Final Ziv Tzedakah Fund Annual Report



Final Ziv Tzedakah Fund Annual Report
Final Report
September, 2008
Founded by Danny Siegel
Summary of Ziv’s Allocations
Total to Date
I. FROM THE FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN: COMMENCEMENT ...........................................................................................................................1
II. POST-ZIV ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................3
A. How to Continue Supporting Our Mitzvah Heroes: .............................................................................................................................4
B. The Future of Ziv’s Innovative Programs ............................................................................................................................................4
1. Mitzvah Heroes Conferences .................................................................................................................................................................4
2. The American Mitzvah Heroes DVD..................................................................................................................................................5
3. The Ziv-Giraffe Curriculum ..................................................................................................................................................................5
III. SPECIAL AGENTS/INDIVIDUAL AND ANONYMOUS SUPPORT .........................................................................................................................5
IV. ISRAEL ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................5
SPECIAL AGENTS/INDIVIDUAL AND ANONYMOUS SUPPORT IN ISRAEL ..................................................................................................5
A. Specially-Featured Heroes and Programs ...............................................................................................................................................6
B. Ziv’s Response to Poverty and Hunger in Israel..................................................................................................................................11
C. Terrorism and Its Aftermath....................................................................................................................................................................14
D. War .............................................................................................................................................................................................................. 16
E. For Kid’s, About Kids, and By Kids.........................................................................................................................................................16
F. Immigrants ...................................................................................................................................................................................................18
G. Our Elders- ............................................................................................................................................................................21
H. Programs Relating to Persons with Disabilities..................................................................................................................................22
I. Other Noteworthy Programs ...................................................................................................................................................................24
V. THE UNITED STATES AND BEYOND .................................................................................................................................................................24
A. Specially-Featured Heroes and Programs. ............................................................................................................................................24
B. Hurricane Katrina ......................................................................................................................................................................................28
C. The First Principle of Tzedakah: Providing for Near-Poor, Poor, and Desperately Poor People............................................29
D. Three Grassroots Tzedakah Funds ........................................................................................................................................................32
E. -Bal Tashchit — Preventing Waste......................................................................................................................................33
F. The Aftermath of the -Shoah, Holocaust......................................................................................................................................35
G. For Kids, About Kids, and By Kids .........................................................................................................................................................36
H. Our Elders- ............................................................................................................................................................................37
I. -Refuah Shelaymah: Recovery from Illness ...................................................................................................................39
J. Global Tikkun Olam...................................................................................................................................................................................41
K. Programs Relating to Persons with Disabilities ..................................................................................................................................42
L. Other Noteworthy Programs ...................................................................................................................................................................43
A. Naomi Eisenberger — Ziv’s Managing Director.................................................................................................................................45
B. Arnie Draiman — Ziv’s Representative in Israel.................................................................................................................................45
C. Ziv’s Board of Directors.............................................................................................................................................................................46
D Amee Huppin Sherer, Chavayrat Ziv-, Ziv Fellow ................................................................................................................46
E. Ziv Summer Interns....................................................................................................................................................................................46
VII. A MESSAGE FROM THE MANAGING DIRECTOR ..............................................................................................................................................47
VIII. A MESSAGE FROM ZIV’S REPRESENTATIVE IN ISRAEL ...................................................................................................................................47
IX. A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAVAYRAT ZIV -, ZIV FELLOW .............................................................................................................48
X. CONCLUDING WORDS FROM THE CHAIRPERSON: COMMENCEMENT. ......................................................................................................48
XI. ZIV’S FINANCIAL STATEMENT ............................................................................................................................................................................51
XII. INDEX OF MITZVAH HEROES AND PROGRAMS ...............................................................................................................................................52
Again, commencement:
1. Of paramount importance: The total amount
donated by Ziv to a specific program is not in any way a
value judgment about that Mitzvah hero or specific
program itself in relation to other programs. Amounts
can be affected by (a) money in the Ziv account at a
particular moment, (b) a program’s other financial
resources, (c) late-breaking needs, and/or (d) donorrecommended contributions. Large amounts that Ziv
School life had a certain regularity to it. English
class was Wednesday at 10:00, history that afternoon at
3:00. Even looking to the next semester, no matter what
the next step was, we knew on what day and where a
course would begin, and to which new area of All of
Knowledge we would be exposed.
And there was familiarity, so that by six weeks
into the term, you could close your eyes and walk to the
room with the appropriate books ready for reference.
School life was comfortable because it was regular and
familiar. We had our favorite hang-outs, to get away
from academics for a stretch of time, to relax, and to
shoot the bull with friends. Even with all the stress of
outrageously difficult assignments, required courses, and
exams, still, in all, it was comfortable and safe. And
whether it was three years of high school or four years of
college — except for the time near the end when
Decisions with a capital “D” had to be made — it was a
good place to be. But then it ends. Graduates may
experience a feeling of being abandoned. The end is a
poignant, unsettling moment, simultaneously happy and
sad. During the past few months, many people expressed
similar emotions to me about Ziv.
has contributed to certain Mitzvah heroes, such as to
A Package From Home and The Forgotten People
Fund, usually represent a high percentage of donorrecommended funds. Finally, (e) frequently, the final
sum any Mitzvah hero received may not necessarily
reflect a single grant. More likely it is the result of
several checks issued over the course of the year. In
every instance, as more money comes in, we give it away.
2. Programs that we have begun to work with
this year have an asterisk (*).
3. Several people participated in writing this
report. Their initials appear at the end of each section:
myself (DS), Naomi Eisenberger (NKE), Arnie Draiman
(AJD), Rena Draiman (RD), Amee Huppin Sherer (AHS),
Michael Sherer (MJS), Sharon Halper (SH), Rabbi Neal
Gold (RNG). Minna Heilpern (MH), and Merrill Alpert
It would appear, then, that one purpose of a
commencement speech is to soothe jangled nerves, and to
give direction to these ambivalent feelings and disparate
thoughts. The words are meant to encourage, to remind
the graduates that they have been trained and equipped
for the glorious task ahead, despite all the hazy
uncertainties. They should go forth exhilarated, and with
the will and confidence to succeed. Even more — to
exceed all expectations. So be it in the post-Ziv era. (DS)
4. In most cases where we have included direct
quotes from a particular program, we have changed the
names of people referred to in the text.
5. Terminology: Some of the Hebrew words in
the Report have many meanings. These are frequentlyused terms: -Tzedakah, performing Acts of Justice,
Doing the Right Thing; -Mitzvah, generally “a
commandment”, in the Ziv Report, usually “a good
deed”; -Tzaddik/-Tzadeket, a Good, a
Righteous Person; -Tikkun Olam, Fixing the
World, and-Kavod, Dignity.
The following information may be of use to you
for the future:
263 Congressional Lane, #708 • Rockville, MD 20852
Phone: 301-468-0060
384 Wyoming Ave. • Millburn, NJ 07041 • Phone: 973-763-9396
Fax: 973-275-0346 • E-mail: [email protected]
Danny Siegel • Dr. Gordon Gondos • Glenn Easton • Arleen Sternfeld
Rabbi Marc Sternfeld • Rabbi Neal Gold • Darryl Rotman Kuperstock
66 Yitzhak Nissim St., Apt. 3, Har Homa • Jerusalem, Israel • Phone: 011-972-2-673-6776
Cellphone: 011-972-50-515-6776 • E-mail: [email protected]
IRS tax-exempt #52-1219427
U.S., (4) Ziv Fellows, (5) the DVD of eight of our
Mitzvah heroes in Israel, (6) the DVD of 10 of our
American Mitzvah heroes, and (7) the Ziv-Giraffe
Curriculum. All of these are described below or in other
sections of this Report. I would hope that #1-4 will
continue under other auspices, and that #5-7 will be used
to help students of Tzedakah, Mitzvahs, and Tikkun
Olam achieve even greater goals in their own lives.
When the decision was made to end Ziv’s
operations, two issues were of ultimate concern: (1) To
assure our Mitzvah heroes that, to the best of our ability,
support for their Tikkun Olam efforts would continue
through other means, and (2) to provide our donors and
friends with information about
The Good People Fund, Inc.
alternatives that they could use to
Naomi Eisenberger, Exec.Dir.
provide that support. Listed in the
Erik Lindauer, Chairman
box on this page and on the Ziv
384 Wyoming Avenue
Millburn, New Jersey 07041
[email protected]
organizations we can suggest that
you consider for your Tzedakah
501 (c)(3) pending
Please note that none of the
Nevertheless, each has demonstrated
its dedication to Ziv’s vision,
standards. We will include both
non-profit organizations that have
already been functioning for several
years, as well as ones that have been
established more recently.
Before sending funds to any
of these organizations, you must
check with their websites for
information about their recent
activities to make sure that what you
want to be doing is supported by
their activities. Only then, contact
them personally to discuss the use of
your Tzedakah contribution.
You may, of course, contact
the various Mitzvah heroes’
programs directly for ways to
contribute. As has been our custom
since the beginning, all contact
information is listed in brackets at
the end of each section in this
Mitzvah Heroes Fund, Inc.
Steve Kerbel, Co-Founder
Bill Begal, Co-Founder
Arnie Draiman, Manager of Israel Programs
12300 Carroll Avenue, Upper Level
Rockville, MD 20852
[email protected]
(301) 335-8646
501 (c)(3) pending
Hands on Tzedakah, Inc.
Ronald A. Gallatin, Chairman
Rose Robinson, President
2255 Glades Road
Suite 324A, PMB#1114
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
[email protected]
(561) 883-2293
501 (c)(3)
Judy Zweiback, Administrator
8914 Farnam Court
Omaha, NE 68114
[email protected]
(402) 397-1975
501 (c)(3)
from one to four people, the sevenweek summer Internship program
has existed since almost the first
time I began working with the
United Synagogue Youth Israel
Pilgrimage in 1976.
In all,
approximately 40 people have served
as Interns. HeroIsrael: More than
100 people participated in our six
trips. The last two trips were
designed specifically for Jewish
educators. Fellows: Merrill Alpert,
accompanied by her daughter, Adina,
served in Israel, from late summer
2003 to June 2004. Amee Huppin
Sherer, along with her husband and
Fellowship at the end of June.
All of these programs’
participants have gained a deeper
understanding of Ziv’s central focus:
Mitzvah heroes and their unique
ways of doing Tikkun Olam. In
their own way, many of them will
teach Ziv’s message long into the
future. Hopefully, with their help,
these programs will continue in
some fashion with or without my
personal involvement. (DS)
Our final Mitzvah hero
conference was held in late October
at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland,
Massachusetts. The location was a
natural choice: Shir Tikvah’s rabbi
is  -my
teacher, friend, and student, Neal
Gold, who served as a Ziv Intern
501 (c)(3)
during the summers of 1994-1996.
Several of our Mitzvah heroes were
brought in to tell their story, explain their vision of
Tikkun Olam, and to encourage the members of the
audience to enhance their own Tikkun Olam efforts.
Tzedakah Fund, Inc.
(supports projects in Israel only)
Robert S. Segelbaum, Treasurer
POB 9806
Phoenix, AZ 85068
[email protected]
(602) 908-8007
(inquire by e-mail)
During Ziv’s long history,
we developed several programs and educational materials
that will assure us that Ziv’s message and methods will
be communicated with the same enthusiasm and vigor as
when Ziv was active: (1) Israel summer Internships, (2)
HeroIsrael trips enabling personal encounters with the
Mitzvah heroes, (3) Mitzvah heroes conferences in the
Our conferences are always informative,
stimulating, thought-provoking, exhilarating, and most
definitely intense. The combination of the Mitzvah
heroes’ enthusiasm and the variety of Mitzvah work they
do is inspiring. They are not the “standard” highpowered motivational speakers. Actually, some speak
very softly and their presentations are often very lowkey. Nevertheless, the force of their personalities,
dedication to their Tikkun Olam programs, and
incredibly fine-tuned sensitivities which they actualize in
Mitzvahs leaves an indelible impression on all who meet
them and hear them speak. For many years we have
explained that Mitzvah heroes are teachers.
conference is an ideal setting for the attendees to learn
from them and to put what they learned into action.
