March 16, 2017
Dear Friend of Israel
Fifteen years ago, when I made aliyah (immigrated to Israel), I visited East Jerusalem to see what the situation was like in this economically depressed area. I was with a social worker and we visited several needy families. It was a rainy and cold day and I noticed a 7-year-old boy with no coat or boots.
I asked the social worker why this child didn’t have such basic necessities, and she said that it simply wasn’t in the budget. As we prepared to leave, I watched the social worker return to the child’s mother and give her money from her own pocket.
I learned this scenario wasn’t rare. Many social workers have a long list of needs they are unable to meet either due to limited social services funding or government red tape. Often, they reach into their own wallets when faced with such unmet needs.
Thanks to The Fellowship’s faithful donors, I was in a position to do something. We set up the Kupat Yedidut (Fellowship Fund) program to help these social workers meet the needs of people who might otherwise fall through the cracks. Social workers actually see the poverty and pain in these depressed neighborhoods. We knew we needed to equip them to meet those needs.
Now, at the beginning of each year, we allocate funds to Israel’s neediest cities – currently, more than 200. Those funds can then be distributed by the social workers as needs arise. Through the Kupat Yedidut program, we provide needy families, children, and elderly with clothing, home repairs, dental and medical care, transportation to medical treatments, hearing aids, wheelchairs, payment for rent or utility bills, food cards, and other items as needed.
It’s easy to assume the poor are at least partially, if not completely, responsible for their predicament, But I have seen with my own eyes how many hard-working, motivated individuals find themselves without money for essentials due to circumstances that are completely out of their control. What a privilege it is to be able to help them, as well as the social workers who dedicate their lives to caring for them.
And what a privilege it is to be in partnership with you, Fellowship friends who take to heart the words of Proverbs 19:17, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord.” With your continued support, this work will go on, and continue to be a blessing to Israel and her people.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President