He Kept A Dark Secret. Now, The Whole World Knows

The photographer at Moshe Phillip’s Bar Mitzvah couldn’t believe how impossible it was to get one Bar Mitzvah boy to smile for a picture. What did he have to be upset about? At that age? He didn’t have any real problems.

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Moshe Phillip
Moshe Phillip
צילום: Vaad HaRabbanim

“How about a smile?”

The photographer at Moshe Phillip’s Bar Mitzvah couldn’t believe how impossible it was to get one Bar Mitzvah boy to smile for a picture. What did he have to be upset about? At that age? He didn’t have any real problems.

Little did he know.

At Moshe Phillips’s Bar Mitzvah two weeks ago, his friends kept asking him why his eyes were red. Moshe refused to tell them the truth: That his mother was fighting for her life. Though he wanted to cancel the event, Chana refused: Her sickness was not going to prevent her family from feeling a little bit of joy for once. But tragically, after three years of fighting an aggressive form of brain cancer, Chana Phillips passed away several days later.

“Words cannot begin to describe our pain as we mourn the loss of my dear wife, Chana,” are the heartbreaking words that Chana’s husband Menecham wrote upon her death.

“We stood one week ago by her open kever, my seven kids and I, and watched them lower her body inside. Our 3 year old started crying, and screamed for her.”

Chana is described as an incredibly warm and selfless woman who lived and breathed generosity, even until the end of her life. In fact, Chana somehow managed to hide the fact that she was sick from her children for several years. She wanted them to have a happy and normal childhood for as long as possible.

As she gradually became more and more weak, it was impossible to hide any longer; Chana was dying.

Menachem makes a minimal wage as a teacher, and is now left with seven little children to raise without their mother. An emergency fund has been opened to help the young father support his family alone, a feat which likely seems impossible from his current perspective of devastating grief. Though no amount of financial help will ease their pain, donations will allow them to take the space they need to process this tragedy.

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