, I promised myself that I would finally take a stand.  I would go down to their Jerusalem office and see for myself. And I did. As I pushed open the doors of their rather nondescript office I took a deep breath – welcome to largest life saving industry in all of Israel – Agudat Efrat.

Efrat, the Society for the Encouragement of Procreation among the Jewish People, was founded by Mr. Herschel Feignebaum z”l a Holocaust survivor who sought to rebuild all that the Nazis, may their names be blotted out, thought to destroy – namely the continued survival of the Jewish people.
His vision was a shared one, with David Ben-Gurion the leader of the fledging State of Israel, offering substantial government grants to growing families.

I was surprised to discover that although Efrat’s offices appear unremarkable, its interior is a hubbub of activity. Piles of leaflets, documents and gifts occupy almost all their (spotlessly clean!) surfaces while social workers and volunteers go about their work.

After cornering Dr. Eli Schussheim the two of us searched in vain for a quiet, unoccupied spot to talk.

“I am so sorry about this” he said to me apologetically, not realizing how badly I felt the need to apologize to him. Pachter-091313-Clothes

Eventually we found ourselves a little niche that was anything but quiet. I took a few minutes to look through a Rosh Hashanah booklet that is part of their New Year mailing campaign. They aim to send one along with a Kriyat Shema to every Beit Knesset in the United States and the United Kingdom. This is the work of Dr. Schussheim, a cheerful, vivacious, well-loved doctor who has made it his business to save Jewish lives. Who, if not him, will stand in front of the heavenly scales on the eve of the Day of Judgment to silence our accusers?

Dr. Schussheim’s involvement in Efrat began over thirty years ago when a woman came into his clinic with her eight year old son whose hand had been gashed. The doctor treated the wound and before she left, the woman said the following:

“Thank you, Dr. Schussheim, I want you to know that I owe the life of my child to you! Many years ago I underwent a series of x-rays. A short time later I discovered that I was pregnant. The doctors were adamant that the x-rays had impacted my unborn child and that he undoubtedly would be born severely deformed.  They advised me to terminate the pregnancy as quickly as possible. I did not know what to do and then someone suggested I come see you.

Pachter-091313-Truck“You assured me that the doctors were quoting long outdated research information, which had been totally disproved by modern science.  The X-rays had not impacted the fetus. I was not to worry. As a result of your reassurance I followed through with the pregnancy and this child is a living testimony to the accuracy of your words.”

This event changed Dr. Schussheim’s life.  Dr. Schussheim is a veteran surgeon in Sharei Tzedek hospital and previously had been at Hadassah Ein Kerem.

“I studied medicine so I could save lives,” Dr. Schussheim says. “And here, with a simple piece of advice, I was able to save this child’s life. Let’s not forget that a human being is not an individual – I saved his life and the lives of all his future generations.”

Since then Dr. Schussheim first worked as a volunteer and now serves as the chairman of Efrat, an organization that offers support and physical assistance to women who are contemplating abortion for financial reasons.

I am surprised to hear that the majority of women who turn to Efrat are married.

“Their financial situation is such that the couple can barely cover day-to-day expenses,” says Dr. Schussheim “and the thought of another mouth to feed brings them to the brink of despair. They feel trapped. However, it is obvious from the fact that they seek our services that they are looking for a way to save their child; women who are determined to abort don’t come to us seeking an alternative option.  Pachter-091313-Crib

“And this is where Efrat comes into the picture. We examine each case on an individual basis and offer encouragement to the expectant mother throughout her pregnancy. We have a team of volunteers who will run errands, even going to the bank if necessary, or undertake other tasks that seem too overwhelming for her. Finally we offer financial assistance to those in need.”

As a mother of children myself I am warmed by his words, after all is there anything more precious than the smile of a child?

When we had finished talking, I visited the storeroom.  There I was greeted by the smell of fresh wood.

A brand new bed stood to the side waiting to be claimed. Crates of dolls lined the shelves – a gift from Australia. Hundreds of baby boy suits, still in their packets, sat alongside stacks of single, and double, baby carriages. And lined up on the floor near the door were countless parcels waiting for pickup and delivery. Their addresses cover the length of breath of Israel, from Eilat to Jerusalem. I took a peek inside one of the packages and saw diapers, formula, bottles, and food items for an entire family.

