Jewish Ozzies' Inter.Net
The electronic voice of the Australian Jewish Community
In Memory of Malka Chana Roth Z"L
Malka Roth the daughter of Frimet and Arnold Roth was born in Melbourne, Australia. Prior to making aliyah in 1988 her Australian- born father, Arnold, was an active member of our community. In 1971 he was among the co-founders of the Zionist campus newspaper "SURVIVAL"; president of the Monash University Jewish Student Society in 1971-72 and of the Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) in 1973 and 1974. He was on the executive of the Victorian Jewish Board of Deputies, B'nai Brith Hillel Foundation, member of the State Zionist Council and co-founder of the Melbourne Communal Kollel. In 1976, while a post-graduate student at Yeshiva University, Arnold met and married Frimet. They settled in Melbourne where Frimet was a teacher at Yavneh College Like roughly 9000 other Australians before them, the family made aliyah in 1988.
Malka's life was cut short by a terrorist when she was at a particularly popular meeting place for Australians, the Sbarro Pizza restaurant in Jerusalem. Even as the terrorist struck, other young Australian visitors in Israel were on their way there too. Since then (and before) many other young Jewish children have been successfully targeted and murdered or injured by enemies of democracy and Jews. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to all of the victims and their families, each and everyone of them a precious part of kol yisroel.
There is no good in the murder of innocent people but we have to believe that ultimately goodness will prevail, that terrorism will be crushed and our children will as safe in Israel as they are in Sydney.
It is a Jewish belief that acts of charity and other good deeds will hasten the coming of the Messiah, a time of universal peace. May the Roth family and all who support them be blessed, and may they be comforted among the Mourners of Zion.
Geraldine Jones, President J.O.I.N
THE KEREN MALKI FOUNDATION
Why We Established The Malki Foundation
by Arnold Roth
In the depths of despair during the week of mourning - the Shiva - for Malka Chana, our adored 15 year-old daughter, my wife Frimet and I, with our other children, decided that the best way to remember the beauty of her life was to establish a charitable fund in Malki's name. We have now done that, and Keren Malki's work has begun.
Beyond remembering the tragically cut-short life of a beautiful, loving, caring person, Keren Malki (in English: The Malki Foundation) is now beginning to address the needs of families with seriously disabled children here in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel. Since we ourselves are a family with a profoundly disabled child, we have a very clear-eyed sense of what a challenge this can mean.
Not everyone wants, or is able, to keep their handicapped child at home. Jerusalem is blessed with many institutions and charities, and for some, this is a complete solution. But for a family like our's, which chooses to take care of a handicapped child at home, there are limited options, none of them very satisfactory. Our experience has been that the health and education systems, the health funds and the institutions themselves, discourage families from keeping their handicapped children at home. For those, like us, who believe there is no better place for a child with serious problems than home, this makes an already heavy load even heavier.
In the past, the conventional thinking was that the best place for the handicapped child was an institution-a place that was designed to provide food and shelter, therapy, and coordinated medical care.
Today, there's a growing realization that even the best of institutional care is less good than the loving environment of a child's own home. In most situations, the longer a child can remain in the home environment, the better for the child.
But changing ingrained notions takes time, and that's as true here in Israel as elsewhere. Until they do change, people need to cope with the situation as it is. Israeli law says that every brain-damaged child is entitled to between three and four hours a week of government-provided therapies (physio, speech, occupational, musical and so on.) A drop in the bucket, relative to the needs of the seriously handicapped. In practice, as we have learned, even this modest level is not always achieved. The problem is that the government and the health funds only support these services if they are provided at an institution. But the Catch 22 is that therapists are woefully underpaid and in short supply. So the institutions rarely have the budget or the resources to deliver those critically important services.
The goals of Keren Malki are to improve the quality of life for the severely handicapped child and for the family through:
* Providing long-term loans of specialized therapy- and access-equipment for home use to families with severely handicapped children. The list of such equipment that we will make available ranges from specialized therapeutic devices for non-mobile and blind children, through to specialized wheelchairs, strollers, bath seats and lifting/lowering equipment.
* Enabling quality physiotherapy and other similar services beyond the levels which institutional budgets now permit, delivered independently of the institutions. Dedicated and well-trained professionals are available, but frustrated because of the scarcity of funding.
Malki's involvement in the care of her youngest sister, Haya-Elisheva, who suffers from severe health problems, sensitized her to the needs of handicapped children from a very young age. Apart from the help she so willingly gave at home, Malki volunteered to work with special-needs children whenever her busy school life and youth movement obligations permitted. The love she felt for them, along with her unstoppable optimism, was expressed in a simple essay she wrote at the age of eleven, and which was published in the American magazine Exceptional Parents. In July, a few weeks before her tragic death at the age of 15 in the Sbarro's bombing in Jerusalem, Malki was a volunteer counsellor for a group of handicapped teenagers at a summer camp arranged by the Etgarim organization on the banks of the Kinneret. A Hamas suicide bomber brought Malki's life and her acts of hessed (kindness) to an end. Now we're determined that her name and memory will live on. We can't think of a better way to do that.
Our prayer is that the work we're starting in Malki's name will help to ensure her tragic and senseless death does not become simply another statistic.
Arnold Roth, firstname.lastname@example.org
Details regarding donations are at http://www.kerenmalki.org/Australia1.htm along with a form that interested people can print and send along. At that location, the following words appear:
December 2001: As a special effort to assist the launch of the Malki Foundation, the United Israel Appeal in Melbourne is conducting a special LIMITED-TIME CAMPAIGN which is SET TO END IN MID-DECEMBER 2001. All donations made to a special account set up for this purpose, called UIA-RRF-Keren Malki, are tax-deductible.
It's important to note that the objects of the Malki Foundation include providing aid to disabled children in necessitous circumstances and in urgent need of financial support. The funds raised by the Malki Foundation from donors in Australia will be primarily allocated to disabled children who are immigrants to Israel from countries of distress.
For more information about supporting Keren Malki from Australia, please contact the Melbourne offices of the United Israel Appeal, 306 Hawthorn Road, Caulfield 3162. Phone (03) 9272-5533.
see also J.O.I.N.'s Australian/Jewish Profile on Malka Chana Roth
Copyright © 2001 J.O.I.N.