Sunday, October 21, 2012

Haredi Poverty

Seen in Jerusalem

Photo: Miriam Woelke

I have seen her twice or three times. A chassidic woman from Mea Shearim walking around outside her neighbourhood in secular territory, asking for donations enabling her to buy food for Shabbat. She usually is around on Thursdays and Fridays and receiving donations from religious as well as secular Jews. No one can resist when seeing the poor woman in her old clothes and worn out shoes. 

I feel sorry for her and give her money wherever I see her. Last Thursday, she was around again and I started a brief conversation with her. About the chassidic group where she is a member and about their Tish. One can see that she was born into the group and is not one of the newcomers joining. 

It would be rather difficult and shameful for me asking strangers for money but when I see this woman I am amazed that she does everything with a special kind of dignity. Many times when we go to chassidic Tishes we are only being shown the joyful side of a group. The Rebbe is giving out his Shirayim, the women at the Ezrat Nashim are dressed Schabbesdick and showing their rings and other jewellery. What we don't see is how hard the daily life is. Struggling for survival and feeding the kids. 

On November 1, grocery prices are going up again. No matter if Coca Cola, Soklobek sausages, Goldstar Beer, Lipton Tea or plenty of other products. It won't take too long and dairy products will become more expensive too.

Haredi areas such as Bnei Brak or Mea Shearim offer free Shabbat meal packages to needy families. Not only a few but thousands.  

No comments:

Post a Comment