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LevLA Offers Free Housing and Support for Medical Patients

Each unit comes with its own entrance, two to three bedrooms, a kitchen, a common area and 24-hour breakfast and refreshments.
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December 2, 2021

Just six weeks after Galit Horowitz gave birth to twin daughters, her husband Noam was diagnosed with heart failure. Though he was able to get a heart transplant, he soon contracted West Nile Virus, which affected his brain and put him into a coma.   

“We went from hospital to hospital and nursing homes for care,” said Galit. “My twins were involved because they were with me.”

During the three-and-a-half years Noam was in treatment, Galit would travel back and forth from her home in the San Fernando Valley to hospitals in the city such as Kaiser Permanente on Sunset and Cedars-Sinai on San Vicente. She’d spend Shabbat and holidays with her twins and Noam in the hospital, or, if she were lucky, a friend would let Galit stay at her house.

“When I could go to my friend’s house near the hospital, I’d feel a little different,” she said. “I’d fill up my batteries and then go and take care of my daughters.”

The Horowitz family

Unfortunately, after the several year-long battle, Noam passed away. But, as Galit said, God performed a miracle and brought her second husband, Shlomo Horowitz, into her life. Together, they’re raising the girls and have a 13-month-old boy as well. And now, they’re on a mission: to provide accommodations and food, as well as support, to individuals and families who are going through a medical crisis. 

Two years ago, they started LevLA, which is an organization that offers 100% free hospitality to individuals in critical condition along with their family members and caregivers. They came up with the idea because they’ve both always been passionate about hosting, and Galit saw what kind of effect having a friend to talk to after going through her experience had. 

“When we started dating, the first thing we talked about is how Galit loves to have guests for Shabbat, and she was already doing that even as a single mom,” said Shlomo. “I understood right away that this was a good shidduch.” 

The Horowitz family lives in Pico-Robertson, and in their backyard there are five suites that house the families that come from all around the world to go to renowned hospitals like Cedars-Sinai and UCLA for care. Each unit comes with its own entrance, two to three bedrooms, a kitchen, a common area and 24-hour breakfast and refreshments. It is within walking distance of many shuls and stores, too.

The Horowitzes also host the families for Shabbat and the holidays, and their children share their toys and play with the kids that are staying there. Galit, who is a teacher at Gindi Maimonides Academy, talks with the families if they want someone to lean on during their time of need.

“My wife is really giving them emotional support,” said Shlomo. “She gives them chizuk. She’s a real tzadeikes.” 

One family, the Mors, came from Israel to LevLA because the father, Deke Mor, has a rare type of cancer. The only option for him is experimental treatment, so he’s taken up residence with the Horowitzes for an unknown amount of time with his wife, Keren, and three small children.

“We were received with much love and everything we needed was taken care of,” said Keren. “This was a great help in the difficult times we are going through. Shlomi and Galit are amazing with [their] never-ending kindness and giving. We thank God we found them.”

Milly Cohen, another LevLA guest, had to travel to L.A. from Mexico so that her husband, Ezra Charbati, could get spinal surgery. “It was a very difficult and trying time,” said Cohen. “After two weeks in the hospital we were released, but we needed to stay in Los Angeles for an additional four weeks awaiting his next surgery. We called Shlomo and Galit Horowitz at LevLA. They welcomed us with open arms. We have no words to thank them for all the attention they afforded us. They are like our forefathers, Avraham and Sara, who [accepted] their guests with joy.”

Guests find LevLA in different ways. In the case of the Mor family, Deke’s mother-in-law works in Israel, and she had a colleague who learned once a week with a rabbi in Thailand. She asked him if he knew anyone in L.A. He did: Shlomo. 

Because of the Cohens, word has spread about LevLA in the Jewish community in Mexico. Bikur Cholim, a Jewish health care and social support organization, sends families to the Horowitzes, who then network with local rabbis and community leaders, including Rabbi Jason Weiner, senior rabbi and director of the Spiritual Care Department at Cedars-Sinai and rabbi of Knesset Israel Synagogue of Beverlywood.

“It has become an invaluable resource in our community.” – Rabbi Jason Weiner

“[The Horowitzes] told me about LevLA when they first came up with the idea to ask me what I think about it and for advice,” he said. “I loved the idea because I saw the need, and I was impressed by their sincerity, dedication and the way they wanted to provide more than a bed, but real care and warmth and to help people feel at home, safe and able to navigate Los Angeles and the healthcare system.  Their dream has turned into a reality and they are doing an incredible job of it. It has become an invaluable resource in our community.”

Yosef Miller, a supporter who worked in nonprofits for many years, said that sometimes when you donate money, you don’t know where it goes. “But with LevLA, you see exactly how every dollar is spent. It’s a phenomenal concept and a necessity, and my goal is to really let people know this exists. I think if they do, they will also support it.”

In the future, the Horowitzes envision being able to provide transportation to the hospitals and offer guests food for the hospital if they’re stuck there for Shabbat.

Even though Galit has been through heartbreak and pain, she sees the positive that has come from it through LevLA. 

“Hashem gives a challenge to a person, and they can sink into that challenge or grow from it,” she said. “Baruch Hashem, I have the merit that Hashem gave me the strength to grow from it and use it to help other people going through hard situations. I want to help them and give them strength.”  

Learn more about LevLA and donate at https://www.lev-la.org.

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