Many of the women who come through our doors have been hurt, abused and grew up as “orphans” because they were fatherless, abused or neglected by fathers. These same hurting women often become “widows” as mothers because there is no man who will defend, protect or support them. I recently read a quote by Mother Teresa that said, "People are not hungry just for bread, they are hungry for love. If our poor die of hunger, it is not because God does not care for them.” I would say that if our babies die, it is not because God has not loved them and created them in His own image. We must show love for the mothers and the babies. Just showing love, without physical, practical help will leave the mothers in despair. Just providing for the babies’ needs without showing love will leave the mothers broken-hearted.
One of the ways in which we show love and support, is through our clothing distribution program in several of our centers. This month, in Jerusalem, despite the holidays and corona virus “lockdown”, we gave clothing to a whopping 44 mothers and shared hundreds of clothing items with our Beer Sheba branch for distribution. Many mothers, worried about the situation and the three week closure and wanted to make sure that they got their monthly support and clothing before our newest lockdown. Some of our new mothers have been afraid to leave their homes and have not taken their newborns out of the house for months. It made them very happy to come and have contact with caring people at Be’ad Chaim.
Thank you for standing with us as we fulfill our goal to protect and love both the mother and the child, bringing new life and hope to both of them.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ... And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
Elisheva, mother of Lotan, is a woman who suffered much in her 32 years. Her father brutally abused her as a child and forced her to leave home for a boarding school at only 11 years of age. She married young and had two children but felt unprotected by her husband and the marriage didn’t last. For ten years, she raised her two children on her own, working as a chef and a house cleaner.
Last year, she became pregnant by a boyfriend and decided to abort. She felt that having a baby was not possible considering her financial situation and marital status. In the end, and as a result of counseling and the promise of practical help, she chose life for her son. During the pregnancy, she suffered from back aches and had to leave her job. Her Ultra-Orthodox father, ashamed of his pregnant unwed daughter, forced her to marry the boyfriend in her
eighth month. Her husband is an alcoholic who doesn’t work. She suffers and wants God to mend her broken heart. Baby Lotan was born healthy except for an acute case of reflux and needs special baby formula which is very expensive. Beyond the scope of our Operation Moses project, we have increased the value of her monthly vouchers to further subsidize the purchase of the prescription formula. Elisheva would like to work, but no daycare center will take Lotan because of his sensitive health situation. Please pray for physical healing for baby Lotan, and for Elisheva to know God’s love for her. She is trying to “become more religious” by changing the way she dresses and by observing traditions, but realizes that outward changes cannot mend a broken heart. She wept and hugged me in gratitude for the love and care that she’s received through Be’ad Chaim.
At 33 years old, Molly's last job was with the ground crew at Israel's Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. It was there that she met the man who would be the father of her twins. The pregnancy came as a shock. Her own father had passed away not long before and she just wasn't thinking responsibly, so she says. She considered aborting again (she had had an abortion at age 15) until she was told that she was carrying twins. Her conscience wouldn't allow her to do it, even though her relationship with the man ended and her financial situation was less than good. Her family had also encouraged her to abort, until they were shown the twins on an ultrasound.
Frightened and unsure how to proceed, a friend put her in touch with us and encouraged her to get help for the babies. She was forced to quit her job and be on bed rest for most of the pregnancy because she has a medical issue that could have caused her to give birth prematurely.
A year ago, twin boys Eli and Yoel were born only minutes apart. For the first months of their lives, Molly lived alone with the babies and had to manage baby care and errands all on her own. Recently, she gave up the apartment she had been renting and moved in with her mother.
The boys’ dad comes on occasion to see them and sporadically helps out financially. Molly managed to save some money that she received from National Insurance and from the boys' dad and used it as a payment for the first months of the boys' daycare which was to start in September. Unfortunately, due to the corona virus lockdown, daycare centers are now closed. Molly has had to put looking for work on hold.
Molly said that the gifts that she received from Be’ad Chaim, especially the twin stroller, “have saved her life”. Eli and Yoel are the joy of Molly’s life. Some days are still a real challenge, and she is exhausted by evening, but she loves the boys and wouldn’t trade her situation for anything else.
