When Dr. David Shashar of Ramat Gan was called out to serve in the Paratrooper reserves during the Second Lebanon War of 2006, his goal was to help heal wounded soldiers. He never thought that he would become one himself. When two Hizbullah anti-tank missiles hit the house he was staying in, killing nine soldiers, he was among the 30 to be seriously injured. Dr. Shashar was hospitalized for the next three months in an attempt to save his arm from amputation. He underwent numerous reconstruction operations over the next three years, a number of which were in Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital. The Ministry of Defense referred him to ROFEH International – a comprehensive medical referral and bikur cholim service founded by the Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Horowitz, zt”l.
In addition to helping people find the best doctors in Boston, ROFEH offers over a dozen fully-equipped apartments for patients and families, daily home-cooked kosher meals, translation services, transportation, appointment assistance and more to over 600 Jews visiting Boston for medical treatments each year. Perhaps more impressive than the technical services they offer, however, is the warmth and personal support everyone receives at ROFEH.
ROFEH building at 1730 Beacon Street, Brookline, Mass
“Everyone at ROFEH was extremely helpful,” Dr. Shashar recalled. “The apartments were exactly what we needed – homey, warm, and big enough for the entire family. When you come from abroad during a difficult time, you want to feel like you have a home. It’s a huge mitzvah.” Today Dr. Shashar has regained much use of his arm and he is able to continue to practice medicine – thanks in part to the warmth and support he received at ROFEH.
Built from the Bostoner Rebbe’s love of every Jew and his sincere desire to help them, the ROFEH organization was a trailblazer in the field of medical referral organizations in America. The Rebbe, zt”l, once remarked: “It’s the only place in the world where you have a dozen apartments available for visitors. They’re not only given a bedroom, but a community support system, including the shul, the davening, the Shabbos and the singing. It gives them a new life!”
Bostoner Rebbe, HaRav Naftali Yehuda Horowitz, shlita
Today, HaRav Naftali Y. Horowitz, shlita, has taken over the Bostoner kehillah in Boston directly in his father’s footsteps. “Bostoner Chassidus’ philosophy is intimately connected to chesed,” Rav Naftali explains. “What could be more spiritual than helping your fellow Jew – refuas ha’nefesh u’refuas ha’guf? The Rebbe, zt”l, always felt that he was a shliach of HaKadosh Baruch Hu, who placed him here in Boston for a very good reason in order to help his fellow Jews. He viewed his work at ROFEH as one of his main missions in life.”
Under the capable direction of the Rebbe, shlita, ROFEH has recruited a talented new executive director, Rabbi Nachum Leib Sacks, to help expand their operations in order to continue the Rebbe zt”l’s life’s work. ROFEH is currently designing a comprehensive program to provide regular transportation to and from hospitals, as well as entertainment and outlets for families and children who are often forced to spend long amounts of time away from home.
Rabbi Sacks, Executive Director of ROFEH International
with Dr. Fred Mandell of Children’s Hospital
“Our mission is to create the most dignified and respectful manner to provide our patients with a home away from home while they are in Boston,” Rabbi Sacks said. “They don’t feel like they are in a foreign place, and that gives them the strength to go on during these trying times. The physical needs of the patients are benefited when they have their family’s support. At ROFEH, we are supplying the families with physical and emotional support to, in turn, help the patients.”
In commemoration of the upcoming first yahrzeit of the Rebbe, ROFEH’s annual dinner in November is devoted to the legacy that the Rebbe left behind. His legacy remains in the hearts of the countless baalei teshuvah he inspired throughout the years, in the two kehillos that he founded based on his philosophy of love for every Jew, and in ROFEH, an organization that redefines what chesed is all about.
“The staff was so helpful, reliable, efficient, and organized in every way,” one mother from Israel recalled. “They work on such a personal level with so much care and concern.
Accommodations were perfect to a T – from the beautiful apartments down to the home-cooked meals and Havdalah kits . . . They really do it with a heart – it’s not just business as usual. I can’t begin to tell you how nourished and well cared for we feel. You should never need it but if you do, ROFEH is there for you.”
Bostoner Rebbe, Rabbi Levi Y. Horowitz, zt”l
ROFEH International is carrying on the vital work of the Bostoner Rebbe, zt”l, to ensure that every Jew in need of medical assistance has a home away from home in Boston.
To reserve a seat at the upcoming ROFEH Legacy Dinner or to purchase an ad in their journal, please contact Rabbi Sacks at: ROFEH International: 1710 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA 02445-2124, phone: 617-566-1900, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.Gavriel Horan