Though Israel has a shocking 1.7 million Israelis living below the poverty line, the country also has numerous charity organizations doing all they can to help those in need, especially before Biblical holidays.
“Colel Chabad has been working to ease the suffering of the impoverished and lonely in Israel since 1788,” shared Rabbi Moshe Deutsch, CFO of Colel Chabad. “People of every age, gender, marital status, ethnic background, location, or degree of observance know that they can turn to Colel Chabad for assistance and we will do all that we can to ease their plight with dignity.”
Aid organizations throughout Israel noticed a rise in requests for help before Passover. In fact, it was generally reported that there was a 14 percent increase in requests for food as compared to this time last year.
The Israeli government, nearly two years ago, established the Committee to Fight Poverty. Headed by MK Eli Alalouf, proposals were issued to close the deepening economic and social gaps between citizens who fall below the poverty line and those who are self-sustaining. Unfortunately, few if any of the committee’s suggestions have been implemented.
In fulfillment of the Biblical doctrine, “[Thou] shalt not stand idly by the blood of thy neighbour” (Leviticus 19:16), charity organizations throughout Israel worked to full capacity to ensure that those in need would be able to festively celebrate Passover.
Colel Chabad alone gave financial assistance in 148 municipalities around Israel. “Through generous donations from our supporters, we spent nearly $3.5 million dollars this Passover to ensure that 48,930 families get what they need to enjoy the holiday,” said Rabbi Deutsch.
At Colel Chabad’s soup kitchens and facilities, the organization sponsored 236 communal Passover seders where some 21,175 elderly and lonely people gratefully participated. Additionally, 9,160 prepared meals were delivered every day during the seven day holiday to elderly, disabled and lonely people throughout the country.
Over 11,000 boxes of Passover food and staples, including cleaning supplies, were delivered to struggling families and about 6,400 needy people received pre-paid shopping cards and money.
“As government committees discuss what to do to ease the plight of hungry people, Colel Chabad continues to operate day and night to give help and hope to those who need it most,” said Rabbi Deutsch. “It is difficult to imagine that in a country known for its hi-tech advances, 37 percent of Israeli children skip a meal daily or eat very little because their family cannot afford food.”
The Bible states in Deuteronomy 15:11, “The poor will never cease to be in the land.” However, the verse continues, “Therefore, I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’”
“Since it is clear that the war on poverty in the Holy Land needs to be fought until the coming of the Messiah, we are grateful for the charitable donations we receive from people all over the world,” Rabbi Deutsch told Breaking Israel News. “Through their help, we were able to provide widows, Holocaust survivors, elderly, lone Israeli soldiers, victims of terror, and struggling families with a happier Passover.”