About two months ago I finally had to acknowledge the fact that I was now 94 years old, and that it was foolish – not to say potentially dangerous – to continue living on my own. My age was not so important as long as my wife was alive, but unfortunately, she left us about two years ago. Thus I found myself living alone for the first time in over 70 years. I did not like my new situation whatsoever. I had to face the facts of my solitary and lonely life. After much hesitation, I gave up my private residence and moved to a senior citizens’ facility. Doing so brought back memories of my time as a professional fundraiser for Herzog Hospital in Jerusalem. There I spent two decades raising funds for an institution that is the best in Israel, and among the best in the world, when it comes to attending to people with geriatric and/or psychiatric issues. Recollections came flooding back to me in great detail. I recalled how its medical staff was so very attentive and caring. Day after day, I saw evidence of the wonderful ways in which they attended to the needs of the patients in their care. And now that I have been living in a facility dedicated to the needs of elderly people, I can appreciate all the moreso the wonderful ways that Herzog and its professionals treat their residents. I recall conversations with various staff people who referred to their patients with utmost respect, whether they were psychiatric or geriatric patients. What always impressed me was the way staff members related to their patients – they never referred to them as non-distinct groups of people, but viewed everyone as a unique individual. In every conversation that I ever had with any Herzog staff member, I was always impressed by the fact that they never spoke in generalities, never referred to the residents in the plural – every resident was a particular person with his or her own name and story. Although I always had a high regard for the staff at Herzog, now that I have been living in a facility with residents very similar to those who call Herzog their home, I have an even greater appreciation for people who devote all their professional attention to elderly and/or psychiatric patients who require daily attentive care.
Respect for the elderly is one of only two Commandments in the Torah that promises a reward of long life for its observance: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your G-d is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)
There is no greater mitzvah than helping Herzog Hospital attend to the needs of the elderly – people who need assistance all day, every day. Please avail yourself of the opportunity to assist Herzog in its sacred mission. Contributions are acknowledged with a receipt for income tax purposes.