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.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you