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.