Hundreds of Fellowship volunteers visit 1,500 lonely elderly on Purim and give them festive food gifts
The Fellowship | February 25, 2021
JERUSALEM — As part of its ongoing activities to improve the well-being of the elderly in Israel and reduce the effects of loneliness and poverty among them, The Fellowship is implementing a special Purim activity in which hundreds of volunteers will come to the homes of about 1,500 lonely elderly people and give them festive food gifts. The operation will take place in 22 cities across the country and under strict adherence to coronavirus safety rules and Ministry of Health guidelines. In some of the cities where there is a large elderly population, a “Fellowship Happiness Vehicle” will also travel around the city with a mobile performance of Purim songs in different languages.
One of the elderly citizens who has already enjoyed the activity is Leonid Bobik, a 96-year-old Holocaust survivor who lives alone in Ofakim. Leonid heard the Happiness Vehicle and went out to applaud. “I did not remember at all that it was the Purim holiday. When I heard music and saw the vehicle, it made me very happy. It’s great that they don’t forget us.” The elderly man also received a festive food gift and was overjoyed: “Thank you very much. It warms my heart that someone still cares.”
President and CEO of The Fellowship, Yael Eckstein, wanted to remind everyone, “The coronavirus crisis has taken a heavy toll on the elderly in Israel and has dramatically exacerbated the loneliness that is all too common among this sensitive population. Fortunately, no challenge stops us and our volunteers from finding safe ways to increase joy among the elderly in a variety of creative ways.”
The Fellowship is the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Israel. It works to strengthen Israel’s social resilience by assisting populations in poverty and risk, encouraging aliyah (immigration to Israel) and klitah (resettlement), assisting hundreds of thousands of poor Jews – in Israel, the former Soviet Union, and beyond – and investing in the well-being and security of Israeli citizens during emergencies. This is thanks to the generous contributions of Christians and Jews from around the world who love Israel. During its 20 years of activity in Israel, The Fellowship has raised over NIS 5 billion from more than 2.1 million donors for the benefit of hundreds of social projects in Israel.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) was founded in 1983 to promote better understanding and cooperation between Christians and Jews and build broad support for Israel. Today it is one of the leading forces helping Israel and Jews in need worldwide — and is the largest channel of Christian support for Israel. Founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, The Fellowship now raises more than $120 million per year, mostly from Christians, to assist Israel and the Jewish people. Since its founding, The Fellowship has raised more than $1.8 billion for this work. The organization has offices in Jerusalem, Chicago, Toronto and Seoul. For more information, visit www.ifcj.org.
Yael Eckstein is the President and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. In this role, Eckstein oversees all ministry programs and serves as the organization’s international spokesperson. She can be heard on The Fellowship’s daily radio program airing on 1,500 stations worldwide. Before her present duties, Yael served as global executive vice president, senior vice president, and director of program development and ministry outreach. Based in Jerusalem, Yael is a published writer, leading international advocate for persecuted religious minorities, and a respected social services professional. As President and CEO of The Fellowship, she also holds the rare distinction of being a woman leading one of America’s largest religious not-for-profit organizations.