Orders for the curriculum should now be sent to
Rabbi Steven Bayar, author of this groundbreaking
educational material. Contact him at Ikkar Publishing,
43 Haran Circle, Millburn, NJ, 07041, 973-715-3059,
[email protected] Rabbi Bayar is also available
to conduct training seminars for faculty and staff of
afternoon schools, day schools, and other institutions and
organizations that want to integrate the material into
their curriculum. (DS)
We wish Shir Tikva and Rabbi Gold a Yasher
Koach for their efforts to manage all of the logistics and
to help make it such a remarkable event. Clearly, a
Mitzvah heroes conference can be organized and
sponsored by any community agency. A synagogue, JCC,
Jewish day school, or Federation could do it. Organizing
such a program is like putting together any other
conference — pure logistics — except that the “topic” is
the critical element of Mitzvah heroes and their work to
change the world.
Reviewing this aspect of Ziv's work, Special
Agents/Individual and Anonymous Support, we are
struck by just how many ways we have been able to step
in quickly and resolve a critical situation, and, as a result,
restore someone's life. As stated in previous years, there
is no aspect of our work that has grown as rapidly and as
significantly. Special Agents are our eyes and ears on the
front-lines in both the United States and in Israel.
Though more time consuming than anything else we do,
these situations require a quick response, compassion
and, because of the generosity of our donors, the available
funds that allow us to respond.
I recommend three sources of Mitzvah heroes as
possible speakers: (1) Ziv’s list, (2) The Giraffe Project, (Giraffes are people who stick their
necks out in their Tikkun Olam work), and (3) The
Caring Institute, which annually honors some of the real
giants of Tikkun Olam, both adults and young people: (DS)
Some examples of our Special Agents activities in
the United States this year include: (1) purchasing an
orthopedic desk chair which allowed someone with
serious back issues to work, (2) paying utility bills for
someone who was working but had fallen behind due to a
car accident, (3) helping with rent and some utilities for
someone under-employed and temporarily behind in bills,
and (4) and helping with mortgage payments which kept
someone from losing the family’s home.
At last, it’s a wrap! The U.S. version of the Ziv
Mitzvah Heroes DVD has finally been edited and is now
being prepared for distribution. For those of you who
have seen Where Heaven and Earth Touch: The Movie,
which features many of our Israel-based programs and
heroes, you know just how powerful these short
segments can be. The new U.S. DVD features ten
Mitzvah heroes, each as inspiring as the next. Einat
Kapach, our award-winning documentarian, traveled
coast-to-coast over the course of several weeks, shooting
hours and hours of footage. While on the East Coast,
Einat was assisted by Zohar Rom, who offered his
considerable skills to facilitate the work. We are
incredibly grateful to both of these artists for the part
that they played in bringing our dream to reality. We are
also grateful to the Mitzvah heroes featured who allowed
Einat and the camera crew into their busy lives during
the two days of filming. We know that anyone watching
this DVD will be touched by everything that they see.
Additional descriptions of this crucial aspect of
our work will be found under the headings: Agents in
Israel, War, Terrorism, Shoah Survivors, and
Righteous Gentiles. (NKE)
A brief reminder: When Danny started giving
out Tzedakah money in 1975 — the “pre-Ziv era” — one
of his guiding principles was to distribute it via
trustworthy people doing good work, and doing it in a
most efficient and effective manner.
Most of the funds for this project were donated
by the family of the late Paul Coutenye. Paul’s family felt
that his life emulated in many ways the lives of so many
of our Mitzvah heroes and wished to remember his life in
this meaningful way. We hope that they are pleased with
the film. (NKE)
There were always two categories of people:
Mitzvah heroes and special agents. Mitzvah heroes
tended to be those individuals who were more public in
second mother to many injured soldiers, and a sister to
their mothers. When her own son was in the hospital for
over a year, she saw very quickly that soldiers from
families in need had so many other things to deal with,
that it interfered severely with their recuperation. She
took it upon herself to start to help them. “Little” things,
like a mini-fridge next to their bed for their long-term
stay — so that visiting family wouldn't have to buy food
at the expensive hospital cafeteria — or a mini-DVD
player so that the soldier would have a way to deal with
the long hours of boredom. But more than that, Channa
helps the families in need with transportation, babysitting
so that the wife can visit her injured husband, birthday
parties for the kids, and more.
their work and more often than not had created a nonprofit organization as well. The Special Agents tended to
be individuals who did things quietly, perhaps only on an
occasional basis, and who worked directly with a handful
of people in need. One could comfortably state that they
are Mitzvah heroes as well. And they are; Danny would
not disagree. But for the Annual Report, the title “special
agents” stuck.
I work very closely with our special agents in
Israel. They are the backbone of the most direct, most
efficient, and most effective Tzedakah work that I have
ever seen. I recently decided to Google, “What does it
take to be a special agent?” Not surprisingly, the first
result was for the FBI. Basically, it seems fairly simple
and the qualifications revolve around age, location, health
and education. Interestingly, to be a Ziv Special Agent,
none of the above are relevant. We work with people of
all ages (from pre-teens to nonagenarians), throughout
Israel and the rest of the world, in good or failing health,
and with any educational background.
One more example: Tzvika Levy is a retired IDF
officer who volunteers to help soldiers in need, including
-chayalim bodedim, soldiers without family in
the country. He generally concentrates on larger
purchases – for example, a full-size refrigerator and
washing machine for an apartment where four or more
off-duty soldiers live together.
Some examples of our agents include social
workers and hospital workers. I am very careful to be
certain that the agent is someone who understands what
we do — and what we do not do.
And one other category is when a Mitzvah hero
also acts as a Special Agent. Many of our Mitzvah heroes,
besides the wonderful Mitzvahs they do through their
own non-profit organization, also do additional Mitzvahs
“on the side”! They have been extremely helpful
facilitating our desire to reach specific individuals and
One example: Being in a hospital is usually
sufficiently depressing and not much fun. Couple that
with someone who is in the lower socio-economic level to
begin with, and we see something bad that has gotten
Amalia Oren (head of the Social Work
Department at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Hospital), is on
the front lines. She and her dedicated team of social
workers know which patients have medical needs and
which ones have the additional burdens of “everyday life”.
Whether transportation to and from the hospital, special
medicines, grocery store scrip or a host of other items,
Ziv has been there to make sure that Amalia and her team
can do their work. After all, as we all know, it is very
hard to talk to people about their medical issues, if they
are worrying about their next meal or how to pay their
electric bill.
Our Special Agents usually spend the Tzedakah
money a little at a time – using it so judiciously that I
often have to push them to spend, reassuring them that
more will be available.
Yasher Koach to all of our Special Agents, past
and present. You are one of the foundations on which Ziv
was built. (AJD)
And another: Harel Moyal, auto mechanic on
weekdays, gabbai (sexton) of his synagogue on Shabbat
and Holidays. A finer human being is hard to find. Harel
has gone through a difficult time himself recently, but
despite this, continues his never-ending work on behalf of
Jerusalem's people in need. The week before his son's Bar
Mitzvah, Harel's house was broken into. The thieves took
everything and left behind a huge mess. This is not what
the family needed the week of a major Simcha. And yet,
that Thursday night, Harel was up late – not cleaning up
the mess at home, but, with the blessing of his wife, he
was out shlepping food packages and other items to
people in need.
The Rabbanit Bracha Kapach has been helping
people her entire life. Her earliest memory is from about
the age of six, when her mother would take her through
their home town of Sa'ana in Yemen to secretly leave
food packages for poor people. She still vividly
remembers how they would bring eggs, butter, and flour,
burying a bit of money deep in the flour sack. They
would leave the package at the door, and quickly run
away, so they would not embarrass the recipients. The
Rabbanit came from a well to do family, and her father
insisted that their home be open to anyone in need. By
the time she married Rav Yoseph Kapach, when she was
just 11 (and he 14), the values of Tzedakah, Chessed and
Gemilut Chassadim she learned in her parents' home
were the foundations on which she began to build her
own. She named her non-profit organization
Another example: Channa Greenwald, works in
the billing department of the Israel Electric Corporation,
but due to a very personal incident, she has become a
-Keren Segulat Naomi, in honor of Naomi,
stayed home doing nothing all summer. For almost 40
years she has run a used clothing distribution, first from
her storage room, and later from an apartment donated
to her by the Yemenite Council. For more than 40 years
she has helped people make Bar Mitzvah celebrations and
weddings, pulling together donated food, flowers,
volunteer musicians and videographers in the courtyard
of that apartment. Her bridal gown collection is famous.
And for more than 40 years, she has been distributing food
for Passover, her most famous project. More than 5,000
food packages were distributed last year, feeding more
than 25,000 people. Impressively, all the funding for this
$125,000 annual project came from private donors.
her mother, who gave her life and taught her how to live
it. The image of that small girl distributing food is now
embodied in a small woman in her 80's, whose door is
open to anyone in need, and whose warmth and love
leave a lasting impression on all who meet her.
I met the Rabbanit for the first time almost nine
years ago. I had made aliya only the day before, and my
friend Arnie took me to get a Bracha to begin my aliya on
the right foot. Although her doorbell rang nonstop, she
found time to have us sit down, serve coffee, and tell me
her story. I fell in love twice that day, and have visited
her almost every Friday since. I have seen first hand the
throngs of people who come to her door, each with his or
her own sorrowful story, each receiving a food package
and a bit of advice. I have been present for a myriad of
groups that come to meet her, including Israeli Bat
Mitzvah girls, Israeli teachers, American students and
adult tour groups. After hearing her story a thousand
times, I am always pleasantly surprised by new details
she may add in the re-telling.
“Hashem Ya'azor-‘, G-d will help”, is her
attitude when it comes to raising money. Her personal
magnetism and leadership qualities attract throngs of
volunteers, which keeps her overhead extremely low. Any
one of her projects would make her a Mitzvah Hero. It is
almost dizzying to think of the range of projects she has
single-handedly initiated. But each one began with an
individual in need. It is certainly a lesson for all of us.
“See how wondrously G-d works”, she explains.
She ran a successful embroidery business, employing 50
Yemenite woman, immigrants like herself. “No sooner
had the Rav finished his Certification and was appointed
to the Rabbinical courts, when I received my real work”.
She describes how she heard the cries for help of a
neglected old woman. She went to the woman's
apartment, bathed her and fed her, and took care of her
daily until the woman died a few years later. Another old
couple followed, and so began a reputation that reached
even the media. She slowly found her employees work
and devoted herself full time to people in need. Over the
years, she developed 70 different classes serving the
many immigrants in her community, from literacy classes
for women, to Bible classes. (She still teaches a Shabbat
class in a nearby synagogue.) She even set up swimming
lessons for harried mothers who just needed some time to
relax. (She still swims 2-3 times a week.) She organized
subsidized trips within Israel and abroad. She was
appointed as a Good Will Ambassador for the State of
Israel and traveled to 22 countries. She organized groups
of women to knit socks and hats for soldiers following the
Six Day War. The Army has honored her. Many
organizations have honored her, and Israel itself has
honored her. Among many awards that adorn her
kitchen wall, the one that means the most to her is the
prestigious Israel Prize, the highest honor bestowed upon
a civilian. She has met with kings and vagabonds, and has
impressed them all.
These days I take Arnie and my kids with me to
visit her. They call her “-Dodah, Auntie”, and it
gives me untold happiness to see them playing at her feet
and eating the treats she hands them, hearing her answer
“Amen” to their proud Brachot. I hope the memories of
seeing her helping others will stay with them forever.
The next time you are in Israel make a bit of time to meet
this unforgettable woman yourself, and take home your
own lasting impression along you’re≥ your suntan. (RD)
[The Rabbanit Bracha Kapach-, Keren Segulat Naomi, 12
Lod St., Jerusalem, 02-624-9296.]
Avshalom Beni is a genius. But being a genius is
not how he would describe himself. Nor would you know
it if you observed him and the work he does just in
passing. Instead, you would see a very casually-dressed
person, apparently just playing with a yard full of dogs
and cats.
Avshalom started HAMA because of his passion
in two areas: assisting people through psychology and
his deep love for and sincere understanding of animals.
The combination of the two led to one of the world’s
most advanced animal-assisted therapy (AAT) programs,
(ISRAEL) Humans and Animals in Mutual Assistance.
Avshalom's genius allows him to go further into the
depths of psychology via the dog or the cat as cotherapists than one might imagine.
“HaShem-‘, give me the strength to help your
children”, she often cries out.
