Just as there are nearly 3,000 pregnancy resource centers throughout the United States offering counseling, family support, and practical resources to mothers before and after their pregnancies, one Israeli ministry, Efrat, has a very similar mission in the Holy Land, which is believed to have among the world’s most liberal abortion laws.
The organization was originally founded in the 1950s by Holocaust survivor Herschel Feigenbaum, who, “undertood that our children are our future and in memory of the over one and a half million Jewish children who perished.”
''Pregnancy is a medical condition and only a doctor with a positive attitude in favor of women should be involved,” Dr. Eli Schussheim, Senior Surgeon and Efrat Association Chairman, told Arutz Sheva. “This is why I founded the Association of Efrat - because almost every woman who has an abortion experiences a lifelong psychological trauma that is never erased.”
Helping over 4,000 women a year with the means and resources to bear their Jewish children, Efrat, named for Miriam in the Bible, describes its own mission of that to, “...empower women to make an informed choice about the future of their pregnancy by providing them with personal counseling, prenatal medical consultation and postnatal family support. “ Furthermore, Efrat offers social services petaining to low income housing, financial assistance, and legal assistance.
Dr. Schussheim’s ministry has prevented over 68,000 abortions.
"We do not have a single case of a woman who was sorry in the end that she brought her child into the world,” Dr. Schussheim elaborated. “However, there are many cases of those who are sorry they had abortions. Happily, there is a decrease in the number of abortions, but the data shows that more than a hundred children a day are thrown into a trash can...Men do not interfere with the pregnant women. Most of the Efrat Association volunteers are women who were going to have an abortion and were assisted by the organization, and today they help other women get through their own experience."
In the end, it’s the woman herself who chooses - but before she decides to have an abortion we provide explanation and economic assistance, sometimes for a long time. We accompany the woman all the way. "
Though there are many in the increasingly secular land of Israel who champion the woman’s right to choose, the organization has been well received by at least one Israeli grandmother who recently took to the Times of Israel web platform to blog about her perception of this pro-life organization.
“I became acquainted with such “helping hands” in the form of a non-political non-profit organization Efrat who since its inception has assisted in saving the lives of over 74,000 children by providing “love packages” to parent(s) in the form of emotional, physical, and equally important material support,” Susan Barth blogged for the Times of Israel. “One visit to the warehouse and you feel like you are walking into the “Gan Eden” of Baby Land as you witness volunteers packing packages at the rate of 3,000 per month containing every wish list you need for a baby’s first years of survival!”
“Organizations like Efrat reinforce for me the adage that as Jews we are each responsible for the other,” Barth continued. “Extending assistance to individuals who face such tortuous decisions is the hallmark of our people and to me akin to the highest form of chesed - and the proof comes in the form of witnessing these beautiful souls grow up in Israel to celebrate every milestone in our history - one baby at a time.”