Pope Francis to Jewish NGO chief: Pray for me in Jerusalem

Pope makes special request of Jewish charity dedicated to helping children with cancer. 'Pray for me and the world's children in Jerusalem.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Pope Francis meets with members of Israeli delegation
Pope Francis meets with members of Israeli delegation
Vatican Media

An Israeli delegation from Rachashei Lev, the nonprofit organization that supports children with cancer and their families, met recently with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

The young visitors briefed the Pope on the organization's invaluable activities in Israel and gifted him a specially made album featuring drawings by dozens of children with cancer from throughout Israel – artwork that expresses hope for peace and health.

“Pray in Jerusalem for me and for all the children of the world,” requested the Pope of Shimi Geshayed, the CEO of Rachashei Lev, who said, “I hope and wish for fellowship among all children of all nationalities, not only in the oncology wards, but throughout the world.”

Rachashei Lev, which marked its 30th anniversary this year, assists thousands of children and family members every year. Representing Rachashei Lev in the delegation were several senior executives and three cancer patients from Israel – Yuval Mor (age 19) from Tel Aviv, Bian Nasser (age 18) from Jatt and Eva Musymovych (age 8) from Ramla – three children of three different religions, who speak for hundreds of their peers in Israel who must cope every day and every hour with their disease and its many arduous challenges.

Shimi Geshayed, CEO of Rachashei Lev, explains, “For 30 years, our nonprofit organization has been helping children with cancer in Israel, working with leading international medical centers and world-renowned experts.”

“We were very surprised and quite moved when we received the Vatican’s invitation to meet the Pope. The invitation was extended to children that our organization helps – kids of various religions who deal with this dreadful disease, which does not differentiate between religion, race or nationality.”

“United by circumstance, these children coexist and support each other to fight for life and hope for triumph over illness. After the Pope was briefed on our mission and activities, addressed the visiting children and inquired about the health of the patients in Israel, he proceeded on to his next guests, but then stopped and returned to us again and said to me: ‘I admire the blessed work that you do! I ask that you pray in Jerusalem for me and for all the children of the world.’”

“I told him that I hope and wish for fellowship among all children of all nationalities, not only in the oncology wards – where children of all religions find themselves coping together in the fight for their lives – but we pray that children will live together peacefully everywhere in the world.”

“We presented the Pope with an album that features drawings by children with cancer from throughout Israel – artwork that expresses hope for peace and health. These drawings symbolize, above all, the patients’ sense of childhood – feelings that are so challenging to maintain during their harrowing routines of treatments and hospitalizations, but emotions that are so vital to recovering and conquering the disease.”

“Meeting the Pope was fun – a very special experience; I was very excited when he gave me a rosary,” summarized Eva, age 8, on her visit to the Vatican. Yuval, age 19, said, “This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience; I hope that the message that we brought to the Pope about coexistence and the friendship that we have among patients in the hospital will set a powerful example for other children in the world.”

After the meeting with the Pope, the delegation met with representatives of the Jewish community in Rome, among them, Rabbi Dr. Shemuel Riccardo Di Segni, chief rabbi of Rome, and Ms. Ruth Dureghello, president of the Jewish Community of Rome, who warmly and affectionately hosted them in the celebrated Great Synagogue of Rome.

The group visited the Jewish Museum of Rome and learned about the diverse history of the city’s Jewish community. Geshayed said, “It was a moving visit, symbolizing the beginning of a special friendship and partnership. Dureghello was enthusiastic about the opportunity to host the delegation, especially the children. She promised to visit the kids at Rachashei Lev’s Children’s House, a home away from home for kids in Israel who must remain on the hospital campus during their cancer treatment. Dureghello also invited other Rachashei Lev children and their families to be her community’s guests. Wearing two hats, as both a rabbi and a doctor, Di Segni blessed the children with a double blessing – for health, recovery and victory over the disease. We are extremely grateful to everyone who made this memorable day possible.”




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