Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

One Step at a Time

Shoshana R. Meiri

When she had first one, and then another, special needs child, Toby Walzer nearly drowned in depression. But then she got herself the help she needed to be able to ride the waves — and stretched out a life preserver to other struggling parents.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Toby Walzer, 47, was born in London to Avrohom Boruch and Katy Kahan, a genteel, well-to-do European couple, refugees both — her father from Czechoslovakia, her mother a Kindertransport immigrant from Vienna. The youngest of six children, she confesses she was “very spoiled. Whatever I wanted, I got — I just had to open my mouth and it was there.” Toby’s parents infused her with a love and respect for others. “They would do anything for any human being. But they didn’t talk about the chesed they did. If someone was collecting tzedakah, they’d invite him in for a warm drink or meal. It was absolutely a given that if visitors came, I had to give up my bed. And if I had ever dared say something disrespectful to our cleaning lady, I would have gotten it!” As a child, Toby was sociable, popular, lively… and not a good student. Her mind was “all over the place”; today, she claims, she’d be diagnosed with ADHD. She was just 17 when she married Israeli-born Yisroel Walzer. Three daughters arrived in quick succession, followed by a son. “I was very busy with gashmiyus,” she admits. “Shopping, dressing nicely, and dressing the kids nicely.” Then Toby faced the first jolt of her life. When Naftoli — now 20 — was born, Toby sensed something wrong. “As he was put into my arms, I said, ‘Is this my baby?’ And I thought, ‘You idiot — what a stupid thing to say!’ But I kept thinking it… Is he mine?”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.

Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time