I looked around me at the well stocked shelves, the parcels packed with love, and indeed the Rosh Hashanah cards with the simanim and I lifted my head heavenward in a silent prayer.

“Merciful G-d in heaven,” I said “take these packages, and the tears – those of anguish, and those of joy – and take all the babies saved by Efrat, and place them on the scale…”

In my mind’s eye I watched as the scale dipped lower and lower

“…and I have no doubt that Your beloved Jewish people will emerge triumphant.”

A sweet new year to all!

About the Author: Sarah Pachter lives in Israel and writes for a number of publications. She is the author of the book "Supermom? (Who? Me?)"


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “He Who Saves The Life Of Even One Jew Is Likened To One Who Has Saved An Entire World”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.
New York City Site of Huge Rally Against Met’s Klinghoffer Opera
Latest Indepth Stories
William Safire

“It’s a lousy column and a dishonest one,” Halberstam wrote. “So close it. Or you will end up just as shabby as Safire.”

Particularly galling was the complaint by one Jo Anne Simon about Judge Dear’s supposed “mobilizing on behalf of apartheid and his insensitivity to minority communities.”

Whatever one has to say about Iran, it does have clout in the Middle East and the Gulf region and could play a key role in addressing the ISIS threat.

Rav Shlomo Wolbe states that every member of Klal Yisrael is dependent on the entire nation just as a leaf depends on the tree from which it grows.

“Israel must prepare for waves of immigrants from Arab countries, which may endanger its existence”

“I pray that fellow Jews open their eyes & connect themselves to the national side of being a Jew”

The big service ISIS is doing the West right now is checking Iranian power, just as the Sunni rebels inside Syria are keeping the Iranian agent Hezbollah in check, and just as the PLO is keeping Hamas in check, at least to some degree.

Research shows that high doses of marijuana can produce acute psychotic reactions, lower IQ in teens

The current missionary problem in Samaria is still relatively unknown throughout Israel&to most Jews

Rosh Hashanah is a universal, stock-taking, renewal and hopeful holiday,

No mutual clash between parties, it was Jews repeatedly attacked by Arabs, not the other way around.

Israel would love to be in the coalition,but it’s never going to happen, because, in the end, most of America’s allies would walk away if Israel were on board officially.

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

More Articles from Sarah Pachter
Pachter-013114-Cover

She wrote about everything in a woman’s world, from kids to husbands, and feelings including pain and grief. Writing her book, at least in my opinion, was an incredibly brave statement, one that exposed a truth that must be told.

Pachter-091313

Q: It is unusual to find a doctor who devotes an enormous amount of energy into preventing abortions. What motivates you?

Rosh Hashanah, the start of the High Holidays, was fast approaching. I had promised myself that this year would be different. For years I have followed their activities with a mild interest, just an observer, as though their concerns were not my own, but this year, in the wake of recent media storms and false accusations, I promised myself that I would finally take a stand. I would go down to their Jerusalem office and see for myself. And I did. As I pushed open the doors of their rather nondescript office I took a deep breath – welcome to largest life saving industry in all of Israel – Agudat Efrat.

Those of you who feel the way I do will immediately relate to this: I hate having to listen to pedantic women discuss their Pesach cleaning before Tu B’Shevat is even a blip on the horizon.

I come across Yair Michaeli standing amid the bustle of an Israeli shopping mall, a clipboard in his hand. He appears to be a serious-minded Israeli haredi. What is he doing in a place like this?

Coming to Kever Rachel one cannot help but recall the traditional domed structure that once stood as a humble memorial to the greatest of women. Unfortunately a fortress like edifice of towering large concrete slabs has now replaced that familiar picture. It was here, at this holy site, that I first met Evelyn Haies, an American mother, grandmother, and globetrotter.

Throughout the years, she’d hidden her in the windowless room at the back of the house. I always wondered why we were never welcomed over the threshold. I knew her daughter had been born with a problem, but it was never discussed and I’d only caught a glimpse of her from afar before she was hurried away. Oh sure, people gossiped, as people always do, but Chedva was my friend, and I defended and respected her right to privacy.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/he-who-saves-the-life-of-even-one-jew-is-likened-to-one-who-has-saved-an-entire-world/2013/09/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: