‘They Said Goodbye to Him’

Stand for Israel  |  March 24, 2020

Nurse at Shaare Zedek Medical Center during COVID-19 crisis
Nurse at Shaare Zedek Medical Center during COVID-19 crisis

Yesterday we shared with you the heartbreaking news of Israel’s first fatality from the coronavirus pandemic, an elderly Holocaust survivor who died alone. And today, The Times of Israel’s Marissa Newman spoke with one of the nurses who cared for Aryeh Even, and who shares the touching story of his final farewell:

Even passed away in the isolated ward, with no relatives permitted by his side.

“During the day, he was fine, he was talking, the patients were talking to him,” she said.

At night, the patients sat down to eat a Shabbat meal together, she said, near Even’s room…

“And meanwhile, the monitor was beeping a lot and the patients that were inside, they obviously heard it. They became concerned and they went into his room and saw that he was not exactly all there, [though] he was still breathing. They tried to wake him up.”

“I could see from where I was sitting, watching the screen, that his breathing was becoming less and less. Because I’m an oncology nurse, this is something I see all the time, I’m very familiar with it — I see that these are his last breaths. And somehow, they kind of recognized it as well, the patients that went into the room.”

Moments before the doctor and nurse broke into the room, “They put their hands on him, they said [the] shema [prayer], they said goodbye to him,” she said. “They said, ‘Aryeh, we’re with you, we love you,’ they really comforted him…”

Aryeh Even passed away without his family by his side, but he did have others with him. So many of Israel’s elderly, many of them Holocaust survivors, have no one. So please help us be God’s hands and feet and care for the impoverished, the needy, and the lonely during these troubled times when they have no one else.

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