We were on our way home from Kol Nidre services in Jerusalem; me, my boys, sister, brother-in-law and one of my nephews, walking in the middle of the street, reveling in that particular freedom offered by the car-less Yom Kippur stretch. As I walked in the house, the phone rang, which is highly irregular on Yom Kippur, and made me think “emergency.” And it was, as my mother was on the other end, calling from Hadassah Ein Kerem to let me know that she’d fallen and been brought to the ER by an ambulance. I called my sister, whose phone was busy, also unusual. It turned out that she was speaking to “Harry the plumber”, known to many in this area and also my mother’s neighbor.
As we pieced the story together — and got a contingent to the hospital — it transpired that despite being on her own, our mother was taken care of by her neighbors, both near and down the block. She fell in a friend’s stairwell, was helped by her friend’s neighbors who knew her peripherally and who ran to get my mother’s downstairs neighbor, a Shaare Zedek doctor. He checked her out called the ambulance, while Harry let himself into my mother’s apartment to get our contact information. In the meantime, while we were trying to piece together the story, I called Harry who walked down to the doctor’s apartment to help me figure out the order of events.
In the end, everything was okay, and we got Mom home fairly quickly, with neighbors dropping in over the next days to check in on her. It may be just a simple Jerusalem co-op, but it’s great to have good neighbors.