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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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My Fractured Pesach


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When my wife and I were about to leave Israel after last Sukkos, our son and daughter-in-law told us they were expecting another child to be born about two weeks before Pesach. We realized immediately that it would be difficult for them to make Pesach at home. First our daughter-in-law would be going through a pregnancy and then taking care of a newborn, added to five little ones. So, we offered to take them to a suitable hotel for the Pesach holiday. After numerous e-mails and phone conversations, they agreed.

But where would we go?

After researching many regions and hotels, our children suggested the Kibbutz Lavi Hotel.

Three weeks before we were to fly to Israel to celebrate Pesach together with our family in Israel, I was walking on a rough piece of sidewalk in Brooklyn. I tripped, fell and fractured my right humerus – the long bone in the upper arm – at the top, very close to where it fits into the shoulder socket. After a long day spent in the x-ray and emergency rooms, I wound up with my right arm in a sling, to immobilize it and the shoulder for up to six weeks, while the broken bone healed.

On the following Motzaei Shabbos, our daughter-in-law gave birth to a boy. Attending the bris was not possible in my condition at that time. On Monday, now only two weeks before our scheduled flight for Pesach, I had my second set of x-rays taken, and my orthopedist was pleased with the way the comminuted fracture was healing. When we told him about our new grandson and our long-planned trip, he told us to go and enjoy both the new baby and the holiday, provided everything progressed as he hoped. I saw him on the Friday before we flew, and he gave his final OK.

On the advice of the orthopedist and many people who had endured similar fractures, I had been sleeping on my recliner. I found it impossible even to lie down in a regular bed. As my son was much too busy preparing for the shalom zachar and bris, I turned to my brother-in-law in Petah Tikva for help. I e-mailed and asked him to take on the responsibility of somehow getting me a recliner to use in my room at the Kibbutz Lavi Hotel. I suggested he contact the well-known Yad Sara organization that supplies durable medical implements such as walkers, wheelchairs, etc., to those who need them, for a nominal fee.

My brother-in-law Uri called the Lavi Hotel and spoke to Yitzchak Flanzer, the general manager. Mr. Flanzer and Uri tried all sorts of solutions, to no avail. Mr. Flanzer even had me speak directly by phone to a nurse on the kibbutz, to understand my needs exactly, so he could come up with a solution.

A friend of Uri was willing to lend me her recliner. He measured it, and Lavi manager, Flanzer said it would fit through the door of our hotel room.

Kibbutz Lavi has three industries from which it sustains itself: including a state-of-the-art milk farm with dairy cows and the widely-known hotel. But Kibbutz Lavi is perhaps best known for its third industry, the manufacture of shul furniture. The furniture is shipped and assembled by kibbutz members worldwide.

Within Israel, Lavi delivers the furniture using its own trucks. Fortuitously, (actually by hashgacha pratis) a delivery to a shul in Petah Tikva was scheduled for a few days before Pesach. Calls were made, arrangements were finalized, and the delivery truck returned to Kibbutz Lavi with a recliner for me.

As my son was checking our entire party into the Kibbutz Lavi Hotel on Erev Pesach, a man I didn’t know came up to me near the reception desk and addressed me by name. “Mr. Shapiro, I recognized you by the sling you are wearing on your right arm,” he said. “My name is Yitzchak, and I am the general manager of Hotel Lavi. The staff has been briefed about your problem and needs and will accommodate you. Feel free to call on any staff member for assistance.”

I thanked the manager and found throughout our stay that the staff was really very helpful.

We had a wonderful Pesach at the hotel – the davening, shiurim, lectures and other activities, especially for children, were great. And, best of all, I had a recliner in my room so I could sleep.

The hotel returned the recliner on the Sunday morning after Pesach in the same truck, as my wife and I were winging our way back to New York on El Al. I hope your Pesach was as good as ours.

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