Lema’an Achai – On the Cutting Edge of Tzedaka and Chesed

This article is published on Tzedek-Tzedek by kind permission of Connections Magazine

How can a tzedaka and chesed organization be "on the cutting edge"?

Around the world, markets are erratic, whole countries are facing bankruptcy, and here in Israel demonstrators are protesting rising costs of basic necessities – housing, food, clothes are all becoming unaffordable, even for salary earners.

Lema'an Achai has felt the impact two-fold. More people have turned to us for help and fewer people have funds to contribute.

Such a financial climate underscores the "Smart Chesed" approach of Lema'an Achai. We have to be able to continue to give assistance on the highest level with less incoming donations.

Smart Chesed's objective goes beyond the temporary fix of hand-outs, by helping to solve problems, balance home budgets, achieve improved employment, and build or rebuild their futures.

For those who have been hit by the recession this holistic program provides the tools to cope with their situation with the hope of a brighter tomorrow.

And for donors, with less maaser to distribute to worthy causes, these limited funds have a huge impact at Lema'an Achai – compared with hand-out organizations.

What are the tools to cope?

Intensive financial counseling, employment evaluation, training and retraining, small business development and therapy will enable people rather than entitle them.

While we firmly believe that "by teaching a man to fish you have fed him for life" we also realize that if you don't feed him while he is learning he is liable to starve.

Hence Lema'an Achai families also receive material aid such as food coupons, weekly fresh food deliveries, free dental care, school books and supplies and critical bill assistance. Lema'an Achai is also proud to announce the Chasdei Chana new baby gemach. This fund, established in memory of Mrs. Chana Steinmetz, A''H, provides needy families with all the needs that a new bundle of joy requires.

The families that Lema'an Achai assists are in constant contact with our practical, experienced and effective social workers who manage their personal situation with the utmost professionalism and the warmest heart.

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth many Pounds of Cure

Smart Chesed is not limited to the families on Lema'an Achai's list. Awareness and education in community at large can often pre-empt financial and other crisis from hitting an otherwise unsuspecting family.

Lema'an Achai provides financial seminars, educational workshops and a Merkaz Zechuyot (Citizen's Rights Office) that are open to anyone and everyone regardless of their financial situation. Additionally Lema'an Achai's free loan fund (gemach) has distributed hundreds of thousands of shekel in interest free loans to "bridge the gap" for Bet Shemesh residents.

The financial seminars provide tools for household budgeting, navigation of the banking system and realistic income needs for a family residing in Israel. Our educational workshops help parents prepare their teens for bagriyut and give a general picture of the Israeli education process. In addition Lema'an Achai, in conjunction with Chesed yair Le'Olam continues to educate local youth about tzedaka and chesed and how they, despite their tender ages, can contribute to their communities.

Lema'an Achai's Citizen's Rights Office has assisted hundreds of families with Bituach Leumi issues, arnona discounts, "hotzaa lapoel", legal aid other government "red tape".
Our Nation Was United Through a Local Tragedy

This April tragedy struck the Viflic family when their beloved son Daniel, Z''L was critically injured by a Hamas rocket that hit the school bus he was riding in the South. Tefilot were organized across the globe for the speedy recovery. The family normally relied on a brisk pre-Pesach business in their food establishment. Their bedside vigil prevented them from tending to their business thus creating a financial burden in addition to the emotional upheaval.

Lema'an Achai was there for them not only to ease the financial burden but also to give support after Daniel's pure neshama returned above.

Remembering A Dear Friend

This month marks the first yartzeit of our dear friend Daniel Gaziel, Z''L. Danny, a dedicated Lema'an Achai volunteer, was an inspiration to all who were privileged to know him. Lema'an Achai has renamed our Ayalay Shlucha medical needs fund to The Danni Gaziel Fund. This fund provides assistance and support to those families who are dealing with a life threatening illness, G-d forbid.

Lema'an Achai Needs YOU!

Lema’an Achai is in a difficult financial situation as more people are turning to us for help while fewer are turning to us to help.

So here are ways you can become a partner is this amazing work:

1. Volunteer! Lema'an Achai can always use people to help us in our programs. Come visit our office and see what we (and you) can accomplish! We are also looking to recruit block captains who will be the Lema'an Achai reps for their streets or neighborhood.

2. DONATE! Smart Donors give to Smart Chesed. Please donate generously this Rosh HaShana/Yom Kippur and also sign up for a regular commitment. Make a horaat kevah or credit card ongoing commitment to
Lema'an Achai. Donations are eligible for an Israeli, US, UK and Canadian tax deductible receipts. Horaat keva of at least 50 NIS per month qualify for the Kehilla card.

3. Sign up for the Lema'an Achai/ Capital One credit card. This card, available to US residents only, is a fee free card with no transaction fee for purchases made internationally. They offer one of the best exchange rates and Lema'an Achai will benefit from each purchase that you make. More details at: http://tinyurl.com/42m2oj2

4. Any other ideas?! If you could help with fundraising ventures, please step forward. We need people to step up to the plate, and help implement these plans, hands-on.

To donate now:
Call our 24/6 Donations Line: 02-99999.33
Or send your check to: Lema'an Achai, 40/7 Nachal Lachish, Bet Shemesh, 99093, Israel.


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