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The Giver

Aharon Granot

Most of us have made a meal for a family in crisis, visited an ill friend. But for one woman, those simple acts of kindness became stepping stones to helping build Ezer Mizion, one of the largest chesed organizations in the world. In a rare and candid conversation, Rebbetzin Leah Chollak’s husband speaks of the great woman we just lost.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rebbetzin Leah Esther Chollak had only been married two months when her father suffered a serious stroke. This difficult situation became the catalyst for the birth of an organization providing medical assistance to patients all over Israel.

As Rebbetzin Leah’s husband, Rabbi Chananya Chollak, sat at his father-in-law’s side in various hospitals, he had occasion to observe the difficulties facing other patients’ families. He saw parents struggle to divide their time between hospitalized children and little ones at home, families at bedsides with no food to maintain their strength, and patients forced to rely on costly ambulances for their frequent hospital visits.

These and other challenges, thought Rabbi Chollak, could be resolved with some careful coordination, some kindhearted individuals, and a little elbow grease. He began arranging for people to stay with hospital patients to give relatives a much-needed break. He invested in a van to transport kidney dialysis patients to and from the hospital for free. His wife Leah began bringing her home-cooked meals to the hospital. In 1979, from the modest Chollak home, the organization we now know as Ezer Mizion — Israel’s largest health support organization — was born.

And behind the scenes, Rebbetzin Leah Chollak a”h was the heart and soul of the nascent organization. 


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