At Zichron Menachem it's business as usual helping cancer sufferers and their families

Chaim Ehrental, founder of Zichron Menachem, tells Arutz 7 that coronavirus won't stop them from helping cancer sufferers & their families.

Nitzan Keidar ,

Chaim Ehrental
Chaim Ehrental
Credit: Miriam Tzachi

Israel Prize winner Chaim Ehrental, founder of Zichron Menachem, spoke with Arutz Sheva about the organization’s activities for children with cancer and their families in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic.

Zichron Menachem was founded in 1990 by Chaim Ehrental and his wife Miri, after their oldest son, Menachem, passed away from leukemia at the age of fifteen. The organization, the first of its kind, provides support for any young person in Israel under the age of 25 who is living with cancer, along with their parents and siblings. It has become Israel’s leading provider of support and services for these families.

“Many of our activities are actually continuing as normal,” said Ehrental. “As always, we identify the families in need of our help, and prioritize them according to their needs. In the north and the south, it’s business as usual. Those who volunteer through our organization are continuing to do so, and even now, our volunteers are still making home visits. In the present situation, families [with a member who has cancer] are forced to remain at home. They have no institutional support right now, and so we tell these families: Our volunteers will come to your homes and we’ll help you. For instance, our volunteers purchased all sorts of arts and crafts materials so that the children and their siblings will have things to keep them occupied at home.”

The current situation has demanded additional precautions: “Every one of our volunteers is provided with disinfectant gel and masks. We also provide them with private transportation in order to reach the homes of the families, so that they don’t have to use trains or buses. In this way, the families can feel confident that there’s no danger of them being brought into contact with the virus.”

Ehrental also mentioned Dr. Maurice Dahan, the head of Zichron Menachem in France, who was recently hospitalized in serious condition due to coronavirus complications.

“Dr. Dahan has been running Zichron Menachem’s summer camps for years. He is an exceptional person who is extraordinarily devoted to helping the Jewish people. Unfortunately, he contracted coronavirus and last Shabbat (Sabbath) he was hospitalized in serious condition due to breathing difficulties. We pray that he will make a full recovery, and that Zichron Menachem will continue to be able to do whatever is needed for the people we serve.”