Mr. Ziman, a maintenance tech at Ner Israel Rabbinical College, is fondly known as Mr. Benyamin. “Everybody loves him,” says Rabbi Yair Friedman, my son-in-law who grew up on Yeshiva Lane. “Mr. Benyamin has a wonderful attitude. His professional skills and cheerful demeanor make him a much loved member of the Ner Israel family He comes to all of the Yeshiva Lane families’ simchas. I still remember the magic tricks that he performed at my wedding!”
Benyamin and his wife Bonnie have been married for 32 years and have three lovely children. Unfortunately, Bonnie has not been well for many years. Her longtime friend Suri Lager remembers Bonnie from her healthy days. “Bonnie always greeted everyone with a smile, and had a great sense of fashion. She cut hair from home for women and girls in the community. I remember her as being an active participant in all the shul’s activities. She helped decorate the shul for the Purim festivities. Often, she brought my daughters along to the pool with her girls. “Rebbetzin Mindi Hauer recalls, “The Ziman family, including Bonnie, has a special zest for life and the ability to live in the moment.”
Due to Bonnie’s many health issues, she has been residing in Levindale for the last two years. At age 52, Bonnie has the distinction of being one of the youngest residents of Levindale,” says Benyamin. “She suffers from a disease that left her with brain damage. She also suffers from Type 2 diabetes, had a kidney transplant, and is totally deaf.” Left on her own, Bonnie would just sleep the whole day. When awake, Bonnie still has her signature smile and is quite personable.
“Many times I meet people and they ask me how my wife is doing.” says Mr. Ziman. “They tell me that they are saying tehilim for her. While I appreciate that, Bonnie actually needs much more. I really want people to come to visit her. There are many activities in Levindale, and it would be stimulating for Bonnie to go to them and interact with others. Walking and exercise are very important for her, as well. She cannot go out of her room or to any activities unless friends come to take her. If nobody comes, she just sleeps all day.
“Along with Nancy Pretter, who is our coordinator from the Jewish Caring Network, we have created a chart of all the activities at Levindale in which Bonnie can participate,” Mr. Ziman continues. “It would mean so much to our family if women would sign up on this chart and come to spend time with Bonnie, something that is not really difficult. The nurses will get her ready and make sure her hearing aids are turned on, and then she is ready to roll. She can walk holding the volunteer’s hand or ride in her own wheelchair. If the weather is nice, Bonnie can go outside for a walk and explore Levindale’s huge campus. Just last week, we discovered a place that we had never seen before. In the basement of Levindale, there is a greenhouse with beautiful plants and an air hockey table. Bonnie actually said, ‘This is great,’ when we got there, and we played a little air hockey.
“Bikur cholim is a great mitzva,” says Benyamin, “but it entails doing activities that are good for the choleh, and not just something that one might consider a good deed! We have a book in Bonnie’s room for visitors to sign, so we can see and read who comes by and what they did with her. This gives our family great chizuk.”
Bonnie is in a “Household” on the second floor of Levindale. Her room is right next door to Mrs. Bodenheimer’s room, so visitors to Mrs. Bodenheimer can also stop by to see Bonnie. If you want to sign up for a slot to spend time with Bonnie (any amount of time is appreciated), please call Mr. Ziman at 410-318-6654 or Nancy Pretter at 410-764-0870. If there is no answer, please leave your email or your mailing address, and they will send you the monthly chart. Alternatively, feel free to email Nancy at NPretter@gmail.com.
The Zimans are so thankful to everyone for keeping Bonnie in their tefilos. Of course, no tefila ever goes to waste, but Bonnie needs more than davening. Every hour that Bonnie has a visitor interacting with her is of great benefit to her and is meaningful to the Ziman family. The Ziman family genuinely thanks all those who do come to visit Bonnie. The warmth, love, and stimulation that she gets from all of you are invaluable. Thank you in advance to any new volunteers who wish to participate in this huge chesed.