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Tough times for our guys

18 January 2021

Warm, safe and meals on tap while the world looks grim has the makings of paradise but lockdown has served to underline how much routine matters for men in Kisharon supported living.

Many miss their work most. Coronavirus brought to an end many jobs that provided self esteem, new friendships and extra cash. Particularly badly hit was Chaim Dovid who lost three of his five part-time jobs. His only work now is distributing two local advertising magazines. Door-to-door deliveries get Chaim Dovid out and about but it’s a far cry from the tube journey he learned to do on his own to reach the city office job he one had.

Support workers make sure the men exercise, cycling alongside them on bike rides and running around Copthall Stadium. But Bezy complained: “I find the running too much.”

Bezy longs to travel again and a dream come true would be the lifting of travel restrictions in time to spend Pesach with his family in Brooklyn.

Eli misses spending time with his mum, Estelle, but living only ten minutes away, has a socially distanced chat outside her house every Shabbat, accompanied by a support worker.

Another victim of job losses, Eli yearns for his twice-weekly stint at a kosher supermarket and a second job at a local school.

Zoom plays a big part in all the men’s lives. They participate in Kisharon’s daily davening, and other activities and are encouraged to link into family celebrations. Listening to music on Zoom and seeing friends on screen is always joyful.

Chaim Dovid now uses online technology for his weekly Slimming World class. “It’s good but I miss the meetings. I’m trying hard. Sometimes I lose weight and sometimes I put it on. There were a lot of doughnuts at Chanukah!”

He said: “I can’t wait to get back to normal. I want a big party…with my family.”

Outings, and especially concerts, bowling on Sundays, horseriding and going to the gym are all badly missed.

Levi, still working at Kisharon’s Bike Shop, craves the freedom he once had. “I used to go to the Transport Museum in Covent Garden, but I haven’t been there for a while. I still do my own shopping and go on buses and trains to the shops but not as much as I did before. I am very careful.”

Various arts and crafts and cookery engage Moishe, who too has lost jobs he loved. “I just want to be able to go home again for Shabbos, get back to normal and go back to work,” he said.

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“The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of G-d, and deeds of kindness.” Kisharon looks at the person not the disability, teaching Torah, Middos and Mitzvot embracing and cherishing everybody’s special talent and bringing out the best in them.