Making aliyah with four little kids, pregnant and with a commuting husband was definitely not easy. Anyone who has made Aliyah understands the challenges, changes and adjustments – not to mention the lice! Most of the time the years fly by and despite bumps in the road, families, thank G-d, develop and flourish here. Unfortunately though, even in the Holy Land, unpredictable health problems can shock and devastate a family.
Four years into my own aliyah, and immediately after the birth of my sixth child, my mother, who then lived in the United States was diagnosed with terminal cancer. My parents eventually moved to Israel and I had the privilege of caring for her here. Facing the diagnosis was challenging even though I had worked for over 10 years as an oncology nurse in New York. I understood that while my mother’s illness was devastating, the illness of a young parent or a child, impacts every facet of daily life for a family.
This awareness inspired the creation of Give 10 – a Modiin-based organization that was started by a small group of women with the vision of alleviating daily chores in order to create mental, emotional and physical space for families coping with illness.
When a family is faced with a serious diagnosis, friends and family come forward to help. They can alleviate some of the strain and provide support during a traumatic time. Even with the aid of those around you, the needs become overwhelming. This is true for all families, but in particular for oleh families where local family support is lacking. Realizing that oleh families have fewer people to lean on, especially for extended periods of time, Give 10 makes a special effort to seek out those who are facing a crisis with limited resources to turn to.
A fresh-off-the-boat olah who was diagnosed with cancer shared the following letter with our team of volunteers:
“We want to thank you for all the help and support you and your volunteers have given our family over the past eight months. It has been a very difficult time for our family but knowing that we didn’t have to think about Shabbat food was a huge help. Week after week we received delicious home cooked food with refuah shlemah messages included. Seeing the care that people had for us definitely helped keep my spirits high when I was unwell.
Being relatively new in the community, we were amazed at the incredible chesed that exists here – not just amongst the adults but also all the teenagers who helped with our kids. What helped relieved the stress was the thought that I knew if there was anything I needed that I could ask and you could somehow always happily come through with a volunteer.
Hopefully in the near future when I’m fully recovered I will join your team of volunteers. Thank you again - I don’t think we can ever say it enough times to truly express our gratitude!”
In addition, Give 10 allows the opportunity to help those around us including those we don’t necessarily know. Give 10 was founded on the belief that chesed starts by caring for those closest to us – our neighbors – whether we know them or not. While we are often involved in worthy national causes, let us not overlook those who need help right under our noses.
The uniqueness of Give 10 is also in the kind of help it is providing. There are, thankfully, several organizations collecting and distributing money and donations for families in financial crisis. Give 10 is focusing on meeting the needs of families in a medical crisis. We do this by offering hands-on practical help for as often and for as long as it’s needed. Driving to medical appointments, cooking meals, babysitting while a mother receives treatment, laundry, visiting with someone who is sick so the spouse or child can run an errand are the kinds of often overlooked tasks we take over so a family can continue to function.
The name Give 10 is a play on the translation of the word, “give”, "תן" in Hebrew. It is also meant to reflect the tradition, according to Jewish law that we are meant to give 10% of our earnings to charity. This law ensures that as a community everyone is looked after and nobody goes without – that we have a collective responsibility to look out for those around us. One interpretation is that we should be giving 10% not just of our money but of our time, to ensure that the same goal is achieved. Giving of our time can be meaningful and personal for both the receiver and the giver, as this message from a volunteer articulates:
“Thank you to all the organizers of Give 10. It is a zechut to be a part of your team and I want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to do chesed and enabling us to help people who we otherwise wouldn't even know needed any help.
Give 10 currently has over 100 volunteers (men and women) who have helped a number of families over the past three years. Coordinating the volunteers is the easy part. It's the volunteers that do the lion’s share, taking time out to help people in this situation. It's those people that have helped make this organization succeed and make a difference.
The feedback from the families says it all and here is just one of many examples:
“I have been the recipient of your generosity and kindness. Each and every one of you has touched my heart. For that, I am forever grateful. During a time of illness you have brought dignity to my family’s Shabbat table. Instead of expending precious time and energy on grocery shopping and cooking, you encouraged me to focus on my own well-being, to connect with my husband and children and to enjoy Shabbat. Thank You!”
As the summer draws to a close and the new year sets in we self-reflect and try to take on something more. We hope that with your help we can expand our database of volunteers even further. More importantly, we strive to reach every family who can use any of our support services. Please contact us if you are aware of a family facing a serious medical illness or if you would like to join our team of volunteers, Give10ten@gmail.com.