From her Wheelchair, Nechumelle Sends Inspiration Worldwide

From her Wheelchair, Nechumelle Sends Inspiration Worldwide

Hundreds of people around the world (including me) receive daily doses of inspiration (like this one) from a woman named Nechumelle Jacobs.

And what makes these truly inspirational doses even more truly inspirational is the fact that Nechumelle was born with cerebral palsy. So when she writes, from her wheelchair, about feeling grateful and having emuna, I know that if Nechumelle is managing to do that, well, then, I can (and should!) do it too!
In Rebbetzin Mina Gordon’s wonderful N’shei Chabad Newsletter interview with her, Nechumelle shares some of her incredible life story:

A UNIQUE MARRIAGE

MINA E. GORDON INTERVIEWS NECHUMELLE JACOBS

MEG: Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself, your family, and where you grew up?

NJ: I was born in Stamford Hill, London, the eleventh and youngest child of a frum family, the Bergers, respected members of the Litvish-Yeshivish community. Somehow I was deprived of oxygen most likely during birth which caused me some neurological damage. I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy which means the signals between the brain and muscles get muddled. In my case, the result is that I cannot use my legs or my left hand. I consider myself lucky that this condition has not affected my speech or my intellectual capabilities.

When I was 14, I had surgery that was meant to improve the state of my legs, but all it did was to leave me with chronic pain. It took a number of difficult years until the doctor tried a nerve block. Although it needs to be administered twice a year and is a very painful experience, it is worth it.

MEG: What kind of schools did you go to?

NJ: Baruch Hashem, I attended Yesodey Hatorah all through the years.

I was treated like any other student by my teachers and classmates, but necessary concessions were quietly made for my situation. For example, my class was always given a classroom on the ground floor, and when we had mathematics worksheets to do, I had to finish only half of the easy problems and half of the hard, since writing took extra effort for me.

A new aide came to the elementary school and said she was there to help the girl who couldn’t write. (I suppose it was too hard for her to pronounce my name.)

The principal answered that all of the students in her school know how to write. The aide said, “I mean the girl with C.P. People with C.P. can’t write.”

“Really?” the principal raised her eyebrows in mock astonishment. “No one ever told us that, so we taught her to write!”

MEG: What are your poems about?

NJ: I usually write about how I feel about the things that happen. I find that I end up connecting it to emunah and bitachon or gratitude to Hashem. For example, earlier this year I was in terrible pain. I went to the doctor but he could not help me. I was very disappointed, but then I davened to the One Above. I started writing a poem in a dark mood, but as I wrote I found the pain was fading. By the end of the poem the tone had completely changed. Now it was full of gratitude to Hashem Yisborech!

MEG: How did you start sending inspirational emails?

NJ: It was before I was married and I was between jobs. I was looking for something to do that would be meaningful both for me and for others. I started collecting quotes and sayings which I felt conveyed worthwhile messages. Often I would happen to come across something that was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment!

MEG: How long have you been married?

NJ: My husband and I are, baruch Hashem, married four years. I turned 30 during sheva brachos. Our wedding was one of the most well attended in London in recent years, and one of the most freilich! Not only were the Yeshivish and Lubavitcher communities there, because my husband is a Lubavitcher and grew up on shlichus in Holland, but every kehillah in Stamford Hill was well represented. Although my husband and I could only “dance” from our wheelchairs, the guests danced the night away. As we like to describe it, it was a wedding on wheels! (Sorry, I know that is a bad joke!)

MEG: How do the two of you deal with the practical side of life?

NJ: After I was married a short while, my doctor asked me: “Are you happy?” I answered: “Yes, very happy. If my husband and I didn’t have disabilities, it would be easier but not better!”

My husband and I are very aware of our disabilities, we don’t live in denial, but we try to live our lives the best we can. We live in a sheltered accommodation in Schonfeld Square, London, a heimishe housing complex. We are very grateful for our good friends who assist us the way we really need, rather than guessing how to help us. For example, one friend does the grocery shopping, and makes sure to put everything away in the correct cupboard. There are shopkeepers who take orders over the phone, and patiently describe what is available, so we can be assured that no unwanted surprises come with our delivery.

Both of our families are tremendously supportive and the thoughtfulness of each one of our family members is appreciated.

I realize that the shidduch I found may be different but certainly not less!

Of course, it would be wonderful if we both were in perfect health, but sometimes I think that if we were, our shidduch would never have come about, after all, my husband is 11 years older than me, and he is Lubavitch, while I grew up following the Litvish derech. Since we did meet and marry, it certainly was bashert. As my sister-in-law says: “It is very obvious that you were meant for each other!”

MEG: Parting words?

NJ: What I like to conclude with is that it is not just special that we are married, but I can say that, baruch Hashem, our marriage is special!

After all, when I becomes we, i-llness becomes we-llness.

Sign up for Nechumelle’s daily words of inspiration at NechumelleJacobs@gmail.com

3 comments

  1. nechumelle jacobs

    the correct email address is nechumellejacobs@gmail.com

    waiting to hear from you

  2. Thanks for sharing this!

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