Opinion | Giving and Getting: Inspiration for the High Holidays


By Adele Goldberg

On the High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the cantor is often the center of attention — a pillar of physical endurance through singing the prayers and a beacon of spiritual strength in uplifting a synagogue community for the New Year.

But Galit Dadoun Cohen, the Israeli-born cantor at Temple B’nai Or in Morristown, N.J., was once the one in need of strength.

In 1997, Dadoun Cohen had a serious motorcycle accident while she was a student at Tel Aviv University. She broke her right femur and suffered skin wounds that took about a decade to heal. She would need to use a wheelchair and crutches for six months, during which time she could not walk. The crucial equipment came swiftly from Yad Sarah.

“It was just simple, no questions asked, which is exactly what you need when your whole life is completely disrupted,” Dadoun Cohen said. “I’m very grateful to Yad Sarah.”

Wheelchairs are the most requested item at Yad Sarah’s lending centers, enabling people to cope with illness and injury at home and in the community among family, friends and everyday surroundings. But they’re not the only item — more than 150 kinds of medical equipment are available for short-term loan from Yad Sarah.

Dadoun Cohen explained that the ability to borrow equipment and return it to Yad Sarah is “truly priceless.” She noted that her sister, who still lives in Israel, needed to borrow a breast pump and other equipment for all of her children’s breastfeeding years.

“I’ve seen so many Israelis helped by Yad Sarah’s equipment loans,” Dadoun Cohen said. “It’s truly moving.”

The assistance that Yad Sarah provided to Dadoun Cohen after the motorcycle accident, when she could not walk, and her triumphant return to leading services and inspiring others, reminds us that getting and giving are the threads that weave the fabric of our lives.

As executive director of Friends of Yad Sarah, I’m privileged to see this tapestry make and remake itself again and again through Yad Sarah’s 100-plus branches, 20-plus programs and 6,000-plus volunteers.

My prayer for the New Year is that we all get to experience such a beautiful cycle of giving and receiving, enabling us to pursue our dreams and achieve our goals.

G’mar Chatima Tova!

Adele Goldberg is the executive director of Friends of Yad Sarah.


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