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Prayer mission is postponed

October 23, 2004

Josh Kleinbaum

Margo Gabor spent eight months collecting notes with prayers. Some of

the notes asked for world peace. Others asked for a cure to multiple

sclerosis, which Gabor suffers from.

In all, Gabor has more than 1,000 notes, which she planned to

deliver to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, a place where some believe

prayers are answered.

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But now, Gabor's most important prayer notes are the ones she

places in front of a Jesus candle each night. Those notes ask for

health for her mother, Amalia Wirtschafter, who suffered a stroke in

September and is still hospitalized at Glendale Adventist Hospital.

Gabor was supposed to leave for Jerusalem on Monday. Instead, she

spent the day the same way she's spent most of them since Sept. 3 --

sitting by her mother's side in a hospital room.

"If it weren't for my mom, I wouldn't be who I am," Gabor said.

"Should my mom pass away while I'm gone for 10 days, I would never

forgive myself."

Gabor and Wirtschafter have always been close. After Gabor's

father died in 1986, she would take her mother on dates. Her mother

instilled the importance of faith and charity, which led to Gabor's

prayer project in the first place.

"I used to see my mom taking the neighbor's trash out," Gabor

said. "Once, she saw a man picking through the trash and she went and

gave him money. My mom did all these things for people. She'd give

you her last penny."

Wirtschafter has yet to regain her senses from the stroke. When

Gabor visited her mother Tuesday morning, Wirtschafter did not

recognize her. Wirtschafter eats through a feeding tube. Doctors

believe she has fluid in her brain and might have to perform surgery

to drain it, but Gabor is worried that Wirtschafter, 89, will not

survive the surgery.

Gabor still plans on visiting Jerusalem. She has tremendous belief

in the spiritual power of the Western Wall, which is believed to be

the last remnant of Jews' Second Temple that dates back to the year

70.

During a trip to Jerusalem in 1983, Gabor wrote a note asking for

help in her job and her personal life. A few months later, she

received a promotion and met a man she eventually married.

Then, in 2000, after her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer,

Gabor met two Israelis. She wrote a prayer for her sister's health

and asked them to put it in the Wall. Her sister, Nancy, recovered.

"I believe in my heart of hearts that the two Hebrews deposited

the note in the Wall," Gabor said. "Wherever they are now, I bless

them for doing that for my sister. My sister believes the cancer is

back. Maybe the timing of this trip is correct."

But the timing is still up in the air. She booked her flight using

frequent flier miles, so she was able to cancel them and retain the

miles for $100, as long as she uses them by the end of May.

"I would like for my mom to be stable before I go," Gabor said.

"She's not. She's far from it."

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