A trip of a lifetime for a special bochur was facilitated by a report here on Matzav.com last week.
Matzav.com reported that Chaim Leiby, a 20-year-old student at Yeshiva Mayan Hatorah of Lakewood and SCHI who suffers from a severely debilitating muscle condition that confines him to a wheelchair and limits the use of his hands, dreamed of visiting the holy land of Eretz Yisroel.
But traveling overseas for Chaim Leiby is no simple matter. Because of his complicated medical equipment that helps him breathe at every moment, flying on an airplane is no simple matter.
An online donation page was set up and Chaim Leiby went about trying to raise money to fund his trip in order to enable the necessary medical equipment and medical personnel to be brought along.
The story on Matzav.com was seen by Los Angeles philanthropist Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz.
“After seeing the report on Matzav, I wanted very much to help Chaim Leiby,” Shlomo Yehuda told Matzav.
Shlomo Yehuda contacted Matzav for more details about the story, and then texted singer Yaakov Shwekey, who appeared with Chaim Leiby in a photo accompanying the Matzav story.
Shwekey’s wife Jenine is one of the founders of the Special Children’s Center in Lakewood, from whose services Chaim Leiby has benefited.
“I said that I am going to Eretz Yisroel anyway,” Shlomo Yehuda told Matzav, “and I offered to take Chaim Leiby along.”
Once Shlomo Yehuda had expressed his desire to make Chaim Leiby’s dream come true, plans were put into motion on Friday. In addition to orchestrating Chaim Leiby’s medical care, askanim got to work on procuring a new passport to replace his expired one.
“I was shocked by the attention this story garnered,” Shlomo Yehuda told Matzav this evening, explaining that his offer had been made quietly, without fanfare, but that it inexplicably grew into a headline-grabbing story.
Chaim Leiby, accompanied by Shlomo Yehuda and several others, including the Shwekeys, Center co-founder Chaya Bender, and Rabbi Chaim Birnhack of SCHI departed for Eretz Yisroel at 11 p.m. last night.
“I was shocked to see hordes of people, including photographers, at the airport when we arrived with Chaim Leiby,” he said.
In his conversation with Matzav, Shlomo Yehuda added, “I was so impressed to see the number of people who got involved just to give Chaim Leiby chizuk. While I didn’t orchestrate this whole event, I’m happy that I was able to be a small part of such a big mitzvah.“
Today, Chaim Leiby arrived in Eretz Yisroel, thanks to the kindness of Shlomo Yehuda, the generosity of a cadre of caring Yidden, and a report here on Matzav.com, making an almost impossible dream become an inspiring reality.