I was provoked by a question posed to our counselor as she encouraged a pregnant woman to choose life for her preborn baby. The woman couldn’t understand why the counselor would care, and asked, “What difference does it make?” This child, like every child in the womb, has been created in God’s image for His purposes. God breathed His breath of life into each child. “I knew you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart for me before you were born” (Jeremiah 1:5). “It was you who formed my internal organs, fashioning me in my mother’s womb … Your eyes looked upon my embryo, and everything was recorded in your book. The days scheduled for my formation were inscribed, even though not one of them had come yet” (Psalms 139:13,16). The life of every person, created in the image of God, known to Him even before the womb, is of great value. “Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are needy. Speak up! Judge fairly! Defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8).
Bless you for caring for these little, most defenseless people. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).
Lucas turned one in August; he is a sweet baby but, sadly, has many health issues. He has already had abdominal surgery twice, and his feeding is problematic. His physical problems have led to a delay in development, and he does not walk yet.
His mother, Fida, a refugee from Eritrea, struggles. The father of her two sons visits occasionally but does not help her financially. Recently, Fida moved to Tel Aviv because her older son, Ben-El, who just turned five, has been diagnosed with autism and doesn’t speak. He now attends a special school, which is located in Tel Aviv.
Fida had started a job in her previous city, but now it is too far from where she lives and she is trying to find something that fits the hours that her boys are in their school programs. Although Fida is having a hard time dealing on her own with all the difficulties involving her children, she is very happy to be their mother. She is also extremely grateful for the generous help she has received over this last year, which has helped her to feel less alone.
Shakespeare wrote, “Conscience does make cowards of us all” (Hamlet, Act 3). Guilt and shame can cause people to be afraid — afraid to tell the truth, afraid to be themselves, afraid to be known. I have met numerous women who seemed very inhibited and ill-at-ease, because they carried (albeit unnecessarily) the burden of guilt from an abortion.
Many of these sit in our congregations feeling second-class, hindered by memories of past sins and failings, despite the fact that God offers us freedom and forgiveness. Once healed, these insecure, precious women are transformed into the confident women whom God created them to be.
Our booklet, “Restoring a Broken Heart,” has been completed recently in both Hebrew and English; it is based on Linda Cochraine’s wonderful workbook “Forgiven and Set Free.” “Restoring a Broken Heart” uses scriptures from the Tanach (the Old Testament), as a tool of healing for religious Jewish women. After completing a healing course, women are encouraged to plant a tree in the Gardens of Life, where trees are planted to honor and remember babies who were not able to be held. Guilt WILTS and the Gardens of Life bloom with new FREEDOM.
Anita made aliyah (the immigration of Jews to Israel) through a special youth program and served in the IDF as a lone soldier — the title of a soldier whose parents are abroad. After the army, she married and began building a family, with their first daughter being born in 2019. A year ago, she and her husband suffered a miscarriage, but as a result of that pregnancy, Anita lost her job. She soon became pregnant again but turned to us for help because of the family’s very tight financial situation.
Anita’s precious baby daughter, Maya, was born on Sept. 11, with some difficult health issues: The baby has reflux, chokes on her food, stops breathing and turns blue. Anita asked us to pay for the purchase of a monitor which will keep track of the baby’s breathing and send a warning signal when she stops breathing.
Anita barely sleeps because she is so scared her baby will stop breathing. We are grateful that we could purchase the monitor for Maya, so that this precious new mom can have peace of mind. We are grateful for your prayers for Maya’s health.
In the early months of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there was an influx of mothers and their children fleeing to Israel from war zones. Many of these are now returning to their homeland and families. It was our privilege to be able to offer love and practical help to some of these precious people. Our counselor Oxana, who immigrated from Ukraine to Israel herself, was our contact person. She received this lovely note: “Oxana, I’d like to thank you and your director Sandy from the depths of my heart for the big support and help for my son and I. You are 100% shining people with a huge and good heart! You are people who bring light in a time of darkness. May God give you and your precious ones health, happiness and success. We will always remember you with thankfulness. Oxana, a huge thanks to you all. This month, we return home.”