Here are two examples of Avshalom's unique
work with cats and dogs acting as his co-therapists: (1)
Using “simple” activities, he creates an atmosphere ripe
for healing. For example, having a woman who has been
abused or attacked take a Newfoundland (a very large
For more than 40 years The Rabbanit has run a
subsidized summer camp. This was her response to the
tears of one small boy crying the first day of school.
Through his tears, he told the Rabbanit that he had
dog) for a walk. The dog weighs more than she does, but
Avshalom teaches her to be in control of both the dog
and her environment. (2) Often there are sudden
psychological breakthroughs. Once, while giving an
introduction to a set of parents, one of his cats, though
well trained relieved himself on Avshalom's lap. One of
the parents jumped up to help clean up the mess, all the
time yelling at the cat. For Avshalom, the parent was
revealing how he had been dealing poorly with his own
child who had been having issues with toilet training.
Even something as undramatic as washing or grooming
one of the animals can lead to such important steps
towards repairing stressful or broken relationships.
As Anita has proven, just about anyone can
benefit from this therapy. One of the basic principles of
therapeutic riding is that the horse is an animal whose
stride most closely approximates that of a human being.
If you put someone who is disabled atop a horse, those
movements will stimulate muscles and nerves normally
unaffected by traditional therapy. The results are often
miraculous. On more than one occasion we have seen
people arrive in a wheelchair and leave walking. For
people whose disability is less physical and more
emotional or cognitive, the interaction between human
and animal provides astounding results.
Project Shleymut-, “becoming whole again”,
the rehabilitation program for injured soldiers from the
summer, 2006, War in Lebanon continues to support
soldiers in twice-weekly lessons. The initiative for Project
Shleymut came from the Ministry of Defense, which
approached Anita about providing a sports rehabilitation
program for soldiers with varying degrees of disability,
including those with post traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD). Anita's expertise with injured soldiers,
particularly those with head trauma, is widely
recognized. In fact, because of her towering stature in
this specialized area, people from all over the world —
head trauma victims and their relatives, and prominent
leaders in the field of therapeutic riding — frequently
come to Anita to learn from her and to be trained by her.
Avshalom's work is now the subject of academic
research by Israel's top scholars. But most of all,
Avshalom is working with people in need – population
groups within the lower socio-economic strata of Israeli
society with whom others have not been successful:
schizophrenic Holocaust survivors, abused children,
children and teens with ADD and ADHD (attention
deficit disorders), abusive parents including those who
have been in jail and/or ordered by the courts to stay
away from their children, and more.
HAMA succeeds because Avshalom stays true to
his mission. Ziv's involvement includes funding for food
for the animals, rental assistance, insurance for the van,
medication for the animals, rehabilitation assistance for
the patients, and a special hearing aid for an eighty-yearold Holocaust survivor who has rediscovered his speech.
Most importantly, ZIV has supported a crucial HAMA
principle, namely, that each and every one of its staff from
driver to director, its patients, and its animal assistants is
a creation of value. Each one understands hardship, has
experienced it first hand, and is dedicated to helping
others in need, human and animal alike, to overcome the
challenges of terror, illness, and bereavement. (AJD)
How fortunate Ziv has been all these years to be
counted among Anita’s students. We wish her a Yasher
Koach for her past accomplishments. For the future, may
she be blessed with an increasing number of individuals
(1) who will recognize her unique contribution to the
rehabilitation and wellbeing of others, (2) who will
become her students, proactively spreading her teaching
far and wide, and (3) who will support her work in every
possible way. (MH)
[-HAMA (ISRAEL)-Humans
Recently, Friends of INTRA Inc. has been
established in the U.S. They are already accepting
donations and have applied for 501 (c)(3) status.
and Animals in Mutual Assistance, Avshalom Beni, Program Director,
[email protected], Avshalom’s wife, Pam: 04-636-9443, 050-7619452,]
[INTRA-Israel National Therapeutic Riding AssociationMitzvah Horses, Anita and Giora Shkedi, Hadassah Neurim, Hadassah
Village, 40298, Israel, Giora's cellphone: 054-464-5886 Anita's cellphone:
054-720-5886, the phone at Hadassah Center: 09-866-6305,
[email protected], Contributions in the U.S.: Friends of
INTRA Inc. c/o Barbara S. Goldberg, 15 Inningwood Road, Ossining, NY
[email protected]
[email protected]]
The inspirational work of the staff and the
Mitzvah Horses at INTRA, The Israel National
Therapeutic Riding Association, continues to have
profound impact upon the lives of the people who come to
the Center for therapeutic riding lessons. Directed by the
founders, Anita and Giora Shkedi, INTRA provides the
riders, adults and children who have a range of physical,
emotional and cognitive problems, with the chance to
heal physically and emotionally while experiencing
moments of joy and accomplishment. It is truly an
awesome thing to witness these moments of sublime
connection between horse and rider.
BAYIT CHAM-($21,900)
Bayit Cham’s program is based on an idea that is
at once profoundly insightful and incredibly simple:
Match individuals who are suffering from severe mental
and emotional distress and find them employment in the
“real” marketplace. The details: (1) Various certified
agencies, from both the governmental and the non-profit
sector, refer the individuals to Bayit Cham. (2) The range
of infirmities is very wide — those who have been
[Bayit Cham, Arie Munk, Director General, 13 Rabbi Yishmael St., B’nai
B’rak, 51553, Israel, 03-677-8513. [email protected],]
disconnected from reality, living in utter confusion, and,
in some instances, knowing no reason to go on living,
suicidal. (3) Some come from their own homes, others
from hostels and group settings, and still others from the
hospitals where they receive supervised treatment. (4)
Since Bayit Cham was founded in 1997, approximately
2,200 individuals have been placed in jobs that match
their needs, followed closely in their progress, and
astonishing therapeutic results documented. Significant
numbers of Bayit Cham’s people have experienced
rehabilitation that is nothing short of miraculous.
5. HADASSAH LEVI ($6,750)
Many people who have met Hadassah Levi
immediately recognize that they are in the presence of an
individual who can best be described as “awesome”. By
chance, by serendipity, or by Divine direction — choose
whichever explanation you prefer — I was privileged to
meet her on my very first Tzedakah venture in 1975, and
we have remained close ever since. Here, adapted from
previous Ziv Annual Reports, is the background about
her work:
The “secret”: (1) It’s really no secret, my
teachers-, Shmuel Munk and Yoram
Mordechai, the founders of Bayit Cham, are the moving
forces behind this extraordinary program. I believe
Shmuel describes Bayit Cham‘s vision best when he says,
“I only work with healthy people.” By this he means that
people have within themselves a place, an inner positive
vigor that just needs to be uncovered and then become
the basis for renewed health, hope, and a second chance at
Life. (2) The two of them are not merely good-hearted
people, nor are they amateurs dabbling in a very
precarious area of human existence and therapy. (3) They
bring years of experience and a profound understanding
of human nature. This is why I refer to them as “Mitzvah
heroes". You really have to meet these two great Jews.
There is a certain aura you sense when you meet Shmuel
Munk. The same is true when you meet Yoram
Mordechai. So much the more so you may have a feeling
of something sublime when you encounter both of them
together, these partners in awe-inspiring Tikkun Olam.
(4) Crucial to Bayit Cham’s success — Shmuel and
Yoram have surrounded themselves with carefully handpicked staff members whose abilities are suited to this
very specialized group of individuals. A few years back,
Shmuel’s son, Arie, was brought in to manage the
operations. More than a manager, of course, his job
description, as I would put it, is “to actualize the vision”.
Hadassah was the founder of -Ma’on
LaTinok, a warm, happy home where more than 40 infants
with Down Syndrome, abandoned by their families, came to
live. (The youngest was actually three days old when she came
under Hadassah’s care.) In those days, some “retarded”
children were given up and left to be raised by the State. She
knew these babies because she, herself, had been in the hospital
for months, and as she began to regain her strength, she would
visit the children’s ward. It was at that point that she just
knew she had to do something, and when she was well enough
to go home, she knew exactly what it was that she had to do.
She gathered them and raised them. It was in Ma’on LaTinok
that Hadassah provided them with everything that children
need to flourish and grow. No naïve do-gooder, she developed
many methods of care that were truly revolutionary (including
special diets), hired the best of best assistants, and worked
tirelessly to provide for their special needs.
Testament to the love and care which she provided is
the fact that Hadassah’s “kids” are now adults and, as we have
shared in past reports, many are employed in regular jobs
ranging from work in local cafés, gardening, and even various
jobs in the Knesset!
We wish Hadassah two things: (1) That she
should have many years of good health, and (2) that a
steady stream of individuals will contact her, meet her,
and learn from her the knowledge she has gained over
the decades that would benefit so many others in need of
her wisdom. In her field of Tikkun Olam, there really is
no one quite like her, and it is a privilege to continue to
be among her -students. (DS)
Mental illness is now beginning to come “out of
the closet” in Israel. Bayit Cham’s women’s conference
last year was attended by 1,000 people who had come
from all over the country. The expert, high-level
sessions brought out a growing awareness of the
presence and reality of severe mental and emotional
problems. Most of all, there was a positive response to do
something instead of hiding or suffering in silence.
Subsequently, Bayit Cham expanded its hotline
dramatically and increased its services to whatever extent
was within its means.
[Hadassah Levi, POB 39, 44852, Ma’alay Shomron, Israel, 09-792-9265,
cellphone: 054-792-9269.]
And there was recent wonderful news: In March,
Bayit Cham opened a new employment office in
This will afford many others greatly
increased opportunities to become well integrated into
the work force, and, as a result, on the way towards
recovery. We feel privileged that $13,000 of our
donation this year helped furnish this new facility. (DS)
Phyllis Heimowitz specializes in healing broken
hearts. She, along with her daughter Tamar, founded this
amuta (non-profit organization) in 1998 in response to a
very stark, personal reality: They were witness to the
anguish of Phyllis’s other daughter, Michal. Michal’s
fiancé, 22-year-old Lt. Avi Book, , was killed in
southern Lebanon while serving in the Israel Defense
Forces (IDF). At that time, there were no support
groups in place for a girlfriend. You only received
emotional support from the Ministry of Defense if you
were a wife or family member. Phyllis realized that this
needed to change, and so she focused her efforts on
finding ways to close this gap in the army’s services.
When the Defense Ministry initially turned her down,
she kept pursuing different avenues, until finally the IDF
agreed to provide someone trained to run the support
group — provided that Phyllis register her proposed
program as a non-profit organization. She did, and now
the free, year-long support groups (composed of a
maximum of 10 in each group), meet weekly.
have done it without Tamar’s help. And she will tell you
all about Rina, whom she describes as a “Holy Person”. If
you ask me, it takes one to know one. (AHS)
[-The Non-Profit Organization
[Amuta] for Emotional Support of Girlfriends (Fiancées) of Fallen Soldiers
of the Israel Defense Forces, Phyllis Heimowitz, 6 HaHavatzelet St., Kiryat
Ono, Israel, 03-534-7860, [email protected],]
7. A PACKAGE FROM HOME ($197,461.55)
Barbara Silverman is a grandma who “gets”
taking care of people as grandmas know how to do. She
understands that if you are cold, you need warm clothes,
and that if you are hungry, you need to eat. So, in
addition to taking loving care of her own children and
grandchildren, Barbara has taken on the Israeli army.
I’m not kidding. Her care packages to the chayalim bodedim, soldiers with no family in Israel are
legendary. And she makes sure that wounded soldiers in
long-term care have also become part of her Mitzvahprogram.
Rina Kahan joined their efforts a few years later
when she saw a segment about the amuta on TV on
-Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day.
She immediately called Phyllis and told her about losing
her own boyfriend in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Rina
understood that this pain never quite goes away, and now
Phyllis, Tamar, and Rina together have helped more than
250 bereaved girlfriends (and occasionally boyfriends
whose girlfriends have died while serving in the IDF).
The girlfriends and fiancées range in age from 16 to 29.
They are young. They are innocent. And they have
suffered great loss.
Barbara understands how important it is to lift
their spirits. As a result, each care package includes
letters written by adults and children throughout the
world offering thanks and encouragement to the soldiers
for protecting Israel. My own students at the Seattle
Jewish Community School have been writing these
letters for a few years now. It’s a great, easy Mitzvah
station to have at your local Purim carnival, Chanukkah
celebration, or even when you are teaching a letterwriting unit. Make sure that the children (or teenagers,
or young adults) add color and/or drawings to the letters
– the soldiers love that – and they will almost always end
up in the shirt pocket of the soldier who receives it.
