A woman with a tense expression on her face stands in line at the supermarket, trying to take deep breaths. Her cart is full of items for the next couple of weeks: Vegetables, eggs, bread, those juice boxes her kids like. She begins to feel a bead of sweat trickle down her neck as the cashier begins to scan her items.
Please G-d, she whispers.
Please let it not be declined.
The moment comes that the cashier asks for her credit card. She hands it over, trying to hide her visible shaking The cashier swipes. Pauses. Swipes again. “Slicha...Zeh lo avar,” he tells her in Hebrew, handing back the card.
The woman bursts into tears.
Nechama Bernstein and her husband Naftali used to support their family of 12 with a feeling of plenty. He was a teacher, and Nechama stayed at home and looked after the children. Their Shabbat table was always full of guests who enjoyed Nechama’s fantastic cooking and the warm, lively atmosphere that the Bernstein home provided.
But over one year ago, everything changed when Naftali received a positive result from a Covid test. The doctors said he was young and there was probably nothing to worry about.
But less than three weeks later, Naftali Bernstein was gone, leaving his shattered wife and ten children behind.
This past year has been extremely difficult for the Bernstein family. Aside from the emotional trauma that they have suffered from losing their young father so unexpectedly, Nechama is struggling to take care of the kids without Naftali’s income and support. Her son Menachem’s recent engagement has been a great comfort for her, yet it has brought the young widow’s worries to a whole new level.
“My son Menachem is a chosson [groom]!...But I don’t have the funds to even begin to prepare for this wedding, let alone pay rent and bills at the end of the month,” she wrote candidly on a crowdfunding page.
“If you are reading this, please, donate what you can to help a yesom [orphan] get married, and to help me feed my children. I am so embarrassed to be asking for help like this but I don’t know what else to do. I have literally nowhere else to turn.”