“God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” Genesis 1:28
For many Orthodox Jewish women, this commandment is a joy to fulfill. Blessed with fertility, Osnat became pregnant immediately after her wedding. Her first daughter was born in July 2018, the next in June 2019, and only five months later, in November 2019, Osnat discovered that she was pregnant again with her third child. Her husband studies in a yeshiva (a place of Talmudic study) and receives a disability compensation due to a work accident. They live in a one room apartment and have very little income. A pizza business that they ran together with her husband’s father went bankrupt, and they were left with huge debts. Although Orthodox, Osnat felt that having another child so quickly and with so many debts was too much for her. She considered an abortion. Osnat heard about Be’ad Chaim and turned to us for help. She received both love and support from one of our wonderful counselors and was enrolled in the Operation Moses project which would support her baby for the first year of his life.
In August, baby Benny was born. Thankfully he is a very calm and easy child. Osnat shared with us that her oldest daughter, who is only two, really wants to help out and tries to feed the baby from a bottle and help her put him to sleep.
The one-year-old sister, however, is showing signs of jealousy. Osnat struggles to give each of her precious children the love and attention they need. Thankfully, living in a close community, Osnat’s mother and mother-in-law come most days to help her with the children. Osnat expressed her deep gratitude to Be’ad Chaim and said that in the midst of all their challenges, it is very special to have people who care, love and support them.
Itai ("God is with me", in Hebrew) recently celebrated his first birthday. At birth, it was discovered that he had Downs Syndrome. His mother, Jedidiya, a refugee from Ethiopia, is divorced with three other children. Itai’s father is an Israeli citizen which allows Itai to receive the therapy and support that any Israeli child would receive. Israel has excellent services for children with Downs Syndrome, and Itai receives physical therapy as well as speech therapy and play time with 6 or 7 other children who are his age with similar special needs at a well-known center for disabled children called "Shalva". Itai is able to sit on his own and crawl but he doesn't stand yet. He claps his hands, grasps things and vocalizes (tries to imitate what he hears). For all the challenges that a Downs child presents, he is very sociable and loves the attention he receives. He returns much love and his siblings accept him unquestionably. There are still legal aspects of Itai’s status and that of his family in Israel which are being worked out. (Corona has delayed everything). A particular matter for prayer is that she and her other children will be able to stay in Israel on a recognized status. Jedidiya has grown in her faith in the
Lord over this year. Having a Downs child has matured her and she sees the proverbial cup as half full, rather than complaining that it is half empty.
She is most grateful for all the help she received for Itai, particularly the monthly assistance, and has specifically related that she blesses our donors "in the name of the Lord". Jedidiya regrets many things she has done in her life, but now that Itai is born, he is definitely not one of them. She has hopes that he will grow into a high functioning adult and lead a happy and productive life. Thank you, our partners, for giving him this chance.
The loss of an unborn or newborn child is a painful experience. Yet, there are very few programs in Israel to help women who suffer the grief of losing their baby through abortion or miscarriage. At Be’ad Chaim, our program to offer counseling and relief to hurting women continues to grow.
Our Hebrew Facebook page called “Life after Abortion” (the word for ‘abortion’ in Hebrew can mean either abortion or miscarriage) has very beautifully illustrated posts which encourage those who grieve to seek help. Two of those recent posts are very poignant:
“After the loss of a baby, perhaps you look the same on the outside, but something is missing. The invisible wounds of grief and mourning can’t be seen but are real.”
“To experience sincere emotions, including explosions of sadness, does not mean that you are weak or “have difficulty coping”. It means that you love the person you lost.”
Women, throughout the country, continue to phone for help after the loss of a baby and are counseled through "zoom" calls.In November, because of the growing demand, we will begin an on-line Hebrew training course for new counselors. We would appreciate your prayers for this new venture.
We had planned a tree planting event in the Gardens of Life during the Days of Awe, but due to government restrictions during the corona pandemic, we had to cancel it.That being said, our prayer hostess and gardener continue to be available to plant trees on a proxy basis for those who would like to honor and memorialize a child who was not held because of abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth.The Gardens of Life are a quiet place in the center of Israel where family members can find closure and healing. Please contact our office for more information. [email protected]