One of the ways that these young women can
heal is by telling their story to others. This spring, two of
the girlfriends spoke to a group of 15- and 16-year-olds
that I helped organize. One of them eloquently said that
she was there not to talk so much about loss and tears,
but to speak about first love. You can only imagine how
these teenagers were able to relate to her. At some point
in their lives, they have had, or will have, their first love.
It doesn’t matter how old you are – you can remember
your first love, or you can wonder who he or she will be if
you have not yet met that special person. And then,
imagining the worst-case scenario that these young girls
have lived through is nearly impossible for most of us.
They tell us that Phyllis is often the first person who
acknowledges that something awful has happened to
them. They have finally heard the words that no one else
has yet dared to utter. Someone now truly understands
and has validated their unique pain. And then, through
the therapy groups, at last they can begin the process of
becoming whole again.
Barbara’s packages include all sorts of supplies
that are not easily obtained by the soldiers: extra new
underwear and socks, a bath towel, and assorted travelsize toiletries. (Think about that the next time you are
staying in a hotel and don’t know what to do with the
shampoo or soap you didn’t use.) And what would a care
package be without candy, snacks, and chocolate? The
winter packages even include a fleece jacket, hat, gloves,
and sometimes a neck warmer. Most of these supplies
are purchased here in Israel with donations, in order to
support the Israeli economy as well, but they are always
willing (and delighted!) to accept donations of Kosher
candy like m&m’s® (snack-size only), deodorant, lip balm,
travel-size toothpaste and toothbrushes, and other items
updated and listed regularly on the website. If you know
someone who is coming to Israel, or are planning a trip
yourself, leave a little room in your suitcase – or better
yet, fill up an empty one — and contact Barbara or her
assistant, Shira Gilor, to find out what they most need at
that time. Who doesn’t like to do a little Mitzvah
Phyllis, Tamar, and Rina are currently working
on ways to provide special funding to help the bereaved
girlfriends memorialize their beloved fallen. This is most
definitely another important step in the healing process.
To sit with one of the girlfriends, wherever she
might be along her road to healing, you can literally feel
your heart fill with such deep emotion that you can
hardly breathe. And to sit with Phyllis is another unique
experience. She will tell you her story of how the amuta
came to be. And she will tell you how she could never
A Package From Home has already distributed
more than 131,000 packages since Barbara began eight
poor hungry people. I know that there are poor hungry
people in Israel. After all, I read the same newspapers
that you do, and I see the same statistics that you do.
But, I feel it is important to state at the outset that, while
there are hungry people in Israel, the country itself has
sufficient food to feed everyone. Elsewhere in this report
you can read about Joseph Gitler and his Table to Table
project, or Moshe Kot and his Lev Ramot project – both
aimed at retrieving perfectly good food (that would
otherwise be thrown out) and delivering it to people in
need. They are doing more than their share to sustain the
lives of these fragile people living precariously with food
years ago. The packing sessions themselves are always
fast-paced, fun and inspiring. Most meaningful for me
personally is when the soldiers come to pick up their
packages. They are so appreciative. And we have met
the most wonderful volunteers here, from all walks of life,
from all places on the globe, from ages 2-92. If you are
going to be in Jerusalem anytime soon, call to find out if
you can participate in a packing. Call to see about
adopting a unit, or having your child connect with A
Package from Home for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah project.
This is one grandma you don’t want to miss getting a
hug from. (AHS)
[A Package from Home-, Barbara Silverman, Keren Kayemet
12, Jerusalem, Israel, 02-623-2548, [email protected],]
The media’s most frequently-mentioned statistic
is that one-third of all children in Israel live below the
poverty line. While this may be true, these numbers
may be misleading. 80% of these below-the-poverty-line
children come from two sectors of the Israeli population,
both known for having large families and for high
unemployment, namely, the ultra-orthodox haredi and the
Arab sectors. I state this non-judgmentally and without
prejudice. Ziv is proud to work within all sectors in
Israel. Our Mitzvah heroes and agents (see the section on
“Agents in Israel”) work with all of Israel’s citizens. I
make certain that your Tzedakah-shekels are being used
to their utmost Mitzvah-buying power, particularly when
feeding hungry children. Children have the right to eat.
Period. But please be sure to understand that, when you
read or hear the news, the percentages differ for the other
sectors of the population.
8. ALICE JONAH ($27,090)
In the early 1990’s, after years of protests in
many parts of the world, the Former Soviet Union (FSU)
finally began to “Let My People Go”. Thousands upon
thousands came to Israel so quickly that there was no
room left in the absorption centers. The Ministry of
Absorption began filling hotels, among them, Jerusalem’s
Diplomat, at one time a five-star establishment. More
than twice the reasonable number settled in — more than
1,600 Jews — and the Diplomat began to slide into a
most unpleasant place to live.
At the height of the chaos at the hotel, Alice
Jonah became a volunteer and began to turn it into a
Menschlich home for the residents, one, two, or three
people in rooms converted to living space outfitted for
human comfort. The Diplomat is now neither an old age
home, nor is it assisted living. Rather, it is a real home
for these Elders who for various reasons are unable to
integrate into the full flow of Israeli society. Radical
changes took place, in no small measure due to Alice’s
increased involvement. She eventually became a parttime employee, solving problems, providing everything
from activities, to arranging transportation to stores,
doctors, wherever, to lobbying the bus company to move
its stop to a more convenient place. The Diplomat choir
is just one of her achievements: It is well known not only
in Jerusalem, but also wherever else it has performed. In
all, the quantity and variety of her achievements are
beyond count.
Now ostensibly “retired”, Alice
nevertheless continues to bring dignity, warmth, and a
Good Life to hundreds of Jerusalem’s Elders with only
slightly fewer hours work on their behalf than before.
Yasher Koach to Alice! (DS)
Why single out this category for mention?
There are many non-profits in Israel that do a great deal
of advertising and fundraising centered around “poor,
pathetic children”. Most of the places that I have
researched do not meet the strict Ziv criteria. I ask you to
please be thorough in your own research when deciding
how to parcel out your Tzedakah funds.
In general, I have found that the most efficient
and effective way to feed hungry people is to work with
trusted agents – people with whom I have developed a
close relationship over the many years of being involved
in this field. And, I have found that using grocery store
scrip allows for the most flexibility for all parties
concerned. That is, it is relatively easy for us to purchase
quantities of scrip at discounts of up to a staggering 21%.
There are three distinct advantages to using scrip as part
of our overall approach to individuals and families in need
of food: (a) Scrip is easy for me to distribute to our agents
and Mitzvah heroes; (2) it is equally easy for them to
distribute to the people whom they know who are in need,
and (3) it is easy for the people in need to shop and buy
whatever they need, whenever they need it. And since scrip
is used by all Israelis here, there are no issues of bushah, embarrassment. (AJD)
[Alice Jonah, Efrata St. 34/10, Jerusalem, 02-672-1548,
[email protected]]
I have lived in Israel for more than 24 years. I
have traveled the world. I have seen poor people, and
The Jewish practice of interest-free loans extends
back to Biblical times. (Exodus 22:24) This method of
Tikkun Olam is very much “alive and well” today, with
free loan societies throughout the Jewish world. There
are hundreds of them in Israel alone. The largest is The
Israel Free Loan Association (IFLA), founded in 1990 by
Professor Eliezer Jaffe. It has provided more than
$87,000,000 in the form of 34,000 loans to individuals
and small businesses. Now retired, Professor Jaffe,
besides establishing IFLA, raised generations of social
workers during his 40-year tenure from 1960-2000 at
Hebrew University. He was one of the founding
members of the social work faculty. As he wrote in an email, “[I went] right to work when I got off the boat in
Haifa.” As a first step in gaining an understanding of the
vast array of Tzedakah work being done in Israel, you
would do well to read Dr. Jaffe’s lecture at www.
After the war, she and her husband Zev came to
Israel. Her drive and determination led to two projects
that would, in fact, make life better for so many people —
Dental Volunteers for Israel (DVI, described in the
following section) and personal involvement, care, and
support for 50 families in Jerusalem’s Romema
neighborhood. These families were locked into poverty,
and Trudi believed that education was the key to
changing the course of the family’s history. For years,
while paying utility bills, purchasing crucial items like
heaters for the chilly winters, and a multitude of other
necessities, she constantly encouraged the children, urged
them — forcefully, yet gently, in her unique manner to
succeed. For her part, Trudi provided whatever was
needed to facilitate their progress in school, from basic
supplies to scholarships, and, of course, her personal,
caring touch which provided the necessary
encouragement to the children.
For many years we have consulted Dr. Jaffe for
insight and ideas about our Tzedakah work in Israel. We
feel that there is no one who better understands the
relationship among three components — government,
non-profit organizations, and individual initiative — for
building a Menschlich society. His influence has reached,
and continues to reach, Israelis from all sectors of society,
and IFLA is just one of many solutions he has created to
give others a fair chance at a good Life.
Over the years, the way things would work with
Trudi, the Romema families, and Ziv was simple: She
would contact us periodically and tell us what the needs
of the moment were. To whatever extent we could
provide the necessary dollars, we would do so. Now Zev
has carried on her work with 32 of the families as well as
with DVI. We were pleased that when his latest request
came in, informing us that he was approximately $25,000
short of meeting the needs, because of your fine
donations, we were immediately able to respond with a
$10,000 donation. This was one of those many high
moments in the history of Ziv. Once again the fund was
able to carry out its original mandate, responding quickly
and with a substantial sum of Tzedakah money.
The beauty of interest-free loans is, of course, the
“return” on the Tzedakah “investment”. A review of Ziv’s
history with IFLA yields the following numbers: 261
loans have been extended, and the return has been 550%,
i.e., for every $1.00 Tzedakah we donated, $5.50
circulated to assist people in their financial struggles.
Some additional notes concerning the life of this
extraordinary woman:
Spend some time at, the
website of The International Association of Hebrew Free
Loans (IAHFL) to see if your community has a free loan
organization. If it does not, contact the IAHFL about
establishing one locally. Since the time of Exodus 22:24,
this method of Doing the Right Thing has saved
countless people from financial hardship, ruin, and deep
despair. (DS)
1. I encourage you to read Trudi’s autobiography,
A Daughter’s Gift of Love-A Holocaust Memoir (coauthored with Jeffrey M. Green), the story of her years in
the death camps. And while I believe that the word
“gripping” has been overused, this story is truly gripping.
2. Zev has been the Director of The Jerusalem
International Book Fair for 26 years. Recently, a
children’s book award, the Trudi Birger Prize, was
established in Trudi’s memory. It is to be given to “the
author (or author and illustrator) of a book that inspires
the reader to selfless devotion to the community.”
[The Israel Free Loan Association (IFLA), 29 Rivka Street, Jerusalem,
Israel 93461, Mailing address, P.O.B. 10424, Jerusalem 91104, 972-2530-0777, , Home: Prof. Eliezer Jaffe, 37
Azza St., Jerusalem, Phone: 02-563-7450.]
3. Trudi was laid to rest in a portion of Jerusalem’s
Har HaMenuchot cemetery reserved for distinguished
individuals in the Life of Israel, including Schvester
Selma, pioneer chief nurse of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek
Hospital, Viscount Herbert Samuel, High Commissioner
during the British Mandate, Gershon Agron, Mayor of
Jerusalem and founder of The Palestine Post (after Israel’s
Independence: The Jerusalem Post), and Naftali Herz
Imber, composer of Hatikvah.
When my many visits with Trudi Birger, ,
come to mind, the first sentence always has an
exclamation mark at the end, something like, “Ah, what a
woman!” As a young woman, she was saved from death
more than once in the Nazi extermination camps. For the
rest of her life, until she passed away in 2002 at the age of
75, she was determined that no child should suffer as she
Ah, what an extraordinary woman Trudi Birger
was. -May her memory be a blessing for all
who knew her and for those who will study her life and
be inspired to perform similar acts of Tikkun Olam.
caterers (and army bases and various food
establishments) about collecting, and not only on
Thursdays but every night (except Friday nights, of
course). This is how Lev Ramot, his food retrieval
project, was born. Moshe works with a team of
volunteers who spend their nights collecting both fresh
and cooked food, and then sorting and packaging it for
distribution the next morning.
