Saturday, July 3, 2010

Charity is an obligation

My religion teaches that charity is an obligation, a spiritual act.

I was a minor facilitator in a couple of wonderful charity stories.

Thanks to all you who used my blog and many other sites like it to vote for BE THE MATCH, I am happy to announce:

Jimmie Johnson wins $100,000 Pepsi Refresh grant to benefit Be The Match!

Thanks to you, we won! You votes counted! Jimmie Johnson won the $100,000 Pepsi Refresh grant to fund Be The Match Transplant Grants for Kids! Thanks to all who took time to vote and spread the word. This win for Jimmie is also a win for the kids!

The other story touches closer to home. I just discovered that a fundraiser in Leeds, England lead by Rabbi Daniel Levy and supported by the generosity of his congregants, set up the fund three years ago that found my donor.

The good rabbi and his United Hebrew congregants have done it again. I wrote a short appeal based on my transplant story for last month's fundraiser, not knowing at the time how these folks in Leeds helped give me this second chance at life.

Below is the news coverage. In the next post I will include what I wrote.


THE Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Registry has benefited to the tune of £50,000 from a United Hebrew Congregation community initiative.

A gala dinner held at the Queens Hotel, Leeds, attracted some 200 guests.

And two Ezer Mizion donor pools were established in the names of two Leeds women whose lives were devoted to helping others - Audrey Manning and Susan Black.

Rabbi Daniel Levy, chairman of the Ezer Mizion dinner committee, said Audrey and Susan were two outstanding Leeds women who appreciated people and had a great sense of community.

Their deep feeling of responsibility led them to dedicate themselves to others.

He said: "Audrey raised funds for the Ladies Aid Society which eventually amalgamated with the Leeds Jewish Welfare Board. She was a keen member of WIZO and a most active volunteer at Donisthorpe Hall.

"Susan raised funds for orphaned children under the care of Norwood and she was also a committed member of the Chevrah Kaddisha; she was renowned for her warm empathy and comforting of the bereaved."

Three years ago, the United Hebrew Congregation hosted the acclaimed Sacred Voices concert. The event established four donor pools for Ezer Mizion and raised in excess of £30,000.

"Through one of these pools, the Leeds Jewry Donor Pool, Yaakov Fabian, a 22-year-old yeshivah student in Israel, donated his stem cells to an unknown recipient," added Rabbi Levy.

"The next day Dr Brian Koffman in California received them and in November 2009 they had an emotional meeting in New York.

"I am sure that the Black and Manning families will derive some comfort in the fact that other lives will be saved in their loved ones' memories from the establishment of the Audrey Manning Donor Pool and the Susan Black Donor Pool."

The Ezer Mizion Bone Marrow Donor Registry, established in Israel in 1998, is the largest Jewish registry in the world. Because donors and recipients need to be genetically compatible, Jewish patients generally require Jewish stem cell donors.

Rabbi Levy said: "Tonight we hope that those who need a bone marrow registry are able to find an appropriate match. That is why we are here tonight, to celebrate life and to provide hope for the future."

He paid tribute to those who supported the dinner and had a word of praise for the organising committee, Susan Belford, Sarah Doerfler, Ian Freeman, Pam Glynn, Michael Goldstone, Adele Manning and Anne Pliener.

Rabbi Levy later told the Jewish Telegraph: "It was an inspirational evening, full of joy for the lives that have been saved, but also tinged with sadness for those who have sadly passed away.

"The response has been fantastic and I am most grateful to the Leeds community for their overwhelming generosity. We are full of admiration of Ezer Mizion's awesome work."

Other speakers were donor and IDF solider Shmuel Horowtiz and London Ezer Mizion director Simon Maurer.

Entertainment was provided by Canadian-born Israeli Chassidic rock and soul musician Menachem Herman.

Thanks to all you and thank to those good people in England.

California to Leeds to Jerusalem. We never know where our salvation lies.

It is a mitzvah, a commandment to give back.

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Blogger Unknown said...

"Entertainment was provided by Canadian-born Israeli Chassidic rock and soul musician Menachem Herman."

What could possibly make such an event even more perfect?

July 3, 2010 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger J.R. said...

The world is a small place and better for the kindness and generosity of so many.

July 4, 2010 at 2:39 AM  

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