Hunger  in  Israel 

The price of terrorism is more staggering than many people realize.             
Thirty percent of Israel's children are currently living below the poverty line.
Find out about this situation and real ways you can help right now.               
                                                                                                                            

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Find out about poverty in Israel and the costs of terror   Do Something Now
to help feed Israel's
Hungry Children
and their families


Beit-El

 " 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 
chickens.
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 
containers.
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
             Bet El
             P.O.B. 1113
             D.N. Mizrach Benyamin
             90628
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.
Ora Levy
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