web analytics
September 22, 2014 / 27 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Yad Eliezer’s Big Brother Program: An Interview With Eli Yakobi

Yad-020813-Soccer

Yad-020813-BoysThe phone beeps, and Eli answers a call from the mayor of Emanuel. I am already impressed by this busy man, juggling so many responsibilities with so much heart and vigor, but the next story, and the way he told it, taught me even more.

“One mentor in Bnei Brak had invited his ‘little brother’ many times to join his family for Shabbos, but it was months before they heard the gentle knock on the door. When the boy finally came, they asked what had taken so long. He said that he had come to the door many times, but was too shy to knock. They welcomed him warmly, touched that he had finally built enough trust to visit. After a pleasant Shabbat meal with singing and delicious food, the man helped his wife clear the table. When he came back into the room, the boy was crying such heaving sobs that he couldn’t even talk. The man was horrified. Had he done something wrong? It took the boy a few minutes to calm down enough to get a few words out. ‘No, you didn’t do anything wrong. Everything’s wrong… Why can’t my family be like this!? This is so beautiful! Why is this the first time that I’ve seen a Shabbat like this? Why can’t I have this?’ When the boy calmed down, he told them that his father brings home a little food from a soup kitchen, his siblings fight over it, and when it is gone he goes out to the streets to find leftovers to tame his hunger. ‘Can you imagine?’ the mentor asked me. ‘He looked so normal, I had no idea!’”

Rabbi Yakobi wipes his tears as he continues. He tells me about the families that come to him, but I have a hard time concentrating. I am flushed with emotion and touched by the concern that brings help to thousands, yet sees each one as an only child.

“They come to us so broken, so bitter, knowing nothing of trust and warmth. I have hundreds of orphans. Others have divorced parents, or a parent or sibling is battling illness. Many parents are new immigrantswith no family support. Do you know what trust means to such a child? I thought I had heard it all; then I heard this…

“A mentor was set up with a new boy from a very difficult family situation. The mentor extended himself, trying to connect with the quiet, shy boy. One day he asked if the boy needed anything in particular. The boy answered, ‘Yes, I’m going to be bar mitzvah soon, and I have no tefillin, no new clothes, nothing.’ The mentor decided that he would make sure the boy had a proper celebration. That night he discussed the situation with his wife. His neighbor was a sofer; he would ask him for a discount, and they would ask their families to raise money for the tefillin. He would ask Yad Eliezer to provide new clothes, and ask neighbors to help prepare the meal. The school principal could let them use the dining room. The following morning the principal met with his request with a raised eyebrow. ‘He told you that his bar mitzvah is coming? His birthday is next month, but it is his twelfth.’ He called the boy in. The boy confessed that he had misled his mentor, but explained, ‘I was afraid the program would end and you would disappear from my life. I figured it would be best to have my bar mitzvah now while I have a chance…’ Just imagine! What has this boy’s life taught him about trust? I traveled to the town, met with the mentor, the principal and the boy and promised him that come what may, he would have a nice bar mitzvah at the right time.”Yad-020813-Mentor

“Where does the funding come from?”

“Some funding comes from foundations, and recently, from the municipalities where we work. If the boys don’t get help and end up in the street, it costs the cities much more. We have a matching arrangement with the Wolfson Foundation and with the municipalities. When a donor sends $100, the foundation and the municipalities also send $100 each, so that donation is worth $300. When a donor sponsors one kid, three kids will get big brothers. It’s an amazing opportunity to make a donation go a long way. Some donors ‘adopt’ a boy, paying for his mentor for the year. In those cases we send regular updates on the child’s progress. Our donors see this program as a unique opportunity to intervene at a critical point and change the life-course of our children. It’s an investment that brings huge returns.”

About the Author: The author can be reached at Shalvi@Yadeliezer.org


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Yad Eliezer’s Big Brother Program: An Interview With Eli Yakobi”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Hezbollah  terror group shows off its arsenal.
Report: US Sending Indirect Military Aid to Hezbollah
Latest Indepth Stories
donny pic

The current missionary problem in Samaria is still relatively unknown throughout Israel&to most Jews

Jewish Holidays' Guide for the Perplexed

Rosh Hashanah is a universal, stock-taking, renewal and hopeful holiday,

The New York Times building is only the cover page for what goes

No mutual clash between parties, it was Jews repeatedly attacked by Arabs, not the other way around.

ISIS Released Map

Israel would love to be in the coalition,but it’s never going to happen, because, in the end, most of America’s allies would walk away if Israel were on board officially.

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.

More Articles from Shalvi Weissman
Yad-020813-Soccer

A young man told me he wants to be a big brother. I asked how he heard of us, and he asked me whether I recognized him. Ten years earlier, as the son of divorced impoverished parents, he was suffering socially and academically, and had received a mentor from Yad Eliezer.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/yad-eliezers-big-brother-program-an-interview-with-eli-yakobi/2013/02/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: