I was in no rush to write this letter. I preferred to allow my thoughts to flow freely first before committing them to the written word. And this was no accident.
To the end of my days, I will never forget how we first met: my wife Gerti was hospitalized for the second time at Hadassah in the Oncology department after the first treatment, three days straight of chemotherapy, almost killed her.
I sat at her bedside and one day, in walked a Chareidi Jew, who, in an entirely light-hearted manner, began making conversation with all the patients in the room. That man was you.
What caught my attention was the fact that you were entirely natural – you weren’t trying to maintain any tone of seriousness and gravity. To the contrary, you bantered with a smile playing on your lips. You weren’t tiptoeing between the patients as I had seen other visitors do, radiating pain and tragedy – truthfully, the qualities that characterize this entire department.
But you were different and when you came over to my wife’s bedside, I immediately understood why! You clarified in all seriousness, but without any inhibition, that you yourself had suffered through cancer at one point, and had gotten out of it.
The naturalness of your explanation and the faith you beamed with that day – and every time we have met you since then – that you can’t give in and you need to cope and to believe that you can get out even of the most difficult situations – infused my wife and I with a lot, a lot, of strength.
We looked forward to your visits and phone calls from that time onward and you didn’t disappoint – and still don’t. You became a part of the fight for my wife’s survival. You always find the right words to say, the push needed, the support that defies the hardest moments. I would be remiss if I didn’t add that everything you do is on a volunteer basis and is holy work.
When my wife talks about you and what you have done for her – whether through your encouragement, whether through your search to find any way to ease her suffering, driving her to treatments, doing everything you can to obtain the medications she needs – I sense a warmth in her voice and a hidden sparkle alighting in her eyes.
The words that would best characterize you are boundlessly good-hearted; unpretentiously good-willed characterize you no less. In front of secular people like myself, I have described you in even more generous terms!
I am convinced that all the feelings we cherish towards you are shared by all the other patients to whom you devote your heart, your caring, and your goodwill for the betterment of their emotional state and for their support.
There isn’t a single doubt that in any of their eyes, or in our eyes, that you give tremendous honour to Chareidi Jewry. May there be many more like you, people giving everything they have for the sake of the light. I can only say that it is a great honour for us that we were privileged to meet you.