Monday, March 8, 2010

"Linat HaChesed" - Chesed in Mea Shearim


"Linat HaChesed" is a famous Chesed (kindness, charity) organization in Mea Shearim. Not only a soup kitchen provides hundreds of meals to any jew on a daily basis; the facilities also include a place to sleep for the homeless, free distribution of clothes to needy families as well as a charity fund for young couples getting married.

The usual prejudice is that Israeli Haredim should go and work. Then they wouldn't be poor and, at least, support their families without "schnorring". A fact which is not known too well is that thousands of Haredim do work. Mainly for their own communities as teachers, Shochtim, Rabbis, Poskim (halachic experts), in education, Kashrut or in business.
So, where exactly is the problem ?

"Do you have children ?" - This question I was asked by one of the organizers of "Linat HaChesed" last Wednesday.
"No", I replied.
"So, you have no idea of how it is to support a family with ten children. How it is when the salary is gone too fast and the fridge is empty".

Yes, this is true. I have no idea and I am unable to imagine. Having a huge family in Israel is more than a financial challenge. Funds from the US and other countries were floating in but then the worldwide financial crisis came and many funds just faded away.

To make a long story short:
Pessach is right ahead and plenty of families are not able to finance their own Seder let alone all the Mazzot. If you have anything to donate or know someone who could, "Linat HaChesed" would be a great opportunity.

The soup kitchen "Linat HaChesed" in the Mea Shearim market. The organization is run by Breslov and the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak but provides help for the needy from all kinds of Jewish background. 10, 000 food packages for the needy were distributed on Purim and, as you can surely imagine, Pessach will be even a greater challenge.

Challot distribution for the needy

Distribution of clothes

The soup kitchen

Food Packages

Daily meals for the needy

The soup kitchen is located near the Toldot Avraham Yitzchak Synagogue. Last Wednesday, I got a tour through the facilities and was quite impressed. A clean modest place and very good food. Breakfast and supper is being served and when I arrived in order to speak to one of the employees, I was told that every evening, about 250 - 300 people show up in order to eat their dinner. It was about 7pm and the employee told me that, so far, 250 people had been eating already and that the soup was gone.

The soup kitchen has a bigger room for men only but in case a hungry woman shows up, she will be served as well. Every Jew is welcomed and not only people from the neighbourhood.
When I had a quick look into the dining room, I saw people from all kinds of backgrounds. A national religious guy as well as Chassidim. Chassidim I would have never guessed that they need a soup kitchen. They just looked to normal and well - off.
This is a huge society problem: Either we don't see who is really in need or we just don't pay too much attention anymore about the needs of other human beings.

I spoke to a woman from the neighbourhood and told her about my astonishment. She said that each of those needy persons has his or her own problems. Sometimes it is very sad what kind of Tikunim (soul rectifications) G - d would give to the people.

If you would like to join our new FACEBOOK group:

No comments:

Post a Comment