These precious words of thanks are meant for you, too, our partner. Without your help, we couldn’t offer support to moms and babies. Please receive this blessing from this grateful mom!
Last week, I rejoiced to receive a photo of adorable Mali as she celebrated her third birthday. Her mother, Dina, fearful when she became pregnant, had taken pills to cause the abortion of her baby; the pills proved ineffective, and Dina remained pregnant, but every doctor whom Dina contacted (more than 30 doctors) told her she MUST do a surgical abortion because her baby would be born handicapped.
Dina finally phoned our hotline and was encouraged to continue her pregnancy. She spoke with counselors, studied about babies surviving after attempted chemical abortions, and chose life. Mali is a terrific, smart, fun three-year-old. Dina is deeply grateful for the HOPE that she received and wrote: “Thank you for letting me find you way back when, when I didn’t give up…”
Many women want to have abortions, from a place of fear, shock or loneliness. After meeting with a concerned and caring counselor, they often choose life. What always amazes me is that, after finally deciding to keep her baby, a mother will become deeply connected to her child, protective and caring. Mali intended to have an abortion but, prior to the procedure, asked to speak with a counselor who had experienced an abortion herself. She wanted to know what it was really like.
We referred her to one of our counselors in another city, who shared the trauma of the abortion she had suffered. As a result of this conversation and the relationship which developed between Mali and her counselor, Mali chose life. This letter, received by the counselor, is remarkable: “Thank you so much; because of you, I am continuing the pregnancy. What you said ‘captured my heart.’ I’m trying to live moment by moment. It helps. I’m having a check-up right now because it seems that the embryo has a problem with his heart. I hope that everything will be fine and that he will be healthy and whole. All of a sudden, I really care whether he lives. So, I just wanted to say a big thanks. We’ll be in touch.”
Some time after this message, pregnant mother Mali sent a voice message: “Miracles happen. I feel so relieved! The heart is 100% fine and there’s nothing to fear. Thank God.”
We thank God that the baby is doing well in the womb — protected and safe. Let’s continue to pray for Mali and for a healthy birth.
Ofra, 19, comes from a religious family and did national service instead of serving in the military. She has been in a relationship for many years with a young man who works in a barbershop and has a very low salary. The couple were living with his parents and his younger sister; Ofra says she loves his family and that they all get along very well. They are religious people, so out of respect, she wears long sleeves and skirts in their home, despite these not being comfortable for her, especially in the hot Israeli summers. Ofra does not have a good relationship with her own family, so living with her boyfriend’s parents is very helpful — yet has had its challenges.
When Ofra told her partner about her pregnancy, he was afraid; he loves her very much and, even though the pregnancy was unplanned, he wanted to stand by her, support her and marry her. Ofra was deeply relieved by his response and rejoiced to marry such a faithful man.
Ofra shared that they turned to us because of their financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic; her husband could not find a job, and they were afraid that they would not be able to raise a child on their own. She called the hotline and very quickly made an appointment with one of our counselors, who to this day, embraces Ofra with love and warmth. Ofra was also concerned, because this was her first pregnancy and she had just begun to study in college. She found a good arrangement, as baby Oriel is in daycare while she studies.
She said everything happened so fast — becoming a mother, student and wife. She is overwhelmed at times but also very thankful. Sometimes when it’s hard for her, she calls her counselor; they talk and pray, and she is able to receive encouragement.
A word from Ofra: “I thank the organization [Be’ad Chaim] for all the help and close guidance throughout the pregnancy. The pregnancy was not easy for me. I discovered it at an advanced stage and at a really young age. I was thinking about abortion and through a Google search on my phone, I found the organization. I made it through the pregnancy thanks to God, despite a lot of challenges. I succeeded in large part because of your organization. Lots of messages and phone calls, and “the truth really fell on me one day” because I had been so confused about the pregnancy. Truly, thank you that you helped me to choose to continue the pregnancy and come out of the hospital with full arms. You are doing holy work! It’s not to be taken for granted.”
In September, we saved 31 babies from abortion. Among all the women that sought or considered abortion, at least 31 chose life. That is at least one a day. We are deeply grateful to God for every baby saved and applaud our counselors who are passionate for life.