A sad goodbye

This week we had to say our goodbyes to a dear friend you’ve heard me mention quite often.

Rivka Shechman was one of the Holocaust survivors we had the privilege of working with in the past few years. On June 25 we took her to a restaurant, to celebrate her 88th birthday. The following morning, on the very date of her birthday, she went out for some errands.

Apparently (we don’t have all the details), she was hit by a passing car. Shop owners, who saw that, told she seemed to be ok at the beginning, but they still called an ambulance. Her condition deteriorated quickly, and the following night she passed away.

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As customary in Judaism, her funeral was held the following day. It was a beautiful tribute to the woman she was and the lives she touched.

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Years ago she asked her social worker to read one of her poems titled “A Woman’s Prayer” at her gravesite, and so she did. After the grave was covered with sand, the young woman pulled out of her bag a copy of the book of poems and artwork we published for Rivka just a few short months ago. What a blessing it was for me – to know we were able to make her heart rejoice and be used to fulfill one of her wishes.

A WOMAN’S PRAYER by Rivka

She says:

“Thank you, God, thank you for giving me long life.
Indeed, life has been rough, living constantly on the edge.
No left, no right, only moving straight ahead.
But I kept moving on.

Left with no childhood, in the dark, with fear, in the cold and loneliness.
Always moving straight ahead, for there was no left and no right.
I experienced wars, wandered in foreign lands,
fought against wolves, who were hungry, just like me.
And against people, who were far worse than the wolves.
With snakes of all kinds.
And actually, God, snakes can show mercy.

I am still living on the edge, and I thank you, God,
for helping me raise a family, children, grandchildren.
For touching happiness though always left lonely.
I had no shoulder to cry on, no one to stand by my side.

When the soul hurts, you can’t see it.
The heart bleeds, the eyes so sad and downcast.
But people want happiness and joy.

So yes, God, I was not born to be happy myself,
I was born to bring joy to others, that they may be happy,
and with them I too will be.

God, you, who are so much greater than all of us,
please protect the children, the grandchildren, my relatives,
neighbors and friends.
Please forget not the woman, that is still living on the edge,
always with you, always Yours”.

Amen. Amen

Rivka’s sons at her burial

Some of you have sown from your time, came to Israel to paint her home, and donated into the Holocaust Fund I started a few years ago. This has enabled us to make Rivka’s heart rejoice. We fixed some stuff in her home, took her out, listened to her stories, and slowly slowly she came out of a depressive cloud that was over her. Thank you for co-partnering with us in this pure and undefiled act of worship (James 1:27).

Please join us in prayer for her family and loved ones. Her sons are overwhelmed with the care God lavished on their mom through people who didn’t even know her, who are not even Jewish. This might be one more way He wants to reveal His Face to this family.