I encourage you to contact Zev to continue to
provide support for the Romema families. This is very
real person-to-person type of Tikkun Olam and makes
worlds of difference. (DS)
Over the years, many catering halls have cut back
on the quantities of food they prepare, and buffet service
has been replaced by single-serving main courses. As a
result, Moshe has begun to supplement the cooked food
with canned and packaged staples.
[Zev Birger, 2 HaMeyasdim St., Jerusalem, 02-643-6628,
[email protected]]
[For the background about why Trudi Birger,
In 2007, Moshe distributed more than 5,000,000
shekels worth of food. His message is simple: (1) Many
people see food being wasted. (2) Many people know of
people who are hungry. (3) Do something. Moshe
involves lots of youth groups and army groups in his
work. He wants them to learn to do something. Yasher
Koach Moshe and all of the volunteers. (AJD)
, founded Dental Volunteers for Israel, see the
previous section.]
Because the government healthcare package
(national socialized medical care) does not cover dental
care, many Israelis find themselves in unfortunate, even
desperate situations. Children are especially vulnerable,
so a free pediatric dental clinic in Jerusalem is a necessity
for many families. Over the years, DVI has reached
thousands of children, fixing problems and, no less
important, educating the families about preventive care.
Spend 10 minutes at DVI, and you will know how special
a Mitzvah-place it is.
[Lev Ramot, c/o Moshe Kot, Schechtman St. 6, Jerusalem 97225, 02-5861456, cellphone: 052-286-4507. Assistant: Dr. Ron Schleifer, Bar Ilan
University, Ramat Gan Israel, 03-532-8189 (o), 02-586-8714 (h),
[email protected]]
5. TABLE TO TABLE ($71,463)
There are many dental volunteer programs in
Israel — on kibbutzim, in cities, for longer or shorter
periods of time. DVI accepts dentists who commit to as
little as one week and provides an apartment for the
dentist and her or his family. What does DVI need?
Dentists, donations of dental supplies, and, not least of
all, financial support. We invite our friends to join DVI
in its fabulous work benefiting these children. (DS)
Joseph Gitler quickly discovered that in Israel,
there were both lots of hungry people, and lots of food
being wasted and thrown out. So, in 2003, in his living
room, Table to Table- was born. The
concept was a simple one: Find out who is throwing
away perfectly good food (be it from a wedding,
restaurant, or a farm that simply cannot harvest all of the
produce in time or in a cost-effective manner,) then figure
out who needs the good food (no shortage of hungry
people here), and make it happen.
[DVI, 29 Mekor Haim St., Jerusalem, Zev Birger, clinic: 02-678-3144, Zev
may be reached at: 02-643-6628, [email protected],]
Since it was founded in 2003, Table to Table has
grown to be the most innovative food rescue organization
in Israel. Today, Table to Table’s staff and volunteers
retrieve 12,000-14,000 excess meals and 45-50 tons of
excess produce and manufactured items per week from
hundreds of food producers and then redistribute this
food to 90 NGO’s (non-governmental organizations)
throughout Israel who are working with hungry people.
4. LEV RAMOT-($9,000)
Moshe Yomtov Kot used to run a print shop. He
was active, as well, in his local synagogue in the
Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot. When he was the
gabbai (sexton), he was constantly being approached for
donations “to help feed hungry people”. One day (and for
so many of our Mitzvah heroes you will see that there is
this “one day”, a “light bulb moment”) he noticed that,
while attending the wedding of a friend, the catering hall
was throwing away so much food.
This past year alone, Table to Table has
witnessed significant growth. It has hosted more than
4,000 volunteers per month, making it one of Israel’s
largest volunteer organizations. Nowadays, it is rare for
an organized tour not to schedule harvesting
strawberries, clementines, cucumbers or whatever is in
season during your visit here. You get a real sense of
-Kavod, honor, when you, yourself, pack up a large
bag of fruit or vegetables, shlep it over to the truck, and
watch the truck fill up with produce that simply would
have been left to rot in the fields. The physical labor
This simply didn't make any sense to Moshe.
How could it be that people were coming to him hungry,
and the caterer was tossing out perfectly good food? And
so, in 1989, Moshe asked this caterer if he could come by
and collect the food after the event. The caterer said yes,
but only on Thursday nights. This was fine for Moshe,
since he could then deliver the food to the people who
needed it for Shabbat. Eventually, Moshe spoke to more
completed, you no doubt will feel a sense of personal
accomplishment. And because of Joseph’s incredible
organizational skills, you know that within hours the
food will be distributed to someone who needs it. What a
wonderful way to take part in the life of the Land of
front of her had been handed a bag of fat and bones.
“How many cats does that family have?” she asked her
butcher. He replied that they do not have any cats, but
that the girl’s family had been hit by hard times, it could
no longer pay, and he had extended as much credit as he
could possibly manage. He gave them the bag of fat and
bones so they could at least add a little flavor to the
Shabbat cholent. Clara was outraged and told him that
from now on, she would buy that family two chickens a
week. By now that one family has become more than 230
families who receive credit at Mr. Hacker’s store each
week. For those families who cannot get to Mr. Hacker,
she mails a check at the beginning of each month so that
they can buy their own food locally. Clara adds her own
personal handwritten note to each one. “Chodesh Tov”, she writes, “A Good Month.”
Three examples of Table to Table’s grasp of this
aspect of Tikkun Olam will demonstrate just how
insightful Joseph is about what needs to be done: (l) To
prepare the gleaners, Table to Table has recently
initiated an educational project which introduces Israeli
students to the concepts of Tzedakah and joint communal
responsibility; (2) it has expanded its “Sandwiches for
Kids” Project, which now supplies more than 4,400
volunteer-prepared rolls and fruit per day to school
children in 14 cities, and (3) it has developed a nonkosher food rescue project, specifically serving African
refugees living in Israel. I could go on and on about
Table to Table’s programs, but a more complete list can
be found on its website. I would summarize my thoughts
by writing that this is simply one of the most direct ways
to deal with hunger in the world. Kol HaKavod to Joseph
and his entire staff. They have made it easy for the rest
of us to do our part to wipe out hunger in Israel. (AHS)
I love to hear Clara talk about her process. She is
very careful to explain that she has a “formula” for who
gets what. The amount they receive is based on the
number of number and ages of family members. And she
is very careful not to tell them what to buy with the
donation. Each family can choose what it wants to “buy”
each week. This allows the recipients to maintain their
sense of dignity. No one chooses for them.
[Table to Table, c/o Joseph Gitler, POB 2297, Ra’anana, Israel, 09-7441757, cell: 052-876-3316, [email protected],]
I have taken my children to see Clara several
times this year. As my son Sam says, “She loves to sing.
At 98, she is still active, and has a playful personality.
She is definitely fun to be with, and we like to bring our
friends who come to visit from the United States to meet
her and give her Tzedakah money.” The endless supply
of chicken paraphernalia in her apartment is matched
only by the endless display of plaques on her walls. She
has been honored by many organizations for her
wonderful Tzedakah work, and justifiably so. Clara’s
children and grandchildren have since joined her in her
efforts. May they continue to enjoy the wonderful feeling
this gives them to feed so many — until 120 (at least).
6. TOVA‘S KITCHEN- ($3,250)
Wednesday mornings Tova is in her tiny kitchen
— always. She has to be. Several Elders wait for her hot
meal. She has been doing this for years, and if you were
to ask her why she does it, she will have a puzzled look
on her face. The people need a hot meal, it’s a Mitzvah,
and she would not want to miss this opportunity. Once,
there were 20 or 30 Elders. Now, at most, there are a
dozen, almost all of them widowers or men who never
cooked for themselves. Some who used to come have
passed away, others can no longer walk to the little
synagogue where they come to study, recite Psalms, and
chant other prayers.
[Clara Hammer, Mishmar HaGvul 4, Ramat Eshkol, Jerusalem, 02-5816164 (home), 052-681-0256 (daughter Channa’s cell phone).]
Tova personifies the qualities of -temimut, a
combination of innocence and simplicity and -anava,
humility. A visit to Tova’s kitchen is always very
moving. After the few hours with Tova, many of us leave
with the feeling that this is the way Mitzvahs ought to be
done. (DS)
It rarely makes the news these days, at least in
North America. But here in Israel, we still live with daily
terror-related incidents. Most of them, thank G-d, are
unsuccessful attempts, but occasionally, they do take
their toll — such as the many sniper attacks and the
shooting at the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem this
April. But please understand two things: (1) There are
dozens of attempts around the country every day, and (2)
regardless of when someone is injured — physically,
psychologically or both — the effects of being in, or
witnessing, a terror attack last a lifetime. It is with this
in mind that Ziv has continued its work with survivors of
terror and their families. And again, families in need just
[Tova Cohen, Tova’s Kitchen, 26 Yosef Karo St., Jerusalem, 02-582-2879.
The meals are served in the synagogue at #33 Yosef Karo St.]
7. CLARA HAMMER ($15,679)
Clara Hammer, still young at the age of 98, is
well known as the “Chicken Lady of Jerusalem.” Her
story began years ago (when she was “only” 69) in Mr.
Hacker’s butcher shop. While she was in line to buy
meat for Shabbat, Clara noticed that the young girl in
negotiate. That is how she makes her living. But what
she really does is as follows (adapted from last year’s
become more needy, and families who were keeping their
head above water, often begin to sink. Our funds are
usually used to solve immediate problems and issues:
overdue utility bills, a portion of college tuition, a new
orthopedic bed or chair, money for tutors for school
children, and more.
Standing across from Sbarro’s Pizzeria in downtown
Jerusalem in August, 2001, about 10 seconds away from being
killed or maimed herself, Ruth witnessed terrible devastation
and human suffering. At that “moment of truth”, she knew that
she had to do something for those who have suffered such a
horrifying experience, and whose post-trauma leaves them
scarred each in his or her own individual way. Gift of
Comfort did not begin immediately. Ruth, as several other
people we write about, took time to consider many options.
Early on, though, she just knew this “something” had to do
with touch, so the terror survivors would know as deeply as
possible that someone else cared for them in a very real way.
Now in its 6th year of operation, The Gift of Comfort provides
10 sessions of massage therapy for survivors of terror attacks as
well as for their families — free of charge. When needed, her
chevra will also provide Chinese medicine, shiatsu, homeopathy,
acupuncture and similar methods of healing — as long as it
brings relief from the physical and emotional pain.
Every individual involved in a terror attack was
there only by circumstance. And the results are
devastating and indeed lifelong. Survivors must go on
with their lives, but they can never forget that “day on
the bus” or “that night out with friends”. We stand with
them to ease their pain, in any way we can. (AJD)
A Special Note: Emily Dubois’ 1.5 Million Penny
Drive: Emily Dubois’ most extraordinary Mitzvah
Project allowed Ziv to accomplish so much over the past
six years. This is how Ellen, Emily’s mother, described it
in a recent e-mail:
In 2002, Emily was 17 years old and a junior in high
school when she established the “1.5 Million Penny Drive”
representing the 1.5 million children victims of the Holocaust
and donating every penny raised to victims of terror in Israel.
As of March, 2008, she raised $36,285.64, far exceeding her
original goal of $15,000 which was reached within its first
year. The 1.5 Million Penny Drive continues today, allowing
victims of terror and their families to eat, pay the rent, and
manage their daily lives.
Some of the survivors have asked Ruth if they
could continue after their original 10 sessions. She is
negotiating with therapists to give a discount for these
sessions, and of course, Ruth needs funding for this
aspect of Gift of Comfort’s program.
Ruth’s stories are incredibly moving and a
testament to the fact that, when faced with an apparently
impossible task, it is entirely possible to do something
that makes a huge difference. To date, the Gift of
Comfort has touched the lives of 500 people. Our
donation this year partially subsidized the salary of Gift
of Comfort’s all-important coordinator. She locates the
survivors, matches them with the volunteer therapists,
and does whatever else possible to make certain that the
sessions continue on schedule. The end result of the
logistics is always Ruth’s primary focus — that the
innocent victims of these heinous crimes receive the relief
that they so badly need. (DS)
We consider ourselves most fortunate to have
been chosen to be the -shelichim, the agents to
distribute this Tzedakah money on Emily’s behalf.
