Meir Panim’s Tiberias Free Restaurant not only provides warm meals, but the opportunity to socialize as well.
I’ve long been familiar with the saying “Man proposes and G-d disposes,” but the depth of its meaning was recently brought home to me suddenly and unexpectedly.
If I had been asked in the early part of 2009 where we would be spending Pesach, I would have answered, “with the Chevra in San Diego.” Instead, I found myself in the Sephardic Nursing Home/Rehabilitation Center in Brooklyn.
As a result of the sudden onset of a medical emergency, my husband was unable to fly, and in need of therapy. And I wanted to be by his side. After the initial shock of my husband’s situation wore off, I found myself in uncharted territory. I had to find a nursing/rehabilitation home for my husband, and the only ones I had ever seen were far from appealing to me. It was also hard for me to make decisions at that time, as I was still having trouble coming to terms with the whole situation.
The name Sephardic kept coming up in discussions with family and friends and I finally went to check it out. That is when a whole new world opened up to me. Angela Villanella gave me a tour and I was very impressed — so much so that I chose it for my husband. The place is beautiful and clean and very welcoming. There is a very special garden in the back with a small waterfall that flows into a pond with Koi fish. It is a joy to sit out there.
Most impressive was the rehabilitation floor, which is top notch. But all the tours in the world could not have prepared me for the exceptional care and rehab my husband is given by the people who work there, and that makes all the difference. All the nurses and aides on his floor are wonderful, but as with all things, some are outstanding and deserving of mention. Barbara the evening nurse is in a class by herself. Nurses Lisa, Angela and Valerie are also very much appreciated. Aides Carmen, Townsend, Jennifer, Esther, Ms. Smith and others go a long way toward making a big difference in the day-to-day care of a patient.
Of course, Sephardic runs as well as it does thanks to its very able director, Michael New, who is hands-on at all times. I have found a level of caring — and a desire to help — at Sephardic that was lacking at the world-famous hospital my husband was in before he transferred here.
But there is one more thing about Sephardic — and it’s something no other place has. The secret weapon is Rabbi Avraham and Mrs. Dina Amar. I met them for the first time in the beautiful shul at Sephardic. I had expected a social hall/makeshift shul, so I was unprepared for the beautiful sanctuary with furnishings from Kibbutz Lavie in Israel. Both the men’s and women’s sections are large and comfortable. The bimah has ramps on both sides so that wheelchair-bound men can still get an aliyah to the Torah (my husband got the aliyah before Az Yashir on the seventh day of Pesach).
Rabbi Amar runs the shul and all religious services. He makes it his business to know everyone residing at Sephardic and he sees to it that anyone who wishes is brought to services. He davens and reads the Torah in his beautiful voice and gives divrei Torah that are appreciated by all. Rabbi and Mrs. Amar go to great lengths to see to the smallest details and they give everyone a sense of being needed.
So there we were for Pesach. Rabbi Amar led the two sedorim and gave special meaning to all the rituals. Everything was very festive and beautiful. By that time we already had friends who were also patients there. We sat with Helen and Sam Sherman and they felt more like family than friends. Suddenly I realized I didn’t feel sorry for myself anymore.
By the last days of Pesach I didn’t think I could be more impressed than I already was, but then again, I had never experienced a Yizkor service at Sephardic. Rabbi Amar went over to every man and woman and said the Yizkor prayer for their mothers and fathers. Yes, it took some time, but old and younger alike felt the satisfaction of knowing their loved ones had not been forgotten.
Meanwhile, the weather had turned spring-like and we went out to the beautiful garden in the afternoon. We got seats under an umbrella and it was easy to forget our circumstances and imagine we were in the garden of a resort hotel.
What made it possible for me to spend Pesach with my husband? The wonderful Bikur Cholim of Bensonhurst, which maintains an apartment for women and a second one for men, just down the block from Sephardic. The apartments are beautifully furnished with three bedrooms in each and a living room and kitchen. (The family that takes care of the apartments tries to accommodate everyone and can be contacted at 718-234-1067.)
My husband is slowly regaining his health and we are both very grateful to everyone at Sephardic and at Bikur Cholim of Bensonhurst. Most of all we give thanks to Hashem for putting us in the hands of such wonderful shlichim (messengers).
About the Author: Naomi Klass Mauer is associate publisher of The Jewish Press.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
This is the story of a Holocaust survivor who began her odyssey in Dej, Romania. Chanele Anne Grun Kempler was a teenager when she came to Auschwitz, almost 20 when she immigrated to Montreal and became a famous artist, and 64 when she passed away, alone in her bed, in 1994, on her chest a letter from Yad Vashem informing her that the painting she offered to the organization would be admitted and displayed.
It’s not that I think contractors, painters and tile guys are exclusively greedy, deceitful incompetent people – I think they are just poor businessmen or women!
I look into the flickering flames of the Shabbos candles and I am thankful for the warmth and light that emanates from them and illuminates our home.
Widow of world-famous nuclear scientist and human rights activist, Dr. Andre Sakharov, and an outstanding activist in her own right, Yelena Bonner was invited to speak of the suffering she endured in Stalinist Russia. Instead, the 86-year-old leader of the Russian human rights movement chose to speak about Israel and the Jews. Why?
I wonder why bullying exists in our community and in society at large? I was very surprised at a 30-year-old client’s explanation.
The rebbe had told Meir and Yehudah to take turns, but that wasn’t working out so well.
The sage Hillel summarized the entire Torah by saying, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn it.”
Sometimes it is hard to help people, and sometimes you can help people by just using whatever it is you have at the time – even an amazing fishing rod.
Musial told the taunted Jackie Robinson: “I want you to know that I’m not like many of the other guys on my team.”
Brooklyn resident David Siller, currently studying in Israel at Yeshivat Yesodei HaTorah in Beit Shemesh, was awarded a trophy for finishing 3rd in his age group (14-18) in a 5-kilometer race for the benefit of the Benjamin Children’s Library of Beit Shemesh.
This year’s parade, the 87th annual extravaganza of marching bands, floats, and giant balloons, featured something really unique and different: a balloon/float of a large blue dreidel.
Even youngsters in Israel, years away from voting age, are knowledgeable about politics and don’t hesitate to discuss their opinions.
This past summer quite a few family members vacationed in Israel, some of them with young children. I remember how difficult flying from New York to Israel can be with small children, so with this in mind, I advised all of my family to book Isroyal VIP service along with their flight.
Tens of thousands of marchers and spectators showed their support for Israel on Sunday in New York City’s annual Celebrate Israel Parade.
I close my eyes and am transported back to Israel, where I spent the past six weeks.
“When positions opened, if there was a qualified woman for the job I was inclined to hire her.”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/how-some-extraordinary-people-saved-our-pesach/2009/05/06/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: