Rabbi Moshe Hillel Zary was looking forward to a memorable and exciting spring 2020. In January, Zary booked a large hall in the Talpiot section of Jerusalem where he planned to host a large, festive event marking two very significant accomplishments in his life. One was the 30th anniversary of his founding of Derech Harambam, a charity organization dedicated to assisting disadvantaged families throughout Israel and more recently providing vital cancer medications to hundreds of cancer patients. The second event was the celebration of the recent publishing of his third book of transcriptions of ancient Jewish manuscripts that he had researched in his travels to libraries throughout the world. In this latest book, Zary transcribed manuscripts of five rabbis who lived in Assyria over 500 years ago. Among the manuscripts are several that had been studied by Professor Yosef Rivlin, father of Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, a noted professor of linguistics. At the event, President Rivlin was to receive a copy of Zary’s book, in which a chapter was devoted to the scholarship of his late father. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to be canceled.
Zary, who resides in Jerusalem with his wife and five children, remained on task and traveled to the U.S. recently to continue raising urgent funds for his Derech Harambam Charity Society. Since its founding, Derech Harambam has provided tremendous amounts of financial aid to needy families in Israel, along with the emotional support needed to surmount their challenges. The work of Derech Harambam has earned recognition from many welfare organizations as well as through media coverage in Israel.
Twelve years ago, when Zary’s family was challenged by his wife’s diagnosis with Stage 4 breast cancer, Derech Harambam shifted focus and undertook the subsidizing of expensive cancer medications while simultaneously raising public awareness of the importance of early cancer screening. The earlier breast cancer is diagnosed, the better chance a woman has to recover fully and heal without undergoing agonizing chemotherapy treatments.
Cancer medications are prohibitively expensive, often costing tens of thousands of shekels per month. Many of these medications are not covered by the Israeli Ministry of Health, resulting in thousands of families desperately scrambling to raise exorbitant amounts of money for needed medication for their loved ones. Life-saving medicines include Tarveca, used in the treatment of lung cancer, which costs $4,500 per month; Nexavar for liver cancer costing $6,300 per month; Emwinzane for blood cancer costing $7,100 per month; and Herceptin for breast cancer at a cost of $3,950 per month.
A shocking statistic reveals that over 16,000 Israeli citizens perish each year as a result of untreated cancers. Armed with this tragic statistic, and determined to combat its dire predictions, Derech Harambam founded its national Mammography Project four years ago to raise public awareness regarding early screening for breast cancer. Through bi-annual conferences and informative assemblies, women throughout Israel are educated about breast cancer and advised to screen regularly so as to catch its onset early when still in the treatable stages. Seminars have already been conducted in cities throughout the country, and other cities have reached out to Derech Harambam to bring in.its seminars. The seminars open with an inspiring address by Rav Zary, after which he leaves the assembled in the hands of knowledgeable professionals who answer questions and address concerns about the illness.
The cost to fund this giant enterprise that currently assists thousands of cancer patients and prevents countless deaths in Israel amounts to millions of dollars annually.
“Our organization is besieged daily with desperate requests for help,” shared Rabbi Zary. “Thus, we turn to you, dear friends, with a heartfelt cry to please support us in our mission to save lives and keep families afloat during critical times.”
To support Derech Harambam, make your tax-exempt donation to Maimonides Way, ℅ Hartstein, 1216 58 Street, Brooklyn, NY 11219. Tax ID#: 13711143.