Almost the entire sum was placed at our disposal to allow
us to reach survivors of terror through our network of
Special Agents. (DS)
I am often asked, “How did the Mitzvah heroes
get started in their work?” For some, it may have flowed
naturally from their education, training, a hobby, or
personal talents. A few claim it was something that was
-areingefallen in kup — one day, out of
the blue, it just occurred to them to do it. Many can trace
it to a personal experience from childhood or any stage of
their lives — pleasant, tragic, or something seemingly
peripheral at the time it happened, but which took on
greater significance sometime in the future.
[The Gift of Comfort, Ruth Shlossman, 1 Gal’ed St., Jerusalem 97500,
Israel, 02-627-1175, U.S. phone line: 1-866-383-5272,
[email protected]]
If you are looking for ways to bring relief to
survivors of terror in Israel, the following contacts
should be extremely helpful:
Ruth Shlossman’s story is an excellent example
of exactly how she launched -The Gift of
Comfort. Ruth made aliya a few years ago, and it wasn’t
until long after we met her that we knew what she
actually did for a living. Her e-mail signature reads:
“[email protected]”, followed by
“Best Negotiating Practices®, Building Strong
Relationships & Trust, Training — Speaking —
Consulting”. Ruth explained that this means she travels
to various parts of the world teaching negotiators how to
a. -Shlomi: ($6,000) I have traveled
throughout Israel and nothing compares to visiting
Mitzvah heroes on the front lines. And while most of our
Mitzvah heroes are on the front lines figuratively, there
are some that are on the front lines literally. For example,
the little town of Shlomi is situated on the Mediterranean
coast near the Lebanese border. Not far from Rosh
Haniqra, Shlomi has had a long history of terror attacks,
including being shelled day and night during the Second
Lebanese War in the summer of 2006.
ATZUM renamed this area of its Mitzvah work The
Roberta Project for Survivors of Terror in Israel. (AJD)
As you can imagine, this town has been
devastated over the years. People who could leave, left.
Unemployment and crime were high, hope was near the
bottom. Then a local son, Gabi Na'aman, decided to run
for mayor. An engineer by profession, he felt that the
time had come to take Shlomi back and turn it into a
town filled with hope. And this he has done. Through his
help and that of Sharona Yosef, who runs the town’s
Social Services department, Ziv has been instrumental
both by funding various projects and also by being a
catalyst for others to fund. We have helped individual and
provided for the population in general.
[Atzum-  : , POB 8695, Rabbi Levi Lauer,
Jerusalem 91086, Israel, 02-992-4980, [email protected]]
D. WAR ($60,366.25)
Israel is a small country. You have heard it many
times. Everyone knows somebody. In “normal times” this
can lead to pleasant games of Jewish geography. A
cousin from Atlanta who made Aliya in the 70’s lives in
the same apartment building as a tour guide you had
years back. Your cab driver’s parents came from the
same town in Russia as your own, and you get invited to
Shabbat dinner to compare notes.
In wartime, the
banter, the pleasantries, and the “coincidences” turn
serious. Family X relocated far south of the border
because of the hail of rockets that reached as far as Haifa.
Family economics based on a northern storeowner’s
income — gone, because the locals have fled. (More than
100,000 Israelis did the same.) The human needs are farranging, and for so many Israelis, a long-term crisis.
Post traumatic stress disorder and other traumas,
rehabilitation, rebuilding family dynamics — all these
needed and still need to be addressed.
[Sharona Yosef, Director Department Of Social Services, Shlomi Local
Council, POB 1, Shlomi, Israel, 04-980-8161, [email protected]]
b. -Sderot: -Afikim BaNegev
($17,892.80): As frequently reported in the media, this
community is very much on the front lines. They have
been shelled day and night with Kassam rockets for the
past eight years. Many people are doing good work there.
We are fortunate to have hooked up with Shlomit
Eckstein, who runs Afikim BaNegev. This group of
about 150 people moved to Sderot over the years just to
live there and to strengthen the town. With a population
of only 24,000 — about 6,000 families — it is easy to
imagine how 150 dedicated and active people can make a
difference. Ziv has helped fund various projects and
programs for Sderot, including fun days, food for people
in need, and more. On one of my recent visits, Shlomit
was running a street fair for kids. But, let me explain
how you hold a street fair for kids in Sderot: First, it has
to be done only on a street that has quick and easy access
to the apartment buildings and the bomb shelters
surrounding it. Second, it has to be mobile and carried
out just a few buildings at a time, since you do not want
large crowds of people gathering in one spot. This means
that Afikim BaNegev actually held 17 separate street fairs
during Passover vacation.
Because of our extensive network of Special
Agents and Mitzvah heroes, we were able to both bring
significant relief and to solve problems completely for
many individuals, families, and groups of Israelis. We
hope that in the future, this network will serve as
contacts and facilitators for only the everyday difficulties
and crises Israelis may experience in the course of
“normal life”. (DS)
1. BET HAYELED -($50,832)
Bet Hayeled, a project of Kibbutz Merav, is
directed by the founders, Yitz Feigenbaum and Irit
Zucker. Last fall, my family took the 90-minute drive
from Jerusalem to see the setting for this marvelous
program. We knew that Bet Hayeled is a home for at-risk
children who have been removed from their families by
the court system. We also knew that Yitz and Irit are the
driving forces that allow these kids to believe that Life
can be better than it has been. We had met Yitz last
August during our first week in Israel. He had invited us
to the -kotel, The Western Wall to observe one of his
Bet Hayeled kids putting on Tefillin for the first time, the
Thursday before his Bar Mitzvah.
It was a big
celebration, complete with a lovely breakfast at a
restaurant in the Old City following the ceremony. The
singing was loud, heartfelt, and contagious. This was
one, big, proud family coming together to celebrate a
Simcha, and it was our first taste of how special this
“family” is. But we still didn’t know exactly how it all
[Afikim Banegev, Shlomit Eckstein, Amutat Re’ut Sderot, POB 339, Sderot,
Israel, 08-689-9092, [email protected]]
c. -ATZUM ($6,000): Lastly, I want to
mention Ziv's work with ATZUM. ATZUM is an
organization started several years ago by Levi Lauer in
order to assist three special groups of people in Israel:
survivors of terror, foreign workers, and Righteous
Gentiles. While we have helped individual Righteous
Gentiles with their very specific needs through other
venues, most of our work with ATZUM has been with
survivors of terror. ATZUM’s social worker in this field
was Roberta Bernstein,. I worked very closely with
Roberta on almost a daily basis for many years. Though
Roberta died tragically in a car accident last year, her
memory and good work will carry on many years into the
future. Ziv honors her memory by continuing to support
survivors of terror via ATZUM.
Most recently,
Caryn and her very dedicated staff pick up the slack.
They are on the streets late at night, letting the kids
know that if someone is in trouble, they are there to help.
The street kids know them, and know that they are
trustworthy, honest, reliable and smart.
Merav is located on the Gilboa mountain range,
and as we drove up the long, winding road to the kibbutz,
we were amazed at the beauty and the view. We entered
the kibbutz, found Bet Hayeled, and walked into what
looked like a “regular” home with space for lots of
children. The two-story building has rooms that house
two children each, in separate boys’ and girls’ wings, a
dining area, places for play and study, and an apartment
for live-in young women doing a year of National Service. Our kids noticed plenty of games, toys,
videos, and stuffed animals, all neatly stored.
Because Caryn insists that the teens need to be in
school or working during the day, Crossroads is open
only in the afternoons and evenings. Among other things,
she helps them get back into school, or find a job.
Crossroads also offers short-term and long-term
counseling, vocational training, social skills training, and
more. This is as front line as a project can be. Ziv has
often helped individual teens with specific needs (food,
clothing, first-year university tuition, etc.) in addition to
providing for much-needed equipment for the Center
facilities. (AJD)
Over lunch, Yitz and Irit told us about how they
provide for these kids everything that they give their
own children: love, balanced with warm, solid discipline
when needed, a good education, regular psychological
counseling, music lessons, summer camp, orthodontia
when necessary, educational field trips, fun trips, a new
bike — in essence, what every child needs to grow up
feeling loved and accepted.
[Crossroads, Caryn Green, MSW, Director, PO Box 2954, Jerusalem,
Israel 91028, 02-624-6265, [email protected],]
For Yitz and Irit, the enormous task of caring
not only for their own children, but for these children
who have come to them from throughout Israel, is an
honor and they do it with calm, grace, dignity, and a
sense of humor. Bet HaYeled has up to 10 children at a
time, from grades 1-12. Once they graduate, they serve in
the army or in the National Service framework. The
greatest testimony to Yitz’s and Irit’s achievement is that
many of these “kids” return to Kibbutz Merav to live as
adults. The connection each child makes here, from the
families on the Kibbutz that they befriend, to the love
they received despite the terrible family situations from
which they were rescued, attest to Bet HaYeled’s success.
Surely, if there were more homes like this, many more
children would enter adulthood as whole persons. (AHS)
Libby Reichman is a believer. She believes that
children deserve to have a person in their lives that they
can trust. She is an American who made aliya several
years ago. With a background in social work, Libby
recognized the increasing numbers of children in Israel
who came from broken or troubled homes, and she
wanted to do something to change that situation. When the
previous Jerusalem Big Brother/Big Sister program
ceased operations, Libby decided to step up and create a
new organization.
Essentially, BBBS arranges for long-term
mentors, as permanent as possible. Big brothers and big
sisters are volunteers who want to help a young person
without a stable family situation by maintaining weekly
personal contact. Libby launched BBBS in 2003, and as
of March, 2008, of the initial 220+ pairs that were
matched and together for over a year, 90% (with both
sides still living in Jerusalem) remain together. They
currently have more than 130 pairs meeting weekly. The
first pair has been meeting for more than four years and
is still going strong! And, once things were up and
running in Jerusalem, Libby opened a branch in Gush
Etzion as well. In that group, 33 pairs meet together
weekly, a 100% increase from last year. This past year,
Libby opened a third branch, this one in Tel Aviv, and it
has already made five matches.
[Bet Hayeled, Yitz Feigenbaum, Kibbutz Merav, DN Gilboa 19148 Israel,
04-653-9103 (home), 052-323-7707 (cell), [email protected],]
Caryn Green grew up in Texas, went to UT
Austin and then received an MSW from the Wurzweiler
School of Social Work. She moved to Israel and
discovered that there is, unfortunately, no shortage of
English-speaking street teens. They are children whose
parents moved to Israel from America and other English
speaking countries, or kids who are here on one of the
various one-year abroad programs.
Among other things, the brother and sister pairs
have “Fun Days” together about every six weeks, doing
things like going to the movies, an amusement park or on
a camping trip, as well as educational activities such as
visiting museums. Our work with Libby has included
funding some of these get-togethers, as well as providing
for specific needs within a child’s family. This is very
direct Tzedakah work, and we are excited about the
opportunities we have to provide many essentials for
Caryn started Crossroads Center about six years
ago, and helps these teens stay on track. Many feel lost
here and turn to the enticement of street culture (drugs,
homelessness, etc.). Many have parents who are not
aware of what their child is going through, or have
parents who have no interest in their child. As harsh as
that sounds, it is the reality. Because the system in
Israel has not yet been able to deal with them effectively,
these children. My own family has had the privilege of
joining Libby for a couple of these fun days, and it is such
a high to see these kids laughing, playing, and enjoying
time together with their big brothers and sisters — away
from the harsh realities of their everyday lives. Libby
and her remarkable cohorts just beam watching them,
and we, of course, have that extra measure of joy just
watching Libby.
sponsor the party. This double-chai donation covers the
cost of the kit, including a thank-you card that is filled
out by the child and sent to the donor so that they can see
with their own eyes the delight and joy they have
provided. Talk about a simple way to build selfconfidence and bolster a child’s ego!
Be in touch with Ruthie to learn about how easy
it is to become a “Birthday Angel” — and be prepared to
provide an experience that most definitely changes a
child’s life. (AHS)
Libby’s dream of having a clubhouse recently
became a reality. This past March, she and her team
hosted a spectacular Purim Party/Chanukkat HaBayit: The mezuzzah was placed on the doorpost of
BBBS’s own new facility which houses both The
Clubhouse and the Jerusalem offices. The Clubhouse is
open for activities from 3-7pm every weekday, and
activities include board and card games, Legos™,
foosball™, arts and crafts, a “quiet” room, and
extracurricular classes in art, gardening, nature study
and cooking. The children can hardly believe that this is
“their” space, and they already have come back again and
again to play and hang out together with their big
brothers and sisters. This space has been magically
transformed into exactly the warm, homey atmosphere
that Libby wanted. The next time you are in Jerusalem,
we hope you will meet Libby and to see the clubhouse.
