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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘charity’

Rami Levy Quietly Helping Families of the Fallen

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Without almost anyone noticing, supermarket magnate Rami Levy has been quietly unloading truckloads of food and basics at the homes of all the fallen soldiers since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, according to Guy Meroz of Channel 10.

Rami Levy has a history of quietly supporting families of the fallen.

In 2011, Rami Levy took it upon himself to provide food and basics for the surviving children of the Fogel family of Itamar, until the youngest orphan becomes an adult. It only became public knowledge after Levy was spotted in the kitchen of the massacred Fogel family, personally stocking their fridge and cabinets.

Ramy Levy’s Shivuk HaShikma supermarket chain opened 30 years ago, and has 27 stores and approximately 5000 employees. It’s named after the street in Machane Yehuda, the Jerusalem Shuk, where he opened his first grocery store in a stall he got from his grandfather.

Meir Panim: Lighting Up Life for Israel’s Neediest Residents

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Charity in Or Akiva, a town in Northern Israel near Caeseria, goes beyond traditional packaged food deliveries, soup kitchens and after-school clubs for the needy. Ilanit Hafuta, director of Meir Panim’s Or Akiva branch, has a tremendous heart and endless commitment to help her neighbors. Hafuta runs a vast amount of the community’s charity operations.

Across Israel, the not-for-profit organization Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs. Since 2000, the organization annually has served at least 300,000 free meals out of a network of restaurant-style soup kitchens, which also prepare meals-on-wheels for delivery to an additional 125,000 people. Meir Panim also targets children in impoverished areas, offering hot lunches, after-school clubs and summer day camps. All programs give dignity, respect and relief to many of the country’s neediest residents.

These projects run strong in Or Akiva, with hundreds of people participating in the meal programs and the beloved after-school programs daily. But Hafuta has not stopped there.

For Jewish holidays, she ensures that there is always something special. “Purim is a favorite for the children in our after-school programs,” she says, explaining that she hands out free costumes every year so that the children whose parents cannot afford costumes can be included in the fun. “At the Meir Panim branch, we host a festive Purim seudah (feast) for families to celebrate the day,” Hafuta says. “We host a special Purim party, too, for the children.” Last year, the party joined with a school in London, where Skype hosted a simultaneous celebration for the kids.

“The most remarkable thing is taking our children from our after-school clubs, who are usually on the receiving end, to hospitals and army bases on Purim,” Hafuta explains. “There, they give out mishloach manot to those who also are in need. This experience teaches that they can also give and not just receive. The children feel an incredible amount of pride and joy in this, and they learn the important value of giving.” Beyond the holidays, every family goes through certain momentous lifecycle events. For Bar Mitzvahs and weddings, Meir Panim extends a hand to needy Or Akiva residents. “Our two-story Meir Panim building is transformed into a simcha and event hall,” Hafuta says. In the months prior to the Bar Mitzvah, a teacher will volunteer to train the boy in learning the Torah portion and the blessings for the Torah and Tefillin. On the Bar Mitzvah date, the boy is called up to the Torah at Meir Panim. The occasion is marked with a celebratory meal with family and friends. For weddings, preparations are made with the help of the community of volunteers and the new couple is married in the event hall, complete with full celebrations.

Sometimes, there are less joyous occasions and Meir Panim volunteers step in to help. “In the past several years, we have helped renovate some 30 homes of needy Or Akiva residents,” Hafuta says, explaining that many of the elderly, the ill and single-parent families in her town live in disastrous conditions. Depending on the need and case, Hafuta organizes renovations, whether structural, electrical or more expansive, and ensures that the homes can be functional for a healthy life. Hafuta and her volunteers recently renovated a decrepit apartment for a Holocaust survivor. “He had the biggest smile across his face after his apartment was fixed,” she recalls. A widower and father of four told Hafuta that she saved his life when Meir Panim remodeled an old two-bedroom apartment into a space for a family, with three rooms and a new bathroom and kitchen.

Meir Panim brings a smile onto people’s faces – that is precisely our goal,” says Hafuta, who has built an operation that nourishes impoverished Israelis with food, shelter, fun and a big dose of Jewish tradition. “When someone finds the good in his or her heart to volunteer, they can make a tremendous difference in the lives of those in need. We have seen miracles.”

The ‘Chicken Lady’ Who Helped the Poor Dies at Age 90

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Bracha Kapach, wife of a scholarly rabbi from Yemen and more widely known as the “Chicken Lady,” died Tuesday morning in Jerusalem at the age of 90.

She earned her nickname because of her individual charity effort to make sure that poor Jews would have chicken and other foods for the Shabbat and holidays. The charity fund drew support from many contributors who did not know the true identity of the “chicken lady,” who was married since the age of 11 to Yemenite Rabbi Yosef Kapach, who died in 2000.

They moved to Israel in 1941 and became the only couple to have been individually won the Israel Price. Rabbi Kapach was awarded in 1969 for his scholarly work on Jewish thought, and his wife Bracha won the prize in 1999 for her charity efforts.

Shortly after the re-establishment of the State of Israel, she founded a textile firm that gave employment to dozens of women. Besides her providing food for the poor, working out of her home in Jerusalem’s Nahalot neighborhood near Mahane Yehuda, she also arranged summer camps for underprivileged children.

The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia in Israel

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Israelis take part at the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia charity bicycle race near the Jerusalem Old City walls on October 11, 2013, as they pass the Tower of David complex during a road race in Jerusalem.

The Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia is a worldwide series of cycling events that showcases the passion of Italian cycling and the strength of spirit embodied in the Giro d’Italia, arguably the world’s toughest professional bicycle race.

