Being here for Israel’s English-speaking community is a responsibility that Chaim V’Chessed does not take lightly. Over the past three-and-a-half years, the once-fledgling organization has exploded into a non-stop chessed operation, with an average of 50 new cases to tackle each day.
Chaim V’Chessed offers assistance to English-speaking residents and tourists in all aspects of life, including special education, mental health, geriatrics, government offices, kupat cholim and health care. The organization is departmentalized by areas of service, and each department is staffed by experts in its field.
Chaim V’Chessed’s medical department has been operating beyond capacity for a while. Mrs. Nechama Nulman, department coordinator, acts as the liaison between callers and their healthcare providers, hospital staff and on-site Chaim V’Chessed hospital representatives. The reps, Zevi Weingarten and Aralla Weingarten, are both native Israelis with years of experience interfacing with hospital staff, smoothing out complications and ensuring that patients’ needs are met. Zevi and Aralla circulate between Shaare Zedek and Hadassah Ein Kerem hospitals. They advocate for patients and guide them through the confusing medical terms and foreign hospital mentality.
But the need for hospital assistance just keeps growing. This October, Chaim V’Chessed welcomed a new team member. Meet Mrs. Shani Wahrsager, a born Israeli who is intimately familiar with the Anglo mindset and culture.
It’s rare for Israelis to work so well with Anglos. What’s your secret?
I was born in Israel, but my parents are American. I grew up in the Israeli system and I have a fluent Israeli Hebrew, but I’ve lived and worked all my life with Americans. I get their mentality and I speak their language.
How did you hear of Chaim V’Chessed?
I’ve been working in the world of English-speaking non-profits for years. Over the past three years, the name “Chaim V’Chessed” started coming up more and more. I realized they were doing valuable work. When I was ready to move on, I reached out to Chaim V’Chessed, and with my job history and skill set, the medical department was a perfect fit.
What is your role?
I work with Nechama Nulman in the medical department. Nechama’s been handling all the behind-the-scenes medical cases on her own until now. My job, ultimately, is to phase into her current role as the in-office liaison. This will free her up to spend more time in Jerusalem hospitals. Zevi and Aralla Weingarten are phenomenal patient advocates. They accomplish so much and have affected the lives of hundreds of people. But the need is growing. Adding Mrs. Nulman to the hospital representative roster will not only increase Chaim V’Chessed’s presence in the hospitals, but will also offer patients more emotional support.
You’re new to the organization. What’s your take?
I can tell you one thing: I don’t like being bored, and that has yet to be a problem. It is unbelievable what goes on here. The amount of people we help every day is mind-boggling. When I told my kids about the amount of cases we handled one day, my daughter said, “What? It sounds like every English-speaker has Chaim V’Chessed on speed dial!”
Chaim V’Chessed is here for you. We are a non-profit organization that helps English speakers navigate all areas of crisis or difficulty in Israel. Our phone hotline operates 9 am –5 pm, Sunday through Thursday, with an emergency notification system that operates 24/6. To learn more about our multifaceted efforts on behalf of Israel’s English speaking community, or to contact us, visit www.chaimvchessed.com or dial 072-CHESSED (243-7733).