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Brought together by caring and love

Friday, 23 September, 2011 - 4:54 pm

Dear Friends,

Last night Malkie and I attended a unique celebration, a birthday party for Moish Pomeranc who turned 60 this week. Who is Moish and why was his 60th unique?

Moish and his wife Kochava live in Ofrah, an Israeli settlement. Two years ago Moish was diagnosed with a life-threatening liver disease. His long journey to finding treatment brought him to New Orleans on Purim day 2011. Ochsner Hospital’s transplant team has made the institution an international destination for people seeking a new lease on life. Just this year three Israelis, Shmuel Katz, Yehudah Peretz and Moish Pomeranc, underwent successful liver transplant surgery. (See an earlier post entitled A Medical Miracle.)

Each man’s path was different. For Moish, his first trip to New Orleans would not prove to be the decisive one. They were sent back to Israel after one month after being told that he was not a transplant candidate at this time. Things began to deteriorate and in July, Moish and Kochava returned to New Orleans. Within a very short time he went through the surgery to be given a new liver and a new life. At his 59th birthday Moish looked upon the upcoming year with uncertainty. Last night, at his 60th, he and Kochava expressed their thankfulness to G-d for the miracle He had shown them.

Gathered around the table at the celebration were a group of wonderful people that got to know the Pomeranc family during their time in New Orleans – and were devoted to helping them in many ways. As the least significant person at the gathering, I was in awe of this diverse group who were united in their performance of Chesed - loving-kindness to Moish and Kochava. They were: Sandy Seelig, her husband Stanley and their daughter Avery; Shirley and Ralph Seelig; Rivka and Uzzi Kehaty; and Linda Waknin along with Malkie and me.

Each of these people had done so much and in so many ways to be there with a sense of Ahavat Yisrael – love for a fellow Jew. It really felt like a family gathering. As I reflected on the gathering, I realized that it was a most fitting way to spend some of the final nights before Rosh Hashanah. As we show Hashem, who is a Father to us, how much His children care for and love each other, He is turn reciprocates with the greatest blessings from His infinite reservoir of abundant goodness for the coming year. Indeed, may Hashem repay the kindness of these wonderful people many times over.

May each and every one of you individually and all of us collectively be blessed with a happy, healthy, sweet and meaningful new year of 5772.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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