‘OTD’ Teenagers Mourn Mentor

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Raizel Holtzman of Beitar was not “just” a wife and mother of 8 beautiful children. She selflessly dedicated her days to being a mentor and teacher to one of klal yisroel’s most misunderstood subgroups: that of the “OTD” teenager. With patience and caring, she helped victims of trauma rebuild their spiritual lives. Her husband Yaakov learned in the local kollel. Their children thrived. It was “the dream.” Until last summer, when their “picture perfect life” came crashing down.


Diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, Raizel flew to America in order to receive a specialized surgery which was unavailable in Israel. The operation cost a hefty price, but no expense was spared in the attempts to bring the young mother home to her children.


Tragically, the treatment was unsuccessful. Raizel passed away, leaving behind a shattered husband and 8 children, the youngest of whom is just 2 years old.


Since her passing, husband Yaakov has left his learning seder to support his family. He is unable to work full time, however, as he is now also responsible for managing the daily needs of his eight children. Their poverty has sunken to dangerous levels: They literally cannot afford groceries.


An emergency fund has been opened for the family. In heartbreaking text, teenaged Yechiel expresses a desire to save his family from their situation. “I wish I could work to help get money for clothes and to help Tatty,” reads campaign text. “But I’m only 14, so it’s hard.”


Perhaps the most striking aspect of the Holtzman tragedy is the fact that it could have been any of us. One can only hope that if illness were to rob our own children of their loving parent, strangers would unite to save them from starvation. It is the least we could hope for.


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