You're Minus EIGHT MILLION shekels?!


3M = Magic at Lema'an Achai

People often ask me "what makes Lema'an Achai different from other great charitable organizations?" - in short, what makes Lema'an Achai's "Smart Chesed" so Smart?

To begin to answer this question, I have focused on the team of three of our professionals at Lema'an Achai, whose amazing activities give insight into "what makes Lema'an Achai's Smart Chesed not just different, but Unique".

We call them 3MMeir Crandell + Meir Jaffe + Motti Weisner.

Part One...


Minus Eight Million Shekels

Can you imagine the double blow??

First, Mrs R learned that her husband had died, suddenly, at the age of 58.

As the shock set in, Mrs R then learned that her late husband has left behind enormous debts.

A staggering Eight Million Shekels.

And the debts had now been 'inherited' by Mrs R….

To cut a very long story (over twelve months) short… thanks to Meir Jaffe's Citizens Rights Program at Lema'an Achai, Mrs R is now free to rebuild her life, with a clean financial slate. Her Eight Million Shekel debt, was reduced to a very manageable 100 shekels/month.


Meir Jaffe made Aliya from South Africa over 50 years ago, and is a spritely 77 years old. Meir lives on Kibbutz Tzora near Bet Shemesh, and as a pensioner volunteered for five years at Kehilla's Citizens Rights Center in Kibbutz Tamuz (Bet Shemesh). Meir joined Lema'an Achai three years ago, and has helped Ramat Bet Shemesh residents face and overcome numerous obstacles and crises with

· National Insurance,

· Debt & Bankruptcy,

· Legal Aid,

· Housing Subsidies

· City Taxes

· Legal and Para-Legal Advocacy.

"I was looking for an organization which went beyond the band-aid approach, and really helped families as a holistic unit. In my experience, Lema'an Achai is the only organization doing this.

"It is only because I am part of a team, that I am able achieve everything I do to help families at Lema'an Achai."


"50 Shekels Too Much"

Mr F was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition affecting his whole nervous system. He could no longer work, and was adjusting to a new phase – "the rest of your life" – living with this degenerative and incurable condition.

Mr F applied for a Housing Subsidy, which would enable him and his family to continue renting an apartment in Ramat Bet Shemesh. He was dismayed and distressed when the Ministry of Housing sent him a curt rejection letter. There was no way Mr & Mrs F could afford to live in their apartment without this subsidy.

Mr F visited the Lema'an Achai Citizens Rights Center, and showed Meir Jaffe the rejection letter.

"Why have they rejected me, and what can I do now?!" Mr F asked.

Meir got to work, and found out that the reason for the rejection was that Mr J was deemed "too wealthy" to qualify for a Government Housing Subsidy.

"Too wealthy", in Mr F's caser, meant he was 50 shekels a month above the upper income limit. He was therefore not entitled to the 1000 NIS/month housing subsidy.

"It took us twelve months to do it, but we fought and won Mr J's case, and he did obtain the full housing subsidy."

Lema'an Achai also helped the F Family with many issues, including financial counseling, psychological therapy and helping them through the medical system.

Mr F says he is "forever grateful" to Lema'an Achai, which has helped him and his family through so many aspects of dealing with his crippling disease, including Meir Jaffe's specific achievements in obtaining the housing subsidy – enabling the family to keep on living in their apartment.


Meir Jaffe has helped well over 100 families through their struggles with "the system".

"We have a close-to-100% success rate in obtaining our goals with these families. Given the right knowledge of the system, and persistence, we make sure we get "Yes" for an answer. By getting the Government to pay what is due, we save the families tens of thousands of shekels. Why should our donors' tzedaka money be used to pay instead of the Government?!" asks Meir.


Unsmart Chesed

A tzedaka organization was generously helping an impoverished single parent family, discretely transferring 1000 shekels every month into the mother's bank account.

Little did they know that for each shekel which was transferred, she was losing a shekel of her government benefits.

"The rules are absurd", Meir explains. "A shekel for a shekel on donations; and it's 60 agorot deducted for each shekel that she earns. Where's the sense in this? Where's the motive for people to help, or for her to seek out employment and pay for child-care for her kids?"

For this reason, Lema'an Achai is lobbying the Israeli Ministry of Welfare, including direct discussions with Minister Isaac Herzog, to change many aspects of the National Insurance system to better serve the needs of Israel's most needy citizens.


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