Laurie Simkovich, a Fellowship staff member based in Chicago, recently traveled to Israel, where she visited several of the projects you make possible with your generous support.
In the city of Ramla, she met with “Noa,” a young mother who is struggling to raise her four children, including a newborn, on her own. Her husband is a drug addict who doesn’t provide any support for the family, and her biological family has cut her off. Even with government assistance and other contributions, Noa has still sometimes had her electricity and heat cut off in her bare-bones apartment. Noa is very appreciative of The Fellowship’s help, which has included securing her a refrigerator and washing machine.
“She showed me her Fellowship food card and said it gives her security and enables her to buy food and diapers,” Laurie said. Noa also told Laurie she hopes to volunteer once her baby is old enough, helping others in the same way she has been provided help at a critical time in her life.
Laurie also met “Vera,” an elderly woman who is unable to walk very far because of severe bloating in her legs. Vera is very frustrated by her limited mobility, and she craves her independence; nonetheless, she still finds ways to stay engaged by cooking and knitting hats for young people in the army. The Fellowship provides food cards for Vera, and our volunteers visit her regularly. In fact, one of our volunteers helped Vera get a special chair that can lift her into a standing position as the transition from sitting to standing is a challenge. Vera is touched by the practical assistance that helps her maintain her dignity.
Accompanied by Rabbi Eckstein’s wife, Joelle, Laurie visited Bat Melech, a Fellowship-supported home for abused religious women. The home provides shelter, counseling, and legal assistance for women and their children. This help is especially important for abused women in religious communities in Israel, as there are different laws and procedures to navigate. Of the 14 shelters for abused women in Israel, only two of them specifically help religious women.
In Jerusalem, Laurie visited Susan’s House, a center where at-risk teens create ceramics, glasswork, and other forms of art. Not only is the process of creating the art therapeutic, the teens can also sell their pieces to help support themselves. Many of these young people have come from extreme circumstances – their mothers are prostitutes, they have been raped by stepfathers, or they are living on the streets. The assistance and life skills they learn at this Fellowship-supported facility help them form a healthy community and build a solid foundation for their future.
It’s always a treat when one of our U.S.-based staff is able to go see firsthand the lifesaving work The Fellowship does every day thanks to the faithful and generous support of donors like you.