Thursday, 21 February 2013
Lema'an Achai: Why We Are So Quiet
As the carnival atmosphere warms up in Ramat Beit Shemesh - you may not have noticed Lema'an Achai's low profile campaign.
Lema'an Achai's modest marketing budget pays for a few banners, posters and tee shirts.
We use plenty of imagination and energy - and you'll surely enjoy this year's TzedakaThon theme for Purim.
But, frankly, Lema'an Achai are not at our best talking ourselves up.
We're better - much better - at helping local families in distress.
Like Mrs Z.
Mrs Z came to Lema'an Achai because she had received an arnona bill of 16,000 NIS.
She is a young widow with kids, and had no way of being able to pay that kind of money.
However, in discussion with Lema'an Achai's team, the rest of Mrs Z's story emerged.
Her late husband, "Moshe", had a sucessful professional career, brought in a nice salary, and had personal wealth and assets.
But Moshe had one problem.
Moshe liked to gamble.
Not only did Moshe's salary go to pay gambling debts, but his business and assets were sold off piece-meal to pay the creditors.
Even that wasn't enough.
Chased by mafiosi creditors, Moshe fled abroad and Mrs Z reluctantly went with him with their kids.
As she saw the same self-destructive behavior playing out there also, Mrs Z separated from Moshe, and brought her children back to Israel.
Moshe died suddenly abroad in tragic circumstances.
So, here was Mrs Z at Lema'an Achai, with her Arnona bill, whose late husband Moshe had accumulated an astounding 15,000,000 NIS in gambling debts, much in Mrs Z's name.
As a side-note, Bituach Leumi didn't recognise Mrs Z as a widow and so refused to pay her family benefits.
Furthermore, aside from the financial and legal chaos, Mrs Z and her children suffered deep emotional scars from their bitter experiences.
I will cut the the long story short - and skip to today.
As a result of Lema'an Achai's intensive intervention, Mrs Z today receives almost 5000 NIS/month in benefits, while paying just 100 NIS in debt repayments.
Mrs Z has completed a professional retraining course, and is now bringing in a salary which pays her family's bills.
Mrs Z and her kids have responded well to therapy, and have a healthy and positive outlook.
As for the arnona bill - we got this slashed from 16,000 NIS, to just 5000 NIS, payable in three installments.
Today, Mrs Z came in to Lema'an Achai with her donation for Matanot Le'evionim.
This Purim - enjoy the carnival atmosphere.
And remember, while the Purim celebrations are noisy in the streets, Lema'an Achai is quietly working in people's homes, saving and empowering families like the Z's - as only Lema'an Achai can do.
Please remember to give your Matanot Le'evionim generously to Lema'an Achai.
The quiet guys.