Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

7 Nissan 5762 - March 20, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Israel's Yad Sarah
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Yad Sarah, an extraordinary Israeli volunteer organization, saves the Israeli economy $220 million yearly -- and many of its citizens rivers of tears -- by lending out medical equipment, driving the disabled, providing geriatric dentistry, advising about home care equipment, supplying legal aid, meals on wheels and much more. All these services are free or at a nominal fee for everyone in (temporary) need.

In the middle of March, Yad Sarah started using a bulletproof van to transport wheelchair-bound people in dangerous areas. The special car, which can accommodate about 4 wheelchairs, was a NIS 650,000 ($150,000) donation from the Swiss friends of Yad Sarah. A similar van, donated in memory of Raphael de Rothschild, started delivering essential medical equipment to those dangerous areas about one month ago.

Last year Yad Sarah's fleet of 22 special vans transported 120,000 disabled persons throughout Israel.

On February 12th the Israeli Knesset paid tribute to Yad Sarah, an Israeli volunteer organization active for 25 years.

"Everyone, at some point, will be challenged by physical difficulties," said Rabbi Uri Lupolianski, Yad Sarah's founder and director who is also a deputy mayor of Jerusalem from the Degel Hatorah faction of United Torah Judaism. "At Yad Sarah we turn away from egoism and focus on the other person, the person who needs help. Many people connected in such a way will create a spiritually healthier world."

Yad Sarah, using a unique concept in the world developed by Rabbi Lupolianski, has 6000 volunteers in 90 branches in Israel, while others, including eastern Europe, have adopted its exceptional structure in over a hundred similar offshoots. Because Yad Sarah operates on a very small budget, its concept is usable and useful in poor countries.

As Jerusalem's mayor Ehud Olmert stated: "Yad Sarah unites all segments of Israel's divided society in a wonderful mosaic. Gaps between the secular and religious, Arabs, Jews, Druse and Christians, disappear."

Here is some information about Yad Sarah's latest activities:

Dental House Calls

Old people worldwide have terrible oral health, according to a recent global survey. Poorly fitting dentures, inadequate oral hygiene and inflamed gums head the list of acute problems. Yad Sarah's Geriatric Dental Clinic meets this challenge in Jerusalem, but many elderly and extremely infirm people are not able to come there. Now the clinic will go to them. A mobile dental care unit is bringing volunteer dentists to the home where, using mobile equipment, they examine, instruct and treat the various geriatric populations according to their individual needs. The Jerusalem unit is serving as a pilot program and model for a possible future country-wide service.

Lifelink Bracelets

Lifelink is Yad Sarah's new lifesaving outdoor bracelet. Subscribers to the Yad Sarah Emergency Response Service, who up to know could call for instant help from home, can now be helped when they leave home, too. On the bracelet are the phone number of the Emergency Response Center, and the wearer's Lifelink ID number. Should the wearer have any medical emergency while away from home, anyone coming to his or her aid can call Yad Sarah any hour of the day or night, give the Lifelink ID number and find out who the person is as well as receive immediate vital medical information. The family doctor and family member(s) can be alerted, and so on. The duty operator at Yad Sarah can meanwhile contact relatives -- they can be waiting at the emergency room when the patient gets there. The bracelets are now being offered to the public at a nominal price.

Exhibition Demo Disc

All the equipment and ideas displayed in Yad Sarah's Guidance, Exhibition and Resource Centers for daily living aids are now demonstrated in a new presentation available to the public as a CD or through the Yad Sarah website. The demo disk contains four tracks: morning routines, dressing, personal hygiene and leisure. Suitable for professionals and lay people, it serves as a virtual visit to the Center with its multitude of useful and original solutions to daily living challenges of people who are disabled or feeble and wish to live independently at home.


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