I spotted The Miracle Next Door on sale for the incredible price of $5.49 (instead of $21!) at the Menucha website today.
The true story of a disabled mother of two disabled children, this book is told from two different viewpoints – that of the neighbor who volunteered to help (Malka Adler, also the author of a Second Helping of Sunshine), and the moving, poetical diary entries of Yona Yakobovitz, the first-time mom who after years of davening for a child, suddenly found herself spending years in hospitals at her son’s bedside.
Yona Yakobovitz was disabled by rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 19. After many childless years, she was blessed with a son, Yisrael Meir, who was born with severe Stickler’s syndrome and many physical problems. His problems were so challenging that some doctors even refused to treat the child!
She fought tooth and nail to save her son (who is today a delightful 20 year old young man.) When Yisrael Meir was 8 years old, his brother Eliyahu was born with Down syndrome and a variety of other physical problems.
It’s a tale of incredible hardship – but never a downer. As the book reminds us, “pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” In every new and difficult twist and turn, this family looked for the positive lessons to be learned.
One striking quote I’ve never forgotten – an excerpt from this mother’s diary, rejoicing upon finding out that her son was finally well enough … to have surgery:
There is one beautiful thing that keeps me hanging on, which is that I feel…I feel like a mom. We waited so long for him and we worked so hard with him to heal and to be in this world – so busy keeping him alive that the time to just be a mommy was so scarce, so precious.
Amidst all the daily chores and hard work of being a mom, how often do we stop to appreciate that getting to do all that hard work is an amazing privilege?
Interwoven among the chapters is also the story of Tofaah, the first all-woman, Jewish rock band, which is this mom’s other “baby,” and the incredible kiruv work the band does. There’s even a CD included with the book. (At least there was when the book was published by Targum.)
I’m so glad to see Menucha picked up this book and is making it available once more!
If you’re a fan of the book, or if you buy it now and it touches your heart, please contribute to the fund set up to help this inspirational family.