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Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Chesed Mission 2020/5780: Day 7

We started off our early day at Yad Lakashish, where we saw how this organization gives the elderly a skill and something to do during the day. We walked around the workshops in awe of the handcrafted works of art the participants were making. We then went to the shop to purchase some of these products. 
Our next stop was Keren Or, where we sang and danced with children from ages 6-21 who are disabled and blind or visually impaired. Due to our experience at the blind museum last night, we were more sensitive to their situations. In addition to dancing, we were able to thank the hardworking volunteers and workers there. It was a special experience because everyone took someone’s hand and started dancing. Even if we didn’t get a smile from the kids, we understood that they felt our presence. 
Next, because of our large group, we couldn’t all fit into one hospital. Therefore, we split up and went to Tel Hashomer and Schneider’s Hospital. I went to Tal Hashomer where we delivered toys and jewelry to the patients and their parents. Everyone there was super appreciative and friendly and thankful that we came. My friend and I went into a room with a mother and a small baby. We handed her a baby gift and she was so appreciative and said “this gift is so fitting.” She played with it for him and let us watch. I gave her a necklace and she was so happy. My friend explained to me later that she went back to give another gift and she said, “It’s okay more people need.” This experience made me realize the importance of appreciation and giving.
Then, we went to a mall to eat lunch. 
After that, we traveled a long way to get to Bet Elazraki, a Emunah children’s home for children at risk. When we arrived we heard inspiring words from the inspirational director, Yehuda Kohn and watched a video about successful commanders who came through this program. Something special happened next. Yehuda explained that the 18th year annual chesed mission group had dedicated a plaque in honor of Rabbi Besser, Susan Franco, and the Chessed Mission Team. We had a nice ceremony while internalizing that chesed mission’s name will be on the wall throughout the year. Chesed mission’s legacy is important and honored in this special place from now on. We also gave out gifts. In addition, Albert Chehebar delivered Tefillin sponsored by his parents to the bar mitzvah kids of this year. Our group was in awe of this amazing chesed that the Chehebars provide. We then ate dinner and got to know the kids. After, we danced till we heard the ground shake. Everyone was smiling and having the best time. I got to know three beautiful, happy, and fun 14 year old girls. They immediately became my friend. It was hard to leave at the end. I was comforted when one of my new friends walked me to the bus, but I still didn’t want to leave. However, I had a feeling that she would remember me and I would remember her as well.

We got on our bus to travel back to the hotel, when all of the sudden it started hailing. People on my bus were frightened, so we bursted out in a united song of “Kol berama”. After uniting with children with disabilities and children from broken families, uniting with our own community was the right way to end a meaningful day!
~Vivian Cohen, Class of 2021