|Hunger in Israel||
The price of terrorism is more
staggering than many people realize.
" BELAVE SAMAACH"
Poverty is no stranger in Bet-El. It is easy to see it here -
staring starkly in one's face. There are around 1000 families in Bet
El. Two hundred families live in caravans - temporary trailer homes
that are made of wood and paper. The rain pounds on the tin roofs, the
walls get soaked with water, and the mattresses get ruined from mildew.
In the winter, they are damp and cold. In the summer, they are
sweltering hot. Most people do not have air-conditioning - who can
afford the electricity? In other settlements around the country,
terrorists have easily penetrated these flimsy housing quarters. In
the case of a terrorist attack, G-d forbid, families living in these
little mobile homes are advised to leave their homes as quickly as
possible and to take refuge in the closest stone building. Most of the
families living in these conditions are new immigrants from India,
Peru, Ethiopia, and Russia, young couples, and large families without
the means to improve their situation because they cannot take upon
themselves a mortgage payment.
Every Rosh Chodesh our Community Aid Fund gives out food packages to
around 50 families. There are 100 heads of households desperately
looking for work in Bet El either because they do not have any work or
because they are seeking to supplement an existing meager income.
These packages are basic staples. Each package typically contains one
package of flour, one package of sugar, some canned goods, a bottle of
wine, and if they are lucky - something sweet for the children.
Lately, there are not enough funds so there are not enough food
packages for the families. Before the holidays, the families also get
potatoes and other vegetables. Sometimes the families also get frozen
In Ulpenat Raaya - our local girls' high school where I work - and in
Yeshivat Bnei Tsvi - one of our local boys' yeshiva high schools - the
leftover food from lunch ( the main meal) is collected everyday by our
pupils in new plastic containers and distributed daily to needy
families by volunteer families. We buy the plastic containers and use
new ones everyday to avoid food contamination and so that the families
will receive the leftovers in a dignified fashion. The plastic
containers cost around a shekel each. We use between 10 and 15 a day.
The money comes from donations and this beautiful community project is
in constant danger of ending because of lack of funds for the plastic
The leftovers from simchas are distributed to needy families in Bet El.
It is always easy to find people who are happy to take the leftovers.
Everyday, needy families come to pick up leftover rolls, bagels, and
pittas from the day before. We also personally distribute.
Our secondhand store is suffering from the economic crisis. People are
really hanging onto their clothes and our store is full of "shmattas".
There are families who try to do all their clothing shopping secondhand
since every item costs only a few shekels. We are VERY worried about
the quality of the merchandise in the store.
A simcha in a family can be a time of stress and undue anxiety because
of the financial burden. Three years ago we set up a registered non-
profit fund called "BELAVE SAMAACH" - "With Joy" - which helps families
make modest simchas. Our spiritual adviser is Rabbi Shlomo Aviner and
his wife, Shifra, is on the Board. Over the years, we have helped
families with thousands of dollars. Our main source of income is a
thrift shop where we sell ANYTHING new at low prices. Thus we benefit
our customers who are able to buy with dignity high-quality merchandise
at very cheap prices and - our fund.
Recently we helped fund the wedding of a young Indian couple (from the
community of Bnei Menashe believed to be one of the lost Ten Tribes).
The young man is a soldier serving in the IDF and the young woman is
completing her matriculation exams because she wants to study nursing.
Before the young soldier got to us, he had planned to take out a huge
loan to pay for the wedding - simple as it was to be. With our help,
this young couple can securely look forward to the future without the
burden of debts.
We also recently paid for the wedding of a young girl who had grown up
in a foster family in Bet El since kindergarten. The young couple set
up their household in Bet El and G-d willing, they will build a
beautiful home of joy and love.
We would be delighted to receive donations. Tax-deductible checks can
be made out to One Israel Fund. On the back of the check, please cite
Food for Bet El c/o Ora Levy or BELAVE SAMAACH c/o Ora Levy. My home
address is: Ora Levy
D.N. Mizrach Benyamin
My home phone number is 02-9973545 and my cellphone is 052-404938.
We would be happy to pick up factory surpluses, store merchandise, and
anything new that you just do not care for in your home. We often get
donations of wedding gifts that young couples cannot use but would like
to donate. It is amazing to see how every item finds a welcoming home
and brings much joy to people living in Israel.
Thank-you for your concern, your caring, your encouragement, and
support. We need your love to continue.