Leah Abramovich is a social worker by profession, and a caring, giving person by nature. Born in Germany and raised in St. Louis, she made Aliyah in 1957 after going to college as a Bnei Akiva emissary in Montreal. After her wedding, she and her new husband moved to a development town in the south of the country, helping new immigrants integrate into Israeli society. They lived there for five years. Today many of her own children and grandchildren have chosen to live in development towns to help strengthen them as well.
Leah, who raised 13 children, once applied for a job and was rejected because she had too many children. "You cannot be a good mother and have a full-time job. Somebody is bound to suffer," she was told. She went on to get a different job at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital (where they neglected to ask her how many children she had), and she worked there for over thirty years. How does she do it all? "I'm an organized person and my husband and I make a good team," Leah explained simply.
While working in the geriatric department, Leah noted that most patients were given instructions on release from the hospital, such as medications or therapies they could do to improve their condition. Patients with dementia were mostly sent to institutions, shortening their lives and reducing their quality of life. Together with Professor Arnold Rosin, she started Melabev, an organization to help the elderly and their families by providing day care activities, support groups, home visits, therapies and social companionship. "Melabev cannot prevent Alzheimer's patients from getting worse, for that is the nature of the disease," Leah explains. "We can slow the disease and improve quality of life for both the patients and their families."
In addition they began a program for training health-care professionals on how to work with the elderly. No such program existed at the time, and many doctors, nurses and therapists have studied in the program, learning not only skills, but attitude about respecting every individual. "These elderly are the people who built up this country, raised a family and taught us what we know. They deserve our respect, and they deserve dignity," Leah explains.
Tune in to meet this incredible woman who has done so much to build up this country, never losing sight of herself as a Jewish mother.
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