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.

Not a Newspaper
Shoshana Friedman A deeper difference between newspapers and magazines
Services in Shards
Rabbi Moshe Grylak “Such a painful, malicious lie!”
The Pittsburgh Protests: All Politics All the Time
Yonoson Rosenblum The old rule — “no enemies on the left” — still applies
Danger: School Crossing
Eytan Kobre The hypocrisy of YAFFED’s assertion is breathtaking
Real Laughter and Real Tears
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger The two sides of a life lived with emunah
Work/Life Solutions with Eli Langer
Moe Mernick I was proud to be “that guy with the yarmulke”
Is Ktchong! a Mitzvah? When Prayer and Charity Collide
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman These cannot both be done effectively at the same time
An Honest Shidduch
Jacob L. Freedman “Baruch Hashem I’m cured, and this will be my secret”
A Blessing in Disguise
Riki Goldstein “I never thought the song would catch on as it has”
Ishay and Motti Strike a Common Chord
Riki Goldstein Bringing together two worlds of Jewish music
What’s your favorite Motzaei Shabbos niggun?
Riki Goldstein From the holy and separate back to the mundane
Rightfully Mine
Faigy Peritzman Don’t regret the job you didn’t land; it was never yours
Growing Greener Grass
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Nurture your blessings and watch them blossom
My Way or the High Way
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt We know what we want — but do we know what He wants?