By Toby Klein Greenwald
You’ve almost certainly heard stories of cancer patients who vouch for the holistic care they’ve received in addition to conventional chemo, radiation, and surgery treatments. I’m blessed to be one of them. I am now, baruch Hashem, past the one-year mark for breast cancer, and there is no question in my mind that the holistic treatments I was able to receive — massage, acupuncture, reflexology, healing, and more — made a critical difference in my recovery and my ability to almost seamlessly continue my work.
For most of these treatments, I was lucky to be able to go to the Yuri Shtern Center in Jerusalem, where donations make these lifesaving services accessible. I was therefore deeply moved to learn from Henya Storch of the Storch Agency International that an organization called Aid L’Shalom is bringing this concept to the New York area. Henya is part of the organizing committee for a benefit event in the Five Towns for this worthy cause on Wednesday evening, September 5.
Aid L’Shalom started from another family’s personal struggle with cancer. Shilom Neuman of Monsey received the benefit of these complementary therapies (and also funded treatments for others) before succumbing to his cancer. His wife, Devorie, and their children pledged to make this their cause in his memory.
Devorie says, “Shilom was told he had three weeks to three months to live, yet he lived for 19 months after his diagnosis. He left no stone unturned in his courageous fight, and the alternative treatments he sought allowed him to live in comfort and dignity, at home with his family, until the very end.”
His widow worked with Gitti Klein, who has a certificate in macrobiotic, natural and organic food cooking, and is a life coach in healthy living, to provide funding and access for fully integrated cancer treatment protocols under the administration of top oncologists. The mission is “to help cancer patients live longer, fuller lives with optimism and dignity.”
The Five Towns connection was kindled several years ago when Shaindy Hammer of Woodmere met with Devorie and Gitti on a women’s spiritual trip to Uman. She was moved by their devotion to the cause, and when Rabbi Sol Appleman passed away earlier this year from cancer, on April 23, 8 Iyar, she mobilized a team to create this event in his memory.
Rabbi Appleman’s widow, Nicki, will be hosting an elegant barbecue fundraiser at her home on Wednesday, September 5. The family patriarch, Rabbi Appleman taught limudei kodesh for over 40 years — the last 14 at Lawrence’s Rambam Mesivta, and was an integral part of the community.
“He was loved by all for his humor, love of Torah, and his ability to fix anything, whether it was a computer or a broken doorknob,” Nicki said. “He was a true presence. This fundraiser is an appropriate tribute to the good man he was. He was the first to give whatever he could to someone who was in need. He loved magic, he loved music and art, and he loved to give divrei Torah, and that’s what this evening will be all about.” The Appleman children and grandchildren will be in attendance to meet and greet attendees.
This special event will be held — rain or shine — in a large tent on the front lawn of the Appleman residence in Woodsburgh and will include a full barbecue catered by Traditions as well as a wine-tasting experience.
The community has come together to make this night truly special. Beloved friends, neighbors, colleagues, students, and healthcare professionals will join, giving new meaning to the five days before Rosh Hashanah, when one’s fate is determined for the coming year.
Magic will be performed by the talented young Alex Mehl, a former student of Rabbi Appleman. Yaeli Vogel, a contemporary Judaic artist, will display her works and donate a portion of the proceeds to Aid L’Shalom. A framed print of hers, “One Heart,” will be one of the many raffle prizes donated by local supporters. Nicki hired a violinist and harpist to play healing, calm music in the background, in keeping with the therapeutic theme of the Aid L’Shalom evening.
Attendees will learn more about the good work of Aid L’Shalom through a new original short film produced by David Lenik of Better World Productions, which will premiere on two large screens.
Tickets to attend and sponsorship opportunities for the Aid L’Shalom benefit are available online at www.aidlshalom.com/bbqwinetasting or by calling Shaindy Hammer at 516-502-5785.
See also: The Center for Integrative Healing