> Spirituality > Personal Growth

Saving Ruchama Rivka

May 9, 2009 | by

On Thursday night, March 7, take part in a special all-night Torah learn-a-thon to help a family in Jerusalem.

There's a brave, young girl in Jerusalem who's fighting a battle for her life, and she needs your help.

Ruchama Rivka Resnick is the 14-year-old daughter of an Aish Rabbi in Jerusalem, and she's been battling leukemia ever since she was two years old. This past January she was diagnosed with the disease for the fifth time (first when she was two, then when she had relapsed at the ages of 11, 12, 13, and now at 14). She has already received an enormous amount of chemotherapy plus three different bone marrow transplants (all from her younger brother), the first one relatively conventional and the second two quite unconventional.

The doctors have told the family that their only treatment option at this point is to attempt a fourth bone marrow transplant, but this time from an unrelated adult donor. Fortunately there is a donor for her in England who is a full match and has agreed to give the donation. The doctors are rushing to do the transplant as quickly as possible because they feel that she has a relatively narrow window of time within which it could be done. The doctors are very concerned that she may have developed so much resistance to all of her previous chemotherapy treatments that she may not be able to keep her leukemia at bay long enough for this new transplant to take hold in her system.

At the moment, she is battling very serious side effects from the initial very strong dose of chemotherapy she received a few weeks ago. Hopefully, she will make enough progress with them to be able to keep the transplant process on schedule. The risks with this whole procedure are enormous.

What Can I Do?

What can you do to help? Our actions can actually help to save her life.

Our actions can actually help to save her life.

Jewish tradition teaches that our prayers and our actions can change the entire world. Of all the commandments in the Torah, the mitzvah of learning Torah has a power to generate change -- in ourselves and in the world around us. Learning Torah means more than just educating yourself -- it can be a transformative act whose spiritual energy resonates in the most proactive and material of ways, rejuvenating and healing the physical world in which we live.

In what way does our learning help Ruchama Rivka? Since she is the impetus for us performing the mitzvah of learning Torah and growing Jewishly, she shares as a beneficiary of the merit accrued.

Join the Learn-A-Thon

Ruchama Rivka is scheduled to undergo her critical bone marrow transplant on March 12. The Aish HaTorah family around the world will be making a special effort to help this treatment to succeed. On Thursday March 7, a few days before the procedure, we will be undertaking an all-night Learn-a-thon on her behalf. Jews the world over collectively learning Torah in the merit of Ruchama Rivka bas (daughter of) Bracha Leah may give her a new lease on life.

We ask you to join us. Contact your local Aish branch to see if they will be organizing a program locally. Otherwise, pick up a book on your own! Invite some friends to join you for part of the night, the whole night, or even for just half an hour over dinner! Take pleasure in the fact that you'll be joining together with Jews around the world and with the students and staff of Aish HaTorah's yeshiva in Jerusalem.

What Should I Learn?

Learning Torah doesn't have to mean sitting in a classroom with a teacher. The Torah is "more vast than the earth and deeper than the sea." You can look at the weekly Torah portion, study the Passover Haggada in preparation for the holiday, or check out's overabundance of articles on ethics, spirituality, Jewish history, prayer, and relationships.

Maybe this is the time to peruse your local Jewish bookstore and explore that special subject that's been on your mind. You can learn on your own, together with friends, or join whatever other learning opportunities are happening in your community on the night of March 7.

You can be very sure that all of these efforts which are so greatly needed will make a tremendous difference and will be enormously appreciated. May the Almighty grant continued miracles to Ruchama Rivka bas Bracha Leah for a complete recovery amongst all of those suffering throughout the Jewish people.

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