Thursday, September 6, 2012

Esther's story

I read this story in a letter I received yesterday and have been in tears on and off about it. Esther is not her real name. This woman who is a holocaust survivor without children became sick. What she suffered during the Shoah left her unable to have children and I would assume health problems that are chronic problems. To be in poor health costs money, plus it also means problems with work. She was on a pension and it was not enough to live on. She became homeless. She had to stay in a shelter for the homeless for 10 days with no food or money being moved from one motel to the next. Then she was taken to a bigger facility in Melbourne's south eastern suburbs which was inundated with drug addicts, alcoholics and I would say a lot of people with mental health issues or criminal mentalities. This nightmare scenario beggars belief and we are talking about an elderly Shoah survivor who we all have a  responsibility towards not only because of what she suffered but because of basic human decency to an older person.
Finally she was directed to Jewish Care and they helped her. Thank G-D so if you want to give extra tzedaka around this time before Rosh Hashanna please remember Jewish Care. They do good work. I am just shocked and in tears that this could have happened to one of the holocaust survivors.
Now as we face homeless our selves and I have been dealing with emails from a person who is trying to direct me to the site for homeless people, my fears and tears are renewed. I just want to be in my own place secure and able to pay rent through my own work and talents. This 'helpful' person suggested a site for homeless people which puts a person on a spiral that is very hard to break out of it. Can you imagine being among the degenerates of society? These drug addicts,alcoholics and nutcases. Can you imagine the impact that that has on your mental state? I know because I drove taxis and was married to a mental case for a while. I saw these people on the streets, picked them up from one motel and drove them with their meagre possessions to another. Saw things that I do not want to even talk about here it is too depressing and every day I thanked G-D that I had a job and was studying and would never end up like then mumbling mental cases with drug and substance abuse problems. Now as we face homelessness - my child and I the last thing I need to be told is that it is my fault, my own fault for having a child at 49 years of age, for marrying a Nigerian, for having a child to a black man(?) - this could not have happened if I had married a white person??? You betcha it could and worse probably. I am a human being as is my son a small boy of nine. The fact that his father is African does not make him stupid, mad, bad or a lessor human being. Attitudes like what I mentioned is basic prejudice. Now I and my child face the prospect of homelessness head on. I have been to carvan parks trying to find temp accommodation. Even that is in short supply. I can not understand why they can house druggies and the rest of the deranged misfits but not me who has no problem with alcohol or drugs or any mental problems, and my son?
It pulls you down and depresses you. The prospect of a shelter which a person of Esther's calibre had to experience. Can you imagine what sort of perverts and criminals could do to my child who has already been damaged by an eleven year old boy at the school he was at previously? Can you imagine the damage being done to him as his feelings and hurt is not being acknowledged again and again so that he starts to feel even more worthless. He feels unworthy of even being alive and that drives people to take their lives eventually. As his mother I can only make him feel that he is important to me  and acknowledge his worth to me.  Even if others cannot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Ilana,

Thank you so much for your beautiful article and kind words about Jewish Care.

May Hashem grant you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, prosperous Shanah Tovah ahead!

As you know, Jewish Care specialises in social justice programs including housing assistance, financial support, counselling for children and adults, mental health support, disability services, employment and training and many others. If you or anyone you know would benefit from Jewish Care's services, please contact (03) 8517 5999 or

All the best to you and Nir!