A bag filled with Judaica and other special gifts purchased with the donations of generous Israel365 customers awaits at least 60 families who lost their homes due to the hundreds of devastating blazes that plagued Haifa communities two weeks ago.
Over the course of a week, firefighters combatted well over 1,700 fires throughout the country, 39 of which were declared major, leaving approximately 520 apartments in Haifa completely destroyed and 1,600 people homeless. The devastation that consumed all of their possessions left them with absolutely nothing.
Even for middle class families living on an average Israeli income, the money necessary to rebuild what was lost is simply overwhelming. They must start from scratch, buying furniture and clothes, kitchenware and linens. The overall costs are astronomical and for too many simply unaffordable. That’s where Israel365 stepped in to rescue those who now found themselves in a position of great need.
“One of the aspects that makes the Israel365 store unique is the option to add charity to our shopping cart. We receive as little as cents to round up to an even amount and up to thousands of dollars,” explained Ayal Kellman, the Vice President of e-Commerce on Israel365, to Breaking Israel News.
When asked why they chose to put this month’s donations towards those affected by the terrorist blazes, Kellman related, “It was natural for the store to focus our charity efforts on the fire victims and to do what we can to help.”
The store at Israel365 sells a wide range of products all made in Israel. Since 2013, the team at Israel365 has tirelessly put forth all their efforts to fight the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by channeling new forms of support for Israeli vendors. Through their endeavors, thousands of dollars have gone to artisans and authors living in the Holy Land.
Through the generosity of hundreds of customers who chose to ‘round-up for charity’, Israel365 collected thousands of dollars to be used towards helping the people of Haifa rebuild their homes and restart their lives.
Rabbi Tuly Weisz, founder and director of Israel365, shared his shock and appreciation, revealing, “One particularly benevolent customer bought two full sets of The Israel Bible as Christmas gifts for her pastor and in addition made a $1,000 contribution. This level of generosity simply boggles the mind!”
Looking to unite Israel365’s mission of financially supporting Israeli merchants and the charitable efforts of people from all over the world, Rabbi Weisz and the store team made a unanimous decision to present the Haifa families with gift bags bulging with Judaica and other essential items purchased from different vendors. Every family who receives a bag will be gifted with a kiddush (blessings) cup, a set of crystal candlesticks, a mezuzah case, a menorah and much more.
The entire Israel365 staff pitched in to help pack the gift bags, stuffed with Judaica items which every Jewish family needs.
When Kellman mentioned the exciting endeavor to several artisans with whom Israel365 has worked closely in the past, they too wanted to join in the project and show their support for those going through a difficult time. Master of modern Judaica design Yair Emanuel donated 100 stunning covers for challah (the bread used on Sabbath and Jewish holidays), while Ceremonie Tea contributed dozens of boxes filled with high-end teas to help restore a sense of calm to the recipients.
Shared Emanuel, “I was very happy to be a partner of this very special benefit to help the victims.”
The gift bags will be given out at an event hosted by Israel365 on Thursday at the City Center Mall in Haifa. In addition to the sets of Judaica, each person who attends the event will be given a 1,000 shekel (equivalent to $260) shopping spree to replenish that which was destroyed in the fires. It is anticipated that at least 240 people, adults and children, will be in attendance.
Several participating stores in the Haifa mall, such as Jump, Solog, Onot, and Homestyle, wanted to put forth their support as well and committed to providing a 30 percent discount off all purchases made during the three hour event.
Beyond the material relief today’s gifts will surely give the families, the message behind it all is that of a deep sense of tremendous emotional support for the people enduring their worst nightmare at this terrible time.
“The message of Hanukkah, which is coming up in just a few weeks, is to be a light unto others. What better way to show our love and that of our kind patrons than by shedding the light of their generosity on those who need it most?” asked Rabbi Weisz.