Patients who receive free hearing aids at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem can thank American Jews from such disparate sections of the United States as Blue Bell, Boca Raton, California, Denver and, last but not least, the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield.
Meyer Markowitz, a 75-year-old retired store designer from Blue Bell, said he has spent the last two years collecting 200 used hearing aids which are ultimately donated to indigent Israelis in need of hearing aids at Hadassah Hospital.
He sends the hearing aids to the Greater Detroit Chapter of Hadassah in West Bloomfield where they are refurbished through a fund established by Phyllis and Albert Newman, and they are in turn sent to the hospital.
Markowitz said he first learned of the program when he read an article in a southern Florida Jewish weekly, The Jewish Journal, about a 14-year-old Boca Raton girl who collected hearing aids for this purpose. He was living in his winter home in nearby Cocoanut Creek when he read the article. Then he learned more by calling the girl's family.
Since then, some contributors have called from Denver and California, he said. Very often, the hearing aids are supplied by the widow or widower of a deceased spouse, he added.
Of course, Markowitz is not satisfied with 200 hearing aids. He hopes that there are people out there who can supply more hearing aids for that next ear in Jerusalem. Readers can call Markowitz at 610 278-1055 or e-mail him at Sfumhm@aol.com.