JERUSALEM BICYCLE RACE

Survey: Jewish Americans More Generous than Non-Jews

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

More Jews give to non-Jewish causes than Jewish causes, and Jews overall are more generous givers than non-Jews, according to a new survey called Connected to Give.

It found that 76 percent of American Jews reported a charitable contribution in 2012, compared to 63 percent among non-Jewish Americans. The median annual giving rate among Jews was $1,200, double that of non-Jews.

Among Jews who give charity, 92 percent of those surveyed gave to a non-Jewish organization and 79 percent gave to a Jewish organization. Additionally, 21 percent gave only to non-Jewish organizations and 4 percent gave only to Jewish organizations.

Younger Jews are less likely to give to Jewish causes, according to the study: 49 percent of non-Orthodox Jews aged 18-39 gave to a Jewish group in 2012, compared to 62 percent of those 40 and older.

The most significant determinant of American Jewish generosity is the degree of engagement with the Jewish community, according to the study. Those who reported more Jewish connections — such as attending religious services, having Jewish friends, being married to a Jew — were more likely to give to charity, and not just Jewish charities.

“Conventional wisdom says that fundraising from Jewish donors is a zero-sum competition, with Jewish and secular causes fighting over smaller pieces of a shrinking pie,” said Shawn Landres, co-founder of Jumpstart, a Jewish charity research group.

“Connected to Give challenges that assumption and shows us that the stronger a person’s Jewish community connections, the more she or he gives to all causes, and the larger the pie becomes.”

Special Delivery: Meir Panim Pre-Paid Food Cards Make the Holiday Possible for Many Needy Israelis

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

In the days prior to Rosh Hashana, social workers across Israel will hand-deliver 2,500 prepaid food cards to those in need. The food cards, funded by Meir Panim, are pre-loaded with 250 shekels and can be used at major Israeli supermarket chains to purchase food and household items. The cards are made with revolutionary technology that tracks purchases, blocking their use for alcohol or cigarettes, but still grant families the flexibility to customize their purchases.

“These food cards change the way many of Israel’s neediest families celebrate Rosh Hashana,” said David Roth, president of American Friends of Meir Panim. “We previously prepared boxes of staple foods to deliver to thousands of needy Israelis. After some time, we realized that there was a lack of freedom in this, because each family has different needs and preferences. So, instead we worked with supermarket chains to develop technology to offer pre-paid food cards that can be cashed in for goods. These cards give our impoverished brothers and sisters a chance to buy the products they want and need for the holiday, giving them the dignity to make their celebrations special and joyful.” Meal

Last week, Jerusalem resident Asher received his food card from Meir Panim. “This is going to save my holiday,” he said. “I’m going to use this to buy myself a chicken, some fruit and vegetables. If I’m able to, I’d like to buy something new for my apartment.” Asher lives in a 35 square-meter apartment with a caregiver, paid by the National Insurance Institute. He gets a small monthly subsidy from the government, too, but most of the money goes to pay the rent. He spends his days begging for money at a major Jerusalem intersection. Daily, he said, he can earn between 50 – 60 shekels from people offering him small change.

Born in Romania in 1940, Asher, his mother and sister escaped the Nazis with the help of a Christian neighbor. His father was sent to Auschwitz, but survived. Following the war, Asher’s family returned to their previous home but found it ransacked. “We lived very simply and often went hungry,” he described. In 1960, Asher moved to Israel with his wife and worked various jobs – as a plumber, milling corn and on farms – for most of his life. Following his wife’s passing in 2000, Asher was left penniless after paying off debts that had accrued. He was even forced to sell his apartment. Asher explained that he sometimes has to choose between buying food and paying his medical bills. Thanks to the Meir Panim food card, he will be able to afford something special for the holidays.

Yitzhak, his wife and 12 children also will have a happy holiday, thanks to Meir Panim. They received two prepaid cards to buy food and household necessities. “These cards, more than just being an incredible act of kindness and charity, helped bring peace of mind and raised the overall spirits of my family. Even though my wife and I work, we are in a difficult financial situation after paying the rent, child care, and helping my sick mother with her medical care.” Yitzhak often picks up meals from the Meir Panim restaurant in central Jerusalem, especially before Shabbat, and sometimes receives clothing for his children.

Naomi, a single mother of two, shares a similar story. “I come to get food from Meir Panim when I feel like I have nothing at home,” she said. In the summer months, Naomi cannot work because her daughters are out of school. Meir Panim helped her pay for day care so that she could work more consistently. “The card I got last Passover helped me tremendously in preparing for the holiday. I was able to afford food that I would not have been able to otherwise. I am so thankful for the support.”

Meir Panim works across Israel to alleviate the effects of poverty by providing a range of food and social service programs that give dignity and respect to the needy. In addition to pre-paid food card distribution before Rosh Hashana and Passover, Meir Panim’s programs include free restaurants, meals-on-wheels, children’s meal programs, and after-school youth clubs. Since 2000, the organization has served Israelis of all backgrounds, regardless of ethnicity or religion.

Names have been changed in order to preserve anonymity.

Things Haredim Do

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

A volunteer at the Tachlit center are busy dividing hordes of food into boxes, to be distributed to needy families before Shabbat and before the coming Jewish new year in Jerusalem.

Tomchei Shabbat (supporters of Shabbat) organizations like Tachlit flourish throughout the Haredi communities, each with its unique, local flavor, but all of them with one, central goal: feed the needy.

Most of them also deliver the food boxes quietly, so as not to shame the recipient. In many places there’s also a feedback system in place, allowing recipients to indicate which goods they like and which they’d rather not receive. It prevents waste, and also makes the proces look more like shopping than like charity.

Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/photos/things-haredim-do/2013/08/23/

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