Almost every American Orthodox Jew who owns a computer either checks or knows about OnlySimchas.com. If Naftali Mark, a young Flatbush financial representative, has his druthers, the same will one day be true about www.Refuahs.org.
Started in January, Refuahs.org lists the names of dozens of sick people from around the world with the aim of “connecting those praying with those in need of prayer.” Visitors to the site can sign up for a daily e-mail alert with the names of ill people, along with a short inspirational d’var Torah. Additionally, people can receive emergency alerts via e-mail or Refuahs.org’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
“I wanted to make something that would be the world’s most circulated cholim list,” said Mark.
“My number one goal is to be able to say one day that we got one million refuah shleimahs said in one day. If we have 100,000 people signed up for the mailer and each person says a refuah shleimah for 10 names, that’s one million refuah shleimahs,” he said.
Right now Mark’s website is still in its infancy stage, with only several hundred people receiving his daily e-mails. However, Mark said he is already seeing spiritual dividends on his investment. Staten Island resident Jack Newman told The Jewish Press, “Unfortunately I know people who need a refuah and – other than word of mouth in the community – if I want to get it out to the general public I use Refuahs.org.”
Praying for sick people, Newman said, “has been going on for thousands of years, and now we’re just bringing it into the 21st century.”
The idea of creating the website came to Mark on January 16, less than 36 hours after his grandmother passed away. He credits her as the site’s inspiration. “My grandmother and I were extremely close, and she always wanted me to do something that would better this world and really have an impact. And this is my opportunity to make a difference, leave my ‘mark’ – my last name is Mark, so I always say this – on this world, and have a positive impact.”