We are still in the middle of Sukkot, and it’s Shabbat Chol Hamo’ed tonight, the intermediate Shabbat of Sukkot, so I want to provide you with a slightly more inspiring edition than my usual Good News Friday posts.
For a very uplifting story there’s hardly better than this great story about how the IDF integrates special needs people into the army. This is the story about a boy with Down’s Syndrome who is making a very useful contribution in his IDF service:
Kol hakavod to the IDF which goes to such lengths to integrate and promote these special people. IDF service is one of the main ways in which Israelis socialize and network. Enabling such people to serve successfully not only increases their self-confidence, but it provides them with useful training and gives them a step-up into the larger society. I’m sure you all join me in wishing Nitzan a successful service and continued success in his future.
Here is another inspiring story from Igal Lahav, the Mayor of Karnei Shomron. He writes on his Facebook post:
לעשות טוב…פשוט טוב…
מזה מס שנים שבני הנוער של בני עקיבא הרימו פרוייקט נתינה מדהים של בניית סוכות למשפחות ובודדים שאינם יכולים.
היום קבלו חשיפה בטלויזיה וספרו על הרעיון והנתינה.
גאים בכם על דרככם למען הקהילה ויישר כח ענק לכולכם/ן בשם כלל הציבור בישוב ובארץ.
המשך חג טוב ושמח
Doing good…simply doing good:
For a number of years the Bnei Akiva youth have launched an amazing giving project of building Sukkot for families and singles who cannot do it for themselves.
Today they received coverage on the TV and talked about the idea and the giving.
We are proud of your work for the community, and huge kudos to all of you, in the name of the whole community and the country.
Continued Chag same’ach.
What wonderful children we have! The kids are alright that’s for sure. 🙂 Kol hakavod to them for this beautiful idea, enabling everyone to celebrate Sukkot in style. May these youngsters take their enthusiasm and love with them into the future, may it guide them in their future lives and be an inspiration to others.
And now, since we are talking about helping others, here is an appeal which is very close to my heart.
Ahava Emunah Lange has been battling cancer for years and never asked for any help from anyone besides to pray for her and to do mitzvot (good deeds) in her name. Now she and her family need our help as she undergoes hopefully life saving treatment in Turkey.
This is what her husband Dave wrote on Facebook:
Recently, Ahava Emunah Lange began last-ditch effort treatment only available in Turkey (you can read about it here: http://chemothermia.com/). It has already shown promising results (Ahava’s stomach has reduced in size, walking has improved, and dependence on pain medication has decreased, for example) and gives us hope. It also happens to be extremely expensive, and, it pains me to admit that we cannot afford it in the long-term (and we DO hope for it, long-term, because that will mean it is working!)
Those of you who know me well know one of my faults is my pride. I have declined previous offers of financial assistance from so many of you, but have now realized the financial stress was having a big effect on Ahava (and, if I am honest, me as well). So I have relented, and agreed to this GoFundMe campaign.
It would be an understatement to say we are blown away by the kindness. Your kind words, prayers and support have definitely helped us get this far. We are forever indebted to you.
Please continue to pray for Ahava Emunah bat Chava Ehta and keep her in mind when doing good deeds.
Please help this wonderful Israeli family as much as you can.
Please pray for refuah shlema for Ahava Emuna bat Chava Ehta.
Friends of the family opened a GoFundMe crowdfunding page for Ahava Emuna. Please help if you can, and share the page widely to help in this vitally important project.
And now one more final uplifting item for today. A couple of days ago, as is our practice on the chagim, we went on “aliya le’regel” (lit: a foot pilgrimage, but in fact a car pilgrimage 😀 ) to Jerusalem in honour of the Sukkot festival. It was very tiring but so wonderful to have to fight our way through throngs of tens of thousands of worshippers and tourists in the Old City and at the Kotel. The atmosphere was wonderful, and gives us just a tiny taste of what Jerusalem will look like when the Bet Hamikdash will be rebuilt, במהרה בימינו.
As we left the Old City, we had the added bonus of seeing a beautiful dance performance by dancers in wheelchairs and dancers on their feet. Earlier the plaza above Mamilla outside Jaffa Gate had held a fair of handiwork by special needs people. What a beautiful idea!
Here are some pictures and a short clip I uploaded to Facebook:
I hope you find these items inspiring enough to lift you up for this special Shabbat.
I wish you all Mo’adim Le’simcha and Shabbat Shalom!