[Birthday Angels, Ruthie Sobel Luttenberg, P.O. Box 2719, Kadima, Israel,
60920, [email protected], 09-891-1696, cell: 052-369-8391,]
a. Ya’akov Maimon Volunteers ($27,450)
First, the history of the Ya’akov Maimon
Volunteers, revised from previous Annual Reports:
From the earliest years of Israel’s existence, a Good
Man, indeed, a -Tzaddik, Ya’akov Maimon, went
everywhere to gather volunteers to teach the new immigrants
Hebrew and all the big and little things newcomers needed to
adjust to their new home. Thousands upon thousands arrived,
and Maimon collected young and old from the universities,
schools, even from people on the street, to meet this critical need.
Both adults and children needed the new language and life
skills, and Maimon’s Mishigoss, his fixation, became
famous….Even after Maimon died in the late 1970’s, his work
continued through the exceptional leadership of our friend-ofmany-years, Joël Dorkam.
[Big Brothers Big Sisters of Israel, Libby Reichman, 84 Golomb Street,
Malcha, Jerusalem 96903, phone: 02-561-2131, fax: 02-561-2231;
[email protected],]
Birthday parties. They are an integral part of our
lives – whether we are one year old or celebrating our
centennial year. It is that one day during the year that is
uniquely ours – a celebration of who we are.
This is the 60th anniversary year of Israel’s
independence. The period before, during, and after
-Yom HaAtzma’ut, Israel Independence Day,
is a most apt time to reflect on how different Israel would
be were it not for the efforts of this most unusual man,
Ya’akov Maimon, . And “most unusual” he was. Even
in his old age, he summoned reserves of energy that
amazed volunteers decades younger. He had a vast
repertoire of Menschlich methods to coax people to
volunteer. Hundreds joined him because they knew he
was right, that they had to do everything they could to
help the immigrants start a new life in Israel reborn. He
was a driven man, gentle but driven, and when relatives
and friends wrote his biography, they gave it the title,
“-Who Is This Crazy Man?”
For thousands of children in Israel, celebrating a
birthday is not possible for a variety of reasons. Usually,
family circumstances do not permit such a party. Ruthie
Sobel Luttenberg, Birthday Angel’s creator, has even
shared stories of kids who do not even know their birth
date. But having been an event planner for years, Ruthie
was uniquely qualified to do something wonderful to change
this. Using her best creative skills and talents, she
produced a “Birthday Party” kit, complete with games
and stickers and songs to celebrate each child, and to help
them connect with their friends and classmates in a fun,
meaningful way.
With the help of an extensive network of
contacts from Israel’s largest mentoring organizations
(Libby Reichman’s Big Brothers/Big Sisters is just one of
several examples), Ruthie has found a way to reach these
children and fill this need. Since the organization’s
inception in 2004, she has arranged more than 3,000
birthday parties. The formula is simple: (1) Ruthie’s kit
is ready to be delivered, (2) the mentor identifies the child
who is having a birthday, and (3) for $36, you the donor,
What would Israel’s society be like were it not
for Maimon, then his successor of nearly three decades,
Joël Dorkam, and now his successor, Eiton Green,
continuing Maimon’s work according to his unique
vision? How many thousands of immigrants — the latest
being the waves of individuals and families from Ethiopia
— would be far from integrating into Israeli life, but
would remain forever on the
dysfunctional, outsiders, unhappy?
the awful place they are in, and to get ahead. Asher
started Tech Career, a training program for Ethiopians
who have finished their army or national service. They
start with basic computer skills and advance throughout
the very intensive 14-month course to become highlysought-after programmers. All graduates are gainfully
employed, and most earn twice the national average.
Is it possible, at all, to calculate the impact? Joël,
Eiton, and three decades of volunteers could tell us
amazing stories of the Life-changes that have helped their
students flourish in the Promised Land. Noteworthy
among the volunteers are the Hebrew Union College
students studying their first year in Israel. These future
rabbis, cantors, and educators go one evening a week to
the Mevasseret Tzion absorption center where they forge
a strong human link to the families by tutoring the
children. The HUC students’ experiences reinforces their
own understanding that a nation becomes somehow
different, better, by reaching out to even one person at a
What a significant change in the Israeli
landscape! The overwhelming majority of working
Ethiopians – regardless of their educational level — had
been employed as dental assistants, security guards, and
nursery school assistants. Of the 110,000 Ethiopian Jews
in the community today, there are fewer than five doctors
or lawyers. Asher is one of those who is radically
changing this picture. In the next five years, he hopes to
train 1,000 Ethiopians in various jobs in the hi-tech
sector. Instead of being recipients of government
benefits, his graduates are not only productive members
of society, but they themselves are part of a giving back
program by making Tzedakah donations of their own.
What a welcome change. Yasher Koach to Asher and his
fine staff. (AJD)
Please note that, while we have described the
Maimon Volunteer work in Mevasseret Tzion, the
organization has several other programs in other parts of
Israel, including a wonderful activities center called
-Duchifat for Elders in Afula.
This year, among the many aspects of the
program we supported, was a new series of morning
programs for elderly Ethiopians in Mevasseret Tzion.
-Yasher Koach to all who have made, and who
continue to make, Maimon’s dream a reality. (DS)
[Tech-Career-Computer Programming Training Center For Ethiopian
Jews, Asher Elias, Executive Director, Kibbutz Nachshon, Israel, 08-9278613, [email protected] {Naomi Zimmerman, Resource Development
[-Ya’akov Maimon Volunteers, Eiton Green, Director,
Kibbutz Tzuba, Doar Na Haray Yehuda, 90870, Israel, cellphone: 054-5637920, [email protected]]
c. Keren Hanan Aynor ($3,000)
Should you ever have the chance to sit with Sarah
Aynor, you will get a bird’s-eye view of both modern
Israeli history and the story of the immigration of
Ethiopian Jews. Now in her 80’s, this regal woman has
many fascinating stories to share, but her greatest
passion is her work with Keren Hanan Aynor, the
organization, that she founded after her husband, Hanan,
passed away. Hanan had served the Israeli diplomatic
corps over four decades, and among his many positions
was Ambassador to Ethiopia during the reign of Haile
b. Tech-Career ($17,360)
Asher Elias was among the first Ethiopians born
in Israel. He grew up as an Israeli, just with dark skin.
After the army and university, he became more interested
in his own Ethiopian community. After all, his parents
had worked long and hard to help bring Jews from
Ethiopia even before the government and others became
increasingly involved. Asher noticed, however, that
despite the government intervention and the myriad of
social welfare and social service programs set up for the
Ethiopian community, they were still among the poorest,
least educated groups in Israel.
Dedicated to providing scholarships for
Ethiopians who have completed basic undergraduate
studies, the organization has granted close to 2,300
scholarships to students pursuing careers in education,
nursing, communications, high-tech (several for
participation in Asher Elias’s Tech-Career program) and
more. Keren Hanan Aynor is dedicated to addressing the
needs of the Ethiopian immigrant community by
assisting these talented, highly motivated Ethiopian
Israelis. Its aim is to promote the emergence of a core
leadership committed to serving the needs of their own
communities, as well as Israeli society at large. Always
expanding, KHE just recently began providing
scholarships to parents over the age of 28 who wish to
upgrade their educational and professional level, since,
after this age, they no longer qualify for other types of
available scholarship programs. Our funds paid for
various grants. (AHS)
Asher's “Aha!” moment happened in the mid1990's. At that time, the story came out that Magen
David Adom had been accepting blood donations from
Ethiopians but then routinely throwing them in the
trash. He became outraged and began to work for various
advocacy groups on behalf of the Ethiopian community.
But then he noticed, once again, (and pardon me for
repeating myself) that despite the myriad of programs in
existence, the Ethiopian community (now more than
110,000 strong) was in a worse place.
With his background in computers and hi-tech,
in 2004 Asher decided to start his own “ticket out”
program. He wanted to create something that will give
the new generation of Ethiopians a chance to get out of
[-Keren Hanan Aynor, Sarah Aynor, 3 Alharizi Street,
Jerusalem 92421, 02-563-1419, [email protected],]
woefully behind all other groups that have migrated to
Israel. 72% of all Ethiopian Israeli children live below the
poverty line and educationally fall well below acceptable
d. The Forgotten People Fund ($118,191.95)
NACOEJ’s educational programming runs in
eight cities in Israel, and those children who attend these
after-school programs achieve tremendous academic
success. As we have done in many years past, our funds
this year were directed to a unique school program which
returns Ethiopian students to school two weeks prior to
the start of the school year and offers them “refresher”
courses so that when school actually starts they are ready
to proceed to the next level of study. Israeli educators
have long praised the work of NACOEJ’s educational
programs. Funding to expand this program will provide
long-term benefits not only for the students, but for all
Israelis. (NKE)
The Forgotten People Fund has been working
with the large Ethiopian community in Netanya for more
than 20 years. The organization has received the
accolades of the mayor and many other VIPs. Despite
this, the needs of the Ethiopian community there remain
enormous and extremely varied. The work the FPF does
is a classic example of putting a Band-Aid on someone
who is bleeding. Doing “Band-Aid Tikkun Olam” is not a
pejorative term. Band-Aids are absolutely necessary for
healing. But there is very little “long range planning" or
“needs analysis for systemic change”. Rather, FPF’s
people work with hundreds, even thousands, of
Ethiopians just in Netanya who are in need. Electric
bills, heaters, baby blankets, food, school fees, and more
are just some of the range of needs they deal with on a
day-to-day basis.
[NACOEJ, 132 Nassau St., #412, NY, NY 10038, Barbara Ribakove
Gordon, Founder, 212-233-5200, [email protected],]
It is not easy, but our main contact, Aida Miller
and her co-founders, David and Anne Silverman, have
been at it since its inception. They and their many
devoted volunteers do not want the Ethiopian community
in Israel to be forgotten, and so they are there every day
to make sure that they are remembered — and provided
for through their efforts to whatever extent possible.
In the following paragraphs, you will be able to
review Ziv’s support of -Rabbi
Jonathan Porath’s marvelous grassroots organization
-Keren Klitat Aliya Neve Orot
(The Fund of the Neve Orot Neighborhood [Jerusalem]
for the Absorption of Immigrants). The description
reviews the substance of Rabbi Porath’s Tikkun Olam
work that we have supported for many years. While the
wording may be essentially the same as last year’s, it is
most definitely not “ho-hum, same old, same old”. Rabbi
Porath’s diligence, organizational abilities, and rich
background working with Jews of the Former Soviet
Union (FSU) spanning many years places him in a unique
position in this period of Jewish history to bring
enormous benefit wherever his activities take place. This,
coupled with the depth and breadth of his Jewish
knowledge and practice, contribute to breakthroughs in
all his efforts.
[The Forgotten People Fund, Anne Silverman, Chairman, 10a/8 Nitza
Boulevard, Netanya 42262, Israel,, 09-862-2243, cellphone
054-547-6288, [email protected]]
e. North American Conference on Ethiopian Jewry
Barbara Ribakove Gordon’s dedication to
Ethiopian Jewry goes back to 1981 when she was part of
the first U.S. mission to Ethiopian villages. Since that
time, she has been in the forefront of improving the lives
of Ethiopian Jews still living in Ethiopia and also those
who have made aliya. As Executive Director of NACOEJ,
an organization Barbara and others founded in her living
room in 1982 immediately after her first trip, Barbara
returned to Ethiopia in 1991 and played an integral part
in the famous Operation Solomon which rescued more
than 14,000 Ethiopians Jews and airlifted them to Israel
in one 24-hour period.
Rabbi Porath was one of the first people I knew who
had visited the Jews in what is now known as the Former
Soviet Union (FSU). Having studied Russian language and
history at Brandeis University, he took his first trip in the late
1960’s, and continued to be involved with all things relating to
Soviet Jews throughout the struggle for their exodus. I was
privileged to accompany him and other staff members, as well
as 59 United Synagogue Youth participants, to Moscow,
Leningrad, and Tblisi, in 1972 — in those “scary days” when
the KGB tracked your every move.
