Meir Panim, an Israeli charity organization working to alleviate and diminish the harmful effects of poverty on thousands of men, women and children in Israel, was honored this past week to host prominent cantor and Board Member of American Friends of Meir Panim, Avi Albrecht, for an extensive site visit. Albrecht was visibly moved from seeing both the shocking needs of so many in the Holy Land as well as the impressive work of Meir Panim.
Israeli-born Albrecht is recognized worldwide as an outstanding baritone, and has performed in almost every major city in North America, Israel and Europe. Though his repertoire consists of performing Broadway favorites, Yiddish standards, and Italian arias, he is the regular cantor at the prestigious Beth Tfiloh Congregation in Baltimore, Maryland.
“About 15 years ago I was visiting a friend in Israel who told me that there are endless people living in Israel who do not know where their next meal is coming from,” shared Albrecht with Breaking Israel News. “As someone who grew up in Tel Aviv, I felt that this was an impossibility. ‘No one in Israel lacks food,’ I thought. However, we visited a home in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi and I was shocked to see that their refrigerator and cabinets were bare.”
Albrecht’s friend then took him to a Meir Panim free restaurant-style soup kitchen. He was so impressed with the dignity in which the organization was helping their needy patrons that he became a leader for the organization. He spreads the word about the crucial work of Meir Panim and raises funds.
“I believe that everyone should do what they can to alleviate the tragic situation in Israel of children, adults and elderly suffering from hunger,” Albrecht continued. “I personally raise funds for Meir Panim through using my God-given talent as a cantor and through speaking to as many people as possible to get the word out that, yes, hunger is a real issue in Israel. Everyone can do something.”
Albrecht began his singing career when serving in the IDF as part of the IDF Choir. Though he presently resides in Baltimore, his heart is clearly with the Holy Land and, in particular, his work for Meir Panim.
“I drive 3.5 hours each way from Baltimore to the Meir Panim New York office at least one time per week,” he shared with Breaking Israel News. “Meir Panim is involved with helping people every single day. Shouldn’t I be?”
Albrecht’s site visit included the soon-to-open Meir Panim Nutrition Center located in the Israel’s southern city of Kiryat Gat. The enormous building has been intelligently designed to streamline the daily process of making thousands of fresh, hot and nutritious meals for hungry people living in Israel’s poverty-stricken southern regions.
His next stop was to the Sderot Ben Gurion Youth Club sponsored by Meir Panim. The newly refurbished building runs after-school programs for youth from dysfunctional homes as well as for those traumatized by years of rocket attacks from the nearby Gaza Strip.
Then Albrecht traveled north to the town of Or Akiva where Meir Panim runs a free restaurant-style soup kitchen as well as two youth clubs. Speaking with numerous recipients of Meir Panim’s food and after-school enrichment programs, Albrecht stated, “What Meir Panim is doing throughout Israel is very impressive. I encourage anyone who can to partner with the life saving work of this wonderful organization.”
To donate to Meir Panim, please visit here.