Meet The SOSA Medical Project Team
Message from the Director - Rabbi Shaun Wingrin
A medical aid assistance programme is not unique, but we have felt for many years, the long overdue need for a focused and dedicated project to address this great need.
I have spent many hours over a number of years assisting and visiting patients in public hospitals, and have seen the need for this first hand, and brain stormed how to achieve this with many people. Rabbi Ari Hoppenstein has likewise realised this need and has spent many years researching and discussing such a project, with many professionals and communal organisations, in an attempt to find a solution.
He approached myself as Director of SOSA towards the end of 2020 to create a focused and dedicated medical aid assistance project and the SOSA Medical Project was born. We have spent countless hours refining and building solid foundations and in a way that allows us to keep pace with the demand. Confidentiality and empathy towards our applicants are always at the forefront of our communications.
To date we are baruch Hashem helping many dozens of people, and expect the demand to grow exponentially. Our short term goal is to grow our assistance to a 100 needy applicants by the end of the year. In order to do so our cash flow projections show, that we need to raise R2.1 million (plus inflation) annually. Our financial experts advise that a reserve of three to five years per person sponsored, is essential in order to maintain fund stability. These donor funds are being raised from medium to long term monthly commitments and large lump sum donations. The response to our appeals has been very positive and we are confident that this amount and more will be sustainably raised on an ongoing basis, to assist the many in need.
Space doesn’t allow me to mention by name our many dedicated volunteers: doctors, actuaries, designers, fundraisers and more, and to all of you, thank you!
We feel privileged to be assisting where we are able, and looking back the guiding hand of Hashem can clearly be seen in helping us reach this milestone. We pray that we should have the bitachon, trust in Hashem, to keep strong and fortified against the challenges expected ahead, in growing the organisation, and helping our financially needy who reach out to us seeking access to private hospital care by way of a hospital plan.
With blessings of good health and shalom,
Rabbi Shaun Wingrin – Co-Founder & Managing Director
From the Words of Our Sages - by Rabbi Ari Hoppenstein
The story of …
My maternal grandfather spent many years in a German prisoner-of-war camp in Germany during World War II. His refusal to work for them resulted in him being hit on the head with a brick. He was impaired for the rest of his life, leaving his family impoverished. My late mother Cynthia, knowing the pain of hardship, went out of her way for the poor and lonely of Springs, where I grew up. In a similar vein, it is said that the Jews needed to go through the suffering of being slaves in Egypt in order to develop a sensitivity towards the oppressed and the needy.
A few years ago, I became aware that many of the less fortunate of our community are victims of the public health system and they are suffering and even unnecessarily dying. Taking a leaf from my mother’s book, I decided to act and together with Rabbi Shaun Wingrin we formed the SOSA Medical Project.
This project is about chessed. Why chessed? In the Sim Shalom blessing at the end of the morning Amidah it states, with the light of Your countenance, You gave us the Torah of life and a love of kindness. The Chofetz Chaim (1836 – 1933 Radin, Poland) in Ahavas Chesed 2.2, explains that this is speaking about the revelation of Hashem at Mount Sinai, where He taught us that the Torah is the source of life. With its merit everything continues to exist, but without it, all existence will cease.
He also told us to love chessed and to pursue it. We know that we are to emulate His qualities, and consequently loving and pursuing kindness is a holy mission.
Why is this especially pertinent today? The Chofetz Chaim (2,5) quotes the Jerusalem Talmud (Sanhedrin 11) “If you see the merit of our forefathers and foremothers is beginning to collapse (perhaps, the corona pandemic with its financial difficulties) the antidote is to cleave to chessed.” He states further that tzedakah (charity) and chessed (acts of loving kindness) are equal to all the mitzvot of the Torah put together. Furthermore, we will be saved from calamity, even if Heaven has decreed it.
I believe most of us are old souls. Souls that have been through Egypt, the Crusades, the Inquisition… Souls that have experienced poverty and oppression. Souls that have the ability to empathise with the needy. We therefore make this appeal to our wonderful community: may we open our eyes and hearts to the suffering around us, volunteering our time or resources for our wonderful chessed organisations.
The story continues…
Much blessings and good health to all,
Rabbi Ari Hoppenstein – Co-Founder
Rabbi S Wingrin
Dr C Barlin
Mr S Gordon
This is a great mitzvah because there are a growing number of people in the South African Jewish community who have no choice but to rely on state hospitals – where conditions make proper medical care enormously challenging. SOSA Medical aims to give people who cannot afford it both peace of mind and proper, dignified medical attention when needed.
Our sages teach us that one of the highest levels of tzedakah is giving to people in order to help them receive proper medical care, and I want to congratulate and thank those who have initiated this much-needed project. May Hashem bless their holy work.
May Hashem bless those who are able to support this unique and holy cause.
Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein
Untimely death inspires medical-aid SOS - sajr.co.za - July 8, 2021.
“His death led to an outpouring of love on social media and support from members of the community, and soon gave birth to the Akiva (Onay’s Hebrew name) Fund. The fund is being set up to assist those in need with medical and hospital plans, prioritising the elderly and those with comorbidities. It’s part of the SOSA Medical Project, which stands for Shiur-on-Sally’s Alley (registered as SOS for the Aged). The SOSA Medical Project was started last year by Rabbis Ari Hoppenstein, Shaun Wingrin, Lionel Horwitz, and Russell Davidoff.
It aims to provide funding for members of the community who can’t afford medical aid and private hospital care. It received the backing of the Beth Din and the Chief Rabbi earlier this year.”
Message to the dozens of volunteers who wish to remain nameless
[Inspirational rabbinical brocha placeholder …]