On February 24 we shared the story of Darla Oz, a Jerusalemite who with her husband began a small organization called House to House. House to House provides food assistance, clothing, shoes, help for elders including Shoah survivors, and other basic needs to people who would otherwise "fall through the cracks". Our original donation underwrote the costs of cab rides which many elders must rely upon to get around.
While catching up with Darla in an early morning call today, we learned about a small hotel in Jerusalem which is home to almost 200 elderly Shoah survivors, many of them ill and lonely. Darla shared that in a conversation with the social worker at the site, she learned a few things that were truly sad. The first point shared was that for many of these elders birthdays are rarely celebrated – no gifts, no cards…just a lonely day like any other. The social worker also told Darla that many residents wished that the local grocer (who brings basic food items to the hotel lobby each Friday so that everyone can shop) would include fresh cheese in his weekly visits. They truly missed enjoying a piece of cheese! In about 30 seconds Darla and I decided that each of these residents should enjoy this treat, and what better time for them to receive it than on their birthday? Darla also asked if it would be possible to get birthday cards for each of them, and we promised we would enlist as many religious school teachers and students as possible in this simple act of chesed.
We have sent Darla gift bags and curling ribbon and expect to hear shortly that the first residents are getting their wish for a piece of fresh cheese and some crackers to go with it. Such a simple wish – such a simple solution.