August 20, 2007

Zichron Menachem in "Green" Holland refreshes Ohad

You haven't already met my cousin Ohad in person or via these three previous blog entries?
No problem. This update can inspire you to claim as your shining light the bright, sensitive, and loving 13-year-old from the Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood in northeast Jerusalem, Israel.

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?
    The go-carts!
  • 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.


Madeline said...

What an inspiring and positive young man (old soul). Thanks for sharing his story.

Anonymous said...

Zichron Menachem is indeed a wonderful organization. I even thought of working there once, you made me reconsider it.

Tamar Orvell said...

Madeline — Ohadi IS incredible, and part of him IS an old soul and part a very young soul. A perfect combination (combina, in Hebrew)!

Anonymous Shimon — I made you reconsider Zichron Menachem? Or consider them? I still think it is a perfect match between your talents and character traits and their requirements. So why don't you reconsider considering? Or consider reconsidering?

BronzeBuckaroo said...

That is one brave kid who has my deepest respect. In her younger days, my grandma nursed adolescents like him at the children's hospital she worked at. One thing she remembers most is not so much the bravery of the children, but their maturity. They were had a better view of life than most adults.

Tamar Orvell said...

BronzeBuckaroo — Thank you for sharing your grandma's experiences and memories of brave, mature young people she worked with. Yes, Ohad teaches me a lot.

Anat, Ohad's eldest sister, sent this reply to my question on the song Ohad played, Achshav Tov [Now, it's good]:

hi tamar,
about the song - i was mistaken to think it's about a girl. i spoke to ohad now and he told me the background of the song - the writer wrote it to his brother who was killed in the first lebanon war. now it makes more sense...

littlepurplecow said...

How wonderful to see Ohad's smiling face and to feel the excitement from his trip.