For One Day Only: $1=$4, Thanks to Matching from BIG Donors
“In all the years that I have been involved with helping Avi Mekonen, I could never look at his face directly because of how badly disfigured he was. I always found a way to avoid looking at him straight in the face. Over the last few years, when Avi’s treatment became very intensive, I pretended to myself that Avi is simply wearing a mask that one day will come off. This made it easier for me in my interpersonal relationship with him,” Yitzchaka Jackson discloses with deep feeling. Then, her spirit rising, she declares with conviction: “I truly believe that with people’s help, we will be able to give Avi a normal life. I hope that one day he will be able to walk proud, with his head high, and not feel ashamed or embarrassed in the company of others.”
Who is this Avi and what is his tragic story? Avi Mekonen was three years old, living in his native Gondar, in Ethiopia, when he fell, face down into a flaming open pit. As a result the little boy’s face became a mass of scarred and distorted tissue, with a missing eye, nose and ear.
Shortly thereafter, the Mekonen family was airlifted to Israel in the historic “Operation Shlomo.” Yitzchaka’s husband, Dr. Steve Jackson, at the time an officer in the Israel Air Force 669Search and Rescue Unit, took part in this mission – he and Avi were on the same plane.
Despite his shocking appearance Avi’s sweet and charming demeanor helped him adjust to life in Israel, as did wearing a woolen hat that covered half of his face. Initially turned down for military service, Avi fought tenaciously and was eventually allowed to volunteer in the Israel Defense Forces where his superior officers found him to be an excellent soldier and an inspiration to others.
After Avi completed his IDF service, Yitzchaka and Steve Jackson committed themselves to giving this valiant young man a second chance at life. Sparing no effort, in 2004 Yitzchaka flew to Boston with Avi, so he could be examined by the world’s leading reconstructive plastic surgeon. This surgeon recommended, and eventually performed major surgery on Avi, generously waiving his fee, while the local Jewish community helped pay for the hospital stay!
The surgery was successful and paved the way for subsequent surgical procedures that Avi has undergone in Israel. These prepared him for a custom-fit state of the art prosthetic eye and ear, which Avi received in Memphis, Tennessee. Yitzchaka and Steve Jackson were delighted with the results, which allow Avi Mekonen to walk freely without a cap, unselfconscious about his looks.
So far this remarkable couple have devoted nineteen years of caring for Avi – searching for expert medical advice, traveling, raising funds, providing emotional and physical support. But the work is far from over. The results thus far are not perfect .The prosthetic apparatus requires maintenance and there are still surgical procedures to be performed.
To cover the cost of all foreseeable expenses, a brilliant and formidable method of fund-raising occurred to Yitzchaka Jackson. A former pediatric head nurse, a hard-working lawyer and a busy wife and mother, she decided to run in the New York Marathon this coming November 6th under the slogan “I Run For Avi!” (See her T-shirt in the picture).
Please help Yitzchaka help Avi by sponsoring this crucial run. Her goal is to raise $42,000 ($1,000 for each of the 42 kilometers that she will be running in the marathon.) For more information on how to participate in this incredible mitzvah visit http://www.irunforavi.com/how-to-donate.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Orlando was once a place where people came only to visit and vacation. Now it is home to a burgeoning Torah community, a place Jewish families can be proud to call home.
The smuggler’s life has been changed forever. He is faced with a major criminal charge. He will probably be sent to prison.
In September 2013 he was appointed head rabbi of the IDF Central Command and is currently in charge of special projects for the IDF chief rabbinate.
Last month we outlined how a few years after Judah Touro’s death a public movement was inaugurated by the citizens of New Orleans to erect a monument to his memory, and that opposition to this tribute came from a number of rabbis throughout the country who claimed that Judaism forbade the erection of any graven […]
Marceau suggested a dark reason for his wordless art: “The people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it…. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence.”
Anna Henriques, who hopes to one day head back to Jamaica, says, “Rabbi Raskin must be willing to respect what exists in Jamaica. The way to the future is to gently bring in the traditions of the past and at the same time embrace the idiosyncrasies of the Jamaican people.”
The Silver Platter has it all: gorgeous photography, oodles of useful tips and, more importantly, incredible recipes that you will find yourself making again and again.
It may be that seeking to connect with the past is rooted in the impermanence and impersonality of modern life.
It is very hard to build a healthy marriage when you do not have good role models.
Her grandsons were eager to reveal their grandmother’s earlier frustration with the unfair, inaccurate narrative of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
The visionary champion of women’s rights in Judaism was first and foremost a devoted wife and mother.
This belief was coupled with the spirit of “Am Yisrael HaShalem” (One United People), in the Ben Yehuda household: to love and help all Jews without distinction.
It was Lia van Leer who changed the image of filmmaking in Israel so that it is now seen as an expression of culture and not mere entertainment.
In 1756, when the ominous threat of Islamic terror against Jews reached Tunis as well, Friha became one of its tragic victims.
Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.
This led to a shouting match between the judges and what could have been the end of the show.
In 1939, Chuchill challenged the common notion that Jewish immigration to Palestine uprooted Arabs
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/impact-women-history/yitzchaka-jackson-marathon-for-avi-mekonen-2/2011/10/26/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: