Michal Divon writes for No Camels.
could imagine what is going on inside the small warehouse overlooking
Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport. Scattered throughout the space, hundreds of
limbs are piled onto each other: arms, legs; some painted the color of
human flesh, others colored deep hues of blue or red.
This is Y.D
Gapim and it is here that patients come from all over the world to be
fitted with prosthetic limbs. The man behind the initiative is Yehuda
Pilosof, a charismatic, deeply spiritual orthopedic technician trained
both in Israel and abroad, whose life motto is to “make possible what is
Pilosof, together with his son Israel, a former
soccer player, works around the clock sculpting, measuring, coloring and
matching prosthetic limbs to the patients who lost theirs. The
father-son team often travel long distances to help patients or train
other orthopedic technicians around the world.
disabled is not always an easy or simple task,” says Pilosof. “It can
be difficult spiritually, mentally and physically as well. However, the
most difficult cases are those which motivate me most.”
Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake in January 2010, Pilosof found himself
among the first Israeli medical practitioners sent to give immediate
medical treatment to the victims. There he slept amidst the rubble and
ruins and dealt with some of the most horrifying injuries of his
Coming back to Israel, Pilsof says he never imagined he would encounter one of his most memorable Haitian patients months later.
first met George at the beginning of this year in Tel Hashomer
hospital. George, who had lost his right leg during the earthquake and
severely injured his left leg and arm, was flown to Israel by the
hospital for medical treatment.
What Pilosof did not know was
that George had been a professional dancer in Port-au-Prince as well as
the head of a dance company he founded. To George, his injuries
signified more than just the loss of his limbs; they were the loss of
“I remember the first time George tried on the new
prosthetic we made,” says Pilosof. “We expected him to take his first
baby steps without a walker, his first steps since he lost his leg.
Suddenly George stood up and started dancing. My son and I were in utter
shock. We had no idea he was a dancer and what a dancer! We wish we
could dance half as well with our own legs,” he added.
Incredibly, George has since returned to Haiti and continues to dance and lead his performance arts company.
Pilosof and his son returned from Peru where they trained local
orthopedics and doctors as part of a prosthetics seminar. “The tools
that were used in the local hospital to fit patients with prosthetics
were the same methods we used in Israel thirty years ago” says Pilosof.
“The local hospital and technicians were lacking the resources and
training that can offer patients a higher standard of living.
too, a male and female patient just fitted with new prosthetics stood
up and began dancing with each other, out of joy. I was extremely moved
and everyone in that room was in tears.”
The orthopedic technician believes “there needs to be a strong will on
both the side of the patient and the practitioner for the therapy to
work. The healing process does not end with the construction of the
prosthetic.” Pilosof said that his practice, which is widely recognized
in Israel, includes just as much emotional healing as physical healing.
The process with his patients therefore includes a great deal of verbal
communication, which he believes is crucial to overcome the trauma of
losing a limb and starting life with a new one.
Pilosof’s dream is to continue his work and open a training center in
Israel that would offer seminars for orthopedic technicians and doctors
from all over the world. Pilosof wants to open a school that combines
his practice with alternative medicine and spiritual healing.No Camels - Local solutions to global problems.
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