[COMMUNICATED] Last winter, news circulated of a mother of 7 living in extreme poverty while suffering from muscular dystrophy. At the time she and her children were living in apartment several flights up, and Mrs. Yemima Ben-Shalom was, essentially, a prisoner in her own home.
Many were moved by their story, and they were ultimately able to raise the funds to move to a home with a ground-floor entrance. However now that the money has been spent on a new home, treatments, and food for the children, the story has developed in a way many couldn’t have possibly imagined: Mrs. Ben-Shalom is now nine months pregnant with her eighth child.
Her disease, a degenerative muscle condition, is both painful and terminal. Her pregnancy, therefore, is extremely fragile. She is reportedly unable to leave her bed. Her husband, Rabbi Ben-Shalom, stays home each day to take care of his immobile wife, and to cook clean and tend after the children.
With neither spouse able to work, and a seemingly endless flow of medical bills, the Ben-Shalom children are once again unable to live a secure childhood. It is unclear how they will provide for another child.
With no food for shabbat, no money for warm winter clothing, the Ben-Shalom’s message is clear: They are in a state of crisis. They were fortunate to move to a home with a ground-floor entrance, but a ground-floor entrance cannot feed their children. And, tragically, neither can they.
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