web analytics
October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
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.



Yitzchaka Jackson: Marathon For Avi Mekonen


“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.

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 “Yitzchaka Jackson: Marathon For Avi Mekonen”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Steve Emerson, author, journalist and terrorism expert.
Haaretz Smears American Terrorism Expert with Political Hit Job
Latest Sections Stories

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.

Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.

Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad Houses in ten cities.

Victor Center works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy, and the community to sponsor education programs and college campus out reach.

So just in case you’re stuck in the house this Chol HaMoed – because there’s a new baby or because someone has a cold – not because of anything worse, here are six ideas for family fun at home.

We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.

Our harps have 22 strings. This gives musicians a wide musical range and yet stays within Biblical parameters.

More Articles from Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson
LBJ-101014-Michal-Fried

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Over the years there has been no shortage of reporting about Devorah Halberstam, Ari’s mother. Even in Israel, thousands of miles from the Halberstam home, there have been frequent references in the media to Ari’s mother. Do you know why?

When Hitler entered Prague in March 1939, many Czech Jews managed to escape to Palestine, including Alice’s twin Mariane and her families.

Hannah believed that one must learn about the evils of the past so that they aren’t repeated.

Who is Rachel Azaria? Would you have guessed that this dynamo is a religious, 35-year-old woman, mother of four children, ranging in ages from ten years to eight months?

The relatively young Eitam battalion has become instrumental in IDF Southern Command’s Division 80’s efforts to keep up with the ever-changing security situation in Sinai after the fall of the Mubarak regime – and the entry of terrorist elements to the region.

Eishet Chayil is a hymn customarily recited on Friday evenings before sitting down to the Shabbat evening meal. It is a twenty-two verse poem at the conclusion of the book of Mishlei, describing the woman of valor as the ideal wife and mother.

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: