What do you call the plane containing 200 people including 100 children (with cancer), doctors, nurses, volunteers and National Service girls plus tons of medical equipment in the form of a mini hospital that is flying to London to help them forget – even for only a short time – the harsh days and nights, the moments of loneliness and pain? To do away with the frustration and silence, the needles and tests, lab photos and biopsies. To give a smile, laughter, sky and wide open spaces, huge wheels and prizes relaxation and softness and much, much hope??? It’s called: Zichron Menachem, or as any close reader who knows the organization – “Zamzam”.

“Zamzam” went on Summer Camp to England and subsequent issues of DatiLi will tell you about their experiences.

The national charity organization known as Zichron Menachem was founded by Chaim and Miri Erental after the death of their son, Menachem. For years, Menachem had battled cancer but at the end of his short life, his body succumbed. The organization operates two national centers ,at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Kerem, Jerusalem and at the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. The extensive activities of the organization are funded by contributions from many families and organizations worldwide. Zamzam takes care of children suffering from cancer and, more importantly, it deals with the family fabric .

The “Zamzam Girls” are considered to be the All Stars of the country-wide National Service organization, (Sherut Leumi). Why “All Stars”? Coping with illness, treatments and more severe disease – and unfortunately with death – is difficult for anyone – to especially for teen-age girls who lived under the protective wings of their families all their lives. The girls spend many hours in service under difficult and painful conditions. They cannot erase the pain or cure the illness but they can encourage hope. At every moment, they lay aside their own feelings and personal desires – and make themselves available solely for the child and his/her family..

National Service girls in Jerusalem and Haifa divide their time between the oncology wards of both hospitals. They care for the children whenever possible during treatment hours. Activities at the hospital include school lessons, reading, games, accompaniment during treatment and discussion with patents and parents. Actually, Zamzam has no patients at all – they are all “chanichim” – members of the group.

At the Zichron Menachem “day center ” in Jerusalem, the children and their families receive meals, physical therapy, group activities, psychological treatments and more. This center is actually an exciting and optimistic place – they are well worth a visit.

Girls in Haifa also visit the children and their families at home.

And, what does that have to do with Ra’anana?

For years, a substantial number of National Service girls in Zamzam are from Ra’anana. Currently finishing National Service are Michal Stark and Noga Friedman. Preceding them were Debby Fry, Noah Rosenthal, Adi Wolff, Eliana Tannenbaum and so on .Next year three Ra’anana girls Ayala Tannenbaum , Leora Burke and Ilanit Akiizller will start their National Service at Zichcron Menachem – continuing the close connection between this city and this remarkable association – Zichron Menachem…………… Zamzam