Ten Kavod Kiryat Ata – The story of David Hezi and Masaud Turgeman
David Hezi is one of the older volunteers with United Hatzalah and is himself a pensioner in his 60s. He has been a volunteer EMT with the organization for the past five years, but also spends time volunteering with the organization’s emergency room relief project at Rambam Medical Center, and is an avid volunteer with the Ten Kavod – Giving Honor program. David visits an older man, Masaud Turgeman who is in his mid-eighties and also lives in Kiryat Ata at least once a week. David has been visiting Masaud for the past two years.
We have become friends over the past few years and Masaud tells me about his life. He hasn’t had an easy life, especially over the past few years. His wife passed away nearly 15 years ago and Masaud has lived on his own since then. He has a daughter who is in her forties, but she doesn’t live nearby and is only able to come to visit once in a while. Masaud walks with the help of a walker and has difficulty even getting around the house. He doesn’t get out much. So it is a big help for him when I come by. He has a friendly neighbor who brings him food sometimes and that is a big help for him.
Masaud, like many other older people, doesn’t want to ask others for help. In addition to the embarrassment involved, he simply feels that he doesn’t want to be a burden on anyone.
I chose to volunteer with the Ten Kavod program in order to help those who need help and need someone to interact with. Many older people with various disabilities, not all of them physical, are looking for someone to interact with, to know that someone cares about them. That is what this project does. It pairs up people to go and spend time with senior citizens in an effort to help keep them connected to the society around them and make sure that their physical and mental health is still strong.
“I used to be a teacher in high school and I loved teaching people about Israel and our history. This project strengthens those who lived our history and we owe it to them as a society to be there to help them in their twilight years. Volunteers like myself end up receiving more from this program than those who we go to help. It isn’t simple to go and spend time on a regular basis with someone who is disabled, but it is important. Many times, seniors, especially those with disabilities are prone to accidents, and without others there to help them, they will be in serious, if not life-threatening danger.”
“Masaud has told me that it takes him an hour-and-a-half just to shower and that he has fallen in the shower a number of times. He sometimes sleeps in the living room because he is afraid to get up and walk to his bed. His best friend is the television and he doesn’t get many visitors. This isn’t a simple life, and it is important that Masaud and the people like him are not forgotten or neglected, and that is exactly what this program does.”
Masaud was born in Morocco and moved to France at age 18 by himself and moved to Israel in 1971 with his wife. His daughter was born here and for the past 40 years, he has lived in Kiryat Ata. Before Masaud retired he used to work constructing machinery in a factory in the north constructing and destroying machines and then repurposing them for use by other companies. He had a team of skilled workers that he managed and was in that field for 20 years. When his daughter grew up she moved away, and since his wife passed, he has lived on his own.
“I have terrific neighbors, and that is incredibly important. One woman who lives next to me comes over to visit and bring me food at least two to three times a week and that is very helpful. Aside from her, David comes over and helps me, he makes me drinks and we sit and talk about life. He checks my vital signs and he tells me about what is going on in the world. It doesn’t matter to me so much what we do, but the fact that we get to spend time together and he keeps me updated on what is taking place outside while spending time with me and making sure I am healthy, and that is important to me. For me, every day that I am alive is a gift.”
Masaud has quite a few medical conditions that make it difficult for him to move a lot, and even breathing for him isn’t easy. “It is difficult for me to move, I haven’t left my house in ten years. I have respiratory problems and I don’t have the ability to talk for long periods of time on the phone. Aside from when the ambulance came to get me to take me to get my Corona vaccine I haven’t left my house. David is one of my few connections with the outside world and I am very thankful for it.”
Masaud specifically wanted to thank the organizers of the Ten Kavod project. “The Ten Kavod project is something that is incredibly helpful for me as David is incredibly helpful for me. It gives me a good feeling when David comes to visit me. It shows a sense of caring and love between a man and his fellow man. Please keep it going and keep doing good work such as this.”
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