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
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
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."