- When a child starts to go bald כשילד מתחיל להקריח (English and Hebrew versions) on Ohad's health crisis and his thoughts on becoming bald temporarily
- Ohad is Bar Mitzva!
- Ohad's timely email on my flight from Tel Aviv to Atlanta to resume my other "other" life
With his Zichron Menachem pals, counselors, and a bevy of Zamzamiot (B’not Sherut Leumi [National Service Girls] volunteers), our hero spent a week in Holland this summer!
Zichron Menachem, an internationally recognized prize-winning organization that has been supporting kids with cancer and their families in Israel since 1990, led the odyssey for scores of participants — free to this special population, without discrimination to religion, ethnic origin, or socioeconomic status. (I culled these photos of Ohad from the many hundreds on the trip that the organization posted to its web site.)
Q&A via Skype
"The experience was brimming with attractions, and there were solutions for all [to participate] — crippled and wheelchair-bound kids, among them," Ohad related in our conversation on Skype the other day. "The counselors were so devoted. Nothing was lacking."
- Me: About Holland — how did you find the country?
Ohad: It's amazing. Everywhere it's green — trees, plants, bushes, everything is green!
- Did you get homesick?
Not at all. It was nice taking a break from everything.
- How was the Dutch food?
We brought everything from Israel because many participants keep kosher, and we needed easy access [to food that fulfills requirements of Jewish dietary law].
- What was the best part?
- Uriel [eldest brother] told me you were recently featured on Jerusalem radio. What was that about?
Zichron Menachem asked me to talk about the organization.
- No surprise they picked you!
[never one to boast] Because I am the oldest in the group now.
- Your dad told me you played guitar and sang at a recent commencement ceremony.
That was for a big graduation for the Zamzamiot, and I played the popular Israeli song, Achshav Tov [Now, it's good].
Achshav Tov [Now, it's good]
Oh, is it ever good when this young man chooses to sing this song.
And in just a few weeks, Ohad will resume his school studies with his class after an amazing summer that concluded an amazing twelve months.
During this year, close to when he became a Bar Mitzva, Ohad shared with me some meanings and messages he formulated since he has been fighting leukemia.
Life experiences shape us. When I meet children as young as age four in the hospital, I have great compassion for them because they don't understand why they must get treatments and take medicines they don't like. OK, I am young, too, though I understand, and it helps.
As is his name — in Hebrew, "will sympathize," so is Ohad. In the photo shown below, a sympathetic young man, in the red sweater, shares his feelings openly, understands those of another easily, and expresses compassion freely.
NOTE I dedicate this post to a dear friend, Rabbi Dr. Michael Berger who, on learning of Ohad's health crisis, immediately included Ohad in his personal prayers during the daily prayer services. He also added Ohad ben Ditza to the list for the MiSheberach blessing for healing at the Young Israel, Atlanta. Michael, who has not yet met Ohad, is among the righteous souls who walk this earth.