Our association with Barbara and NACOEJ
began in 1989, the first year Ziv contributed funds to
support their work. Over the past 19 years we have
witnessed the arrival of tens of thousands of Ethiopians
to Israel, many of them through the good work of
NACOEJ. Despite the political upheaval of the past few
years, NACOEJ’s work with Israeli Ethiopians continues
to make a difference in the lives of so many struggling to
become productive members of society. This struggle has
been incredibly complicated and today, Ethiopians remain
Rabbi Porath’s commitment to the welfare of Soviet
Jews, wherever they may be, has never wavered. He now works
for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (The
JDC, commonly referred to as “The Joint”) and travels to the
FSU every few weeks to develop, implement, and supervise
several of the Joint’s programs. It is no surprise that — when
the floodgates opened more than 20 years ago and Jews from
the FSU began to pour into Israel in vast numbers — Rabbi
Porath became actively involved in efforts to provide for
immediate, and often emergency, needs for the recent
immigrants. As the years passed, Ethiopian immigrants and
others have also became part of Rabbi Porath’s efforts.
YITAV’s chairperson, Estee Ordan, organizes groups of
10th graders to make weekly home visits to the Elders.
YITAV is a simple, yet very effective, program.
We wish all of them well until 120. Or, as David and
Yehuda like to say, (referring to a good blood pressure
reading) “Until 120 over 80!” (AJD)
Ziv is privileged to have supported Rabbi
Porath’s network of Tikkun Olam endeavors. To a very
great extent, he has been able to accomplish so much
because of the professional expertise and tireless efforts
of his main partner-in-Mitzvahs, Eleonora Shifrin. This
amazing woman is more than just a social worker born in
the FSU. These two working together have allowed Ziv
to meet the most personal needs of many individuals and
families. Even without the vehicle of Ziv, I am confident
that Ziv’s friends will continue to support Rabbi Porath’s
fine Mitzvah-work.
[Yitav 109 , c/o
Shaare Zedek Hospital, David Zahavi, POB 1499, Jerusalem, phone/fax:
02-651-2498. E-mails to Esti Ordan: [email protected]]
2. CLICK ($11,400)
Linda Mosek is a social worker working in Hod
HaSharon with Elders and teens at risk. But that barely
begins to describe her accomplishments. A few years ago,
she went back to school to get her MBA. This combined
training made her a greater force to reckon with when
CLICK began to take shape. In addition to the day-care
centers and the wide variety of programs that she runs,
Linda embarked on an idea a few years back to try to
make her non-profit into an essentially self-sustaining
operation via a steady stream of income.
I have known Rabbi Jonathan Porath since my
first United Synagogue Youth convention in 1959. We
have remained best friends ever since, and when he
moved to Israel more than two decades ago, we stayed in
close touch. -Yishar Kochaynu to our friendship
and Mitzvah-partnership of almost half a century. And
may others be privileged to enjoy the same Life’sblessing. (DS)
SAVI, one of Linda’s most successful programs,
has Elders and teens producing handicraft kits and raw
craft materials for sale to the public. You can see these
wonderfully-colorful and easy-to-use kits on CLICK’s
website. They are perfect for early childhood programs,
schools, youth groups, synagogue and JCC activities, and
more. They are very inexpensive and are of the highest
quality. What a perfect fit – a non-profit that works hard
to show an income line in its budget. You can be a part of
this fabulous program by ordering these items and using
them locally.
[Keren Klitat Aliya Neve Orot, Rabbi Jonathan Porath, Nerot Shabbat St.
623/10, Ramot Alef, Jerusalem, 02-586-8757, cellphone: 054-497-9589,
[email protected]]
G. OUR ELDERS - 
1. YITAV 109- ($13,180)
David Zehavi and Yehuda Greenberg have been
at the helm of this program for Elders ever since their
founding partner, Chaim Vigolik, passed away several
years ago. Their story is simple: The three had known
each other since primary school in pre-state Israel, they
fought together in the War of Independence, and later
worked together for Magen David Adom. During their
years with MDA, they occasionally witnessed a tragic
scene: They would arrive in the ambulance to discover an
Elder who had died days earlier. It became clear to them
that no one was concerned enough about their welfare to
be in regular contact with them. As a result, they decided
to create a free telephone reassurance program that asks
every registered Elder to call a special three-digit
number (109) every morning and check in. If that person
doesn’t call, then YITAV volunteers start calling the
neighbors or the family. And if there is still no response,
then they send a volunteer to investigate.
Don’t think for a moment that Linda's business
savvy ends there. She recently opened a “mini-mall”
which includes a coffee shop operated by the Elders, a
store front for the SAVI products, a plant nursery, and
more. She has even established time-share office space
for Elders who are semi-retired, still want to work parttime, but can't afford to rent space full-time. Tax
consultants, psychologists, and others now enjoy many
more years of satisfying professional life.
Linda was recently selected by the Israel Venture
Network as a fellow in their Social Entrepreneur
Program, a prestigious recognition of her pioneering
efforts. Mazel Tov, Linda, for your astonishing good
work! (AJD)
[CLICK {Community Leadership and Intervention of Crisis for Kids and the
Elderly}, Linda Mosek, 12 Shimon HaTzadik St., Neve Neeman, Hod
HaSharon, 45241, Israel, phone/fax: 09-741-4974, [email protected],]
David and Yehuda do not want an Elder to have
to feel lonely, or to die of loneliness. (Indeed, none of us
wants this to happen to anyone.) They continue to recruit
volunteers to make the phone calls, make house visits, or
to do minor house repairs. They remind us that even
changing a light bulb can be life-threatening for some
Elders who shouldn't be climbing on a chair. In addition,
3. BET FRANKFORTER ($5,646.44)
Israel has a multitude of programs for Elders.
What makes Jerusalem’s Beit Frankforter unique is that
it is the only day care center for the elderly that offers
such a wide variety of programs, from early in the
morning (6:30am!) until late at night. The early morning
program is their now-famous Savta Sandwich Program.
A small group of Elders gathers daily to prepare more
than 600 sandwiches. One day it could be hummous
spread, another day a slice of cheese. These sandwiches,
along with a piece of fresh fruit, are delivered to hungry
school kids. The sandwiches are divided up and sent out
to various schools in Jerusalem, according to specific
requests sent in from the principals. In any given school,
there are always children in need, and they rarely get a
breakfast at home. So, on their way into school, they stop
by the office, pick up a sandwich, and for their 10:00am
break, they eat, feel satisfied, and be that much better
prepared to learn. And the Elders feel satisfied as well.
As do the donors. Yasher Koach — a job well done!
Shalva is recognized as a world leader in providing
comprehensive services for families contending with
developmental issues.
Kalman explained that as their expertise, facility,
and reputation grew, at every turn Malky would arrive
with her team of builders and decide that more space was
needed to expand the range and scope of Shalva’s
programs. To accommodate her vision, the result
included further excavation here, a new doorway there,
enclosing an outdoor deck in a third place, with more
changes and additions sure to follow. Gradually, step-bystep, what was a 2,000-square-foot building has grown to
more than18,000 square feet of usable space! In her soul,
Malky feels a great urgency, and cannot help but provide
everything possible for the families that Shalva serves.
As my wife Amee’s 2007-8 Ziv Fellow Consort, I
expected to serve only in some supporting role. I was
happy to be defined that way and anticipated a year filled
with Mitzvah heroes, my kids learning Hebrew, and me
maybe learning a bit about getting around in Jerusalem.
However, when Amee returned from her second Shalva
meeting, she announced that she’d gotten a gig for me. I
couldn’t imagine how my skills in lighting design could
possibly apply to Tzedakah work. Amee reported.
“Kalman showed us the plans for the new building they’re
designing. When I asked him how far they had
progressed, he said that they are just at the point where
they need a good lighting designer!” Then she added,
“Your first meeting is on Thursday.”
[Beit Frankforter, Sima Zini, Executive Director, 80 Derech Bet Lechem,
POB 10074, Jerusalem, Israel, 02-671-4848, [email protected]]
1. SHALVA- ($3,800)
I was introduced to the inspiring work of Kalman and
Malky Samuels, the founders of Shalva, during my first
visit to its amazing center in Jerusalem’s Har Nof
neighborhood. Visitors are welcomed at the gate and
ushered into a warm, welcoming, and obviously personal
space. That the walls of the entry plaza we passed
through, and of the intimate sitting room we waited in,
were filled with dedications and heartfelt expressions of
appreciation hardly prepared us for the tour awaiting us.
The modest street appearance of the Center did not even
hint at the extent of the huge facility that Kalman and
Malky have literally carved out of the underlying
mountainside. Spread over perhaps eight levels are the
areas where they and their dedicated and loving staff
work their magic. Kalman led us through activity room
after treatment room after dining room after gathering
space, each revealing insightful and state-of-the-art
methodologies to work with children born with a wide
range of neurological impairments. At that point, I
realized that, more than simply visiting an exceptionally
impressive and effective respite and developmental
center, I was getting to stroll through Malky’s
As a result, for the last several months it has been
my great honor and pleasure to get to know Malky (and
therefore Shalva) from the inside of the architectural
process. At our weekly meetings we have explored and
reviewed every aspect of this amazing future Shalva
center, touching also on their underlying philosophy and
outlook. The new building is being designed to reflect
the accumulated wisdom from their years of experience.
The physical structure will present leading-edge
treatment methods, interventional strategies, support
services, and respite care that they have developed. The
new building will be situated on a visible hilltop above a
park overlooking the highway at the entrance to
Malky will assuredly make every one of the new
building’s 180,000 square feet of space serve the
children’s and families’ needs — with , with the
utmost respect for individual dignity. Cheerful, bright,
open spaces being the hallmark of the current building,
the new facility abounds in glass and open flow design,
from the gracious Entry, to the Treatment and Activity
Areas above, to the respite, residential, auditorium,
gymnasium, and swimming levels below. Every detail,
every nuance, every aspect is being considered to create a
new home for Shalva that is built cost-effectively, efficient
to run, and is attentive to the developmental needs built
right in! Prominent among these special service areas are
The Shalva Center came into being as a result of
Kalman and Malky’s experience with their own son,
Yossi. At a very young age, he became blind and deaf as
a result of receiving an impure DPT inoculation. As they
began to deal with their situation, they soon learned how
sparse available services were. Nevertheless, while they
made their way through those challenging early years of
Yossi’s development, Malky resolved to find a way to
provide for others what had not been there for her family.
Her efforts have had a tremendous impact, and today,
the three levels of the Mommy and Me spaces that reflect
the immense success of this program — partially
sponsored by Ziv — for newborn and very young
children. The impact of the many different therapies
shared by new mothers and their children, together with
the socialization and support the moms also receive, is
palpable and dramatic. The importance of this early
intervention cannot be overemphasized — lives are
changed and lives are saved. Without a doubt, what is
true for Me and My Mommy is true for every aspect of
Shalva’s astonishing program. (MJS)
comes to her Tikkun Olam efforts. As a result, many
people’s lives have been changed for the better.
Shalhevet continues to raise funds to support the
community celebrations, the specially-fitted van to take
the residents out, and for the maintenance of the building.
Ziv is honored to know Miriam and to have been a part of
the lives of Shalhevet’s residents. (MA)
[Shalhevet-Housing for the Handicapped, Miriam Freier, Chel Nashim 5,
Jerusalem, 93320, Israel, phone/fax: 02-563-1604, [email protected]]
[Kalman and Malky Samuels, c/o Shalva, POB 34449, Jerusalem (street
address: Evan Denan Street, 6 , Har Nof), 02-651-9555, [email protected],]
Noach Braun loves nature, animals, and the
outdoors. Having been a paratrooper and dog trainer
during his army service, and later on having worked at
the Chai Bar Nature Preserve, he was simply “looking for
an occupation which would combine working with
animals and people.” He knew he had found his calling
when he discovered that the guide dog center which had
been in Israel until the 70’s, had folded when its director
died. Noach traveled to the United States to learn how to
train guide dogs, and, by an unlikely string of
circumstances, met a man named Norman Leventhal.
Norm is a perfect match for Noach’s efforts. Together,
the two of them created the fabulous Israel Guide Dog
Center for the Blind (IGDCB) to meet the needs of the
more than 20,000 registered blind people in Israel.
2. SHALHEVET-($57,915)
Miriam Freier is a small woman who has very big
ideas. She believes that all people deserve to live with
dignity, to be the ones who determine their own routines
and schedules. And so her dream of a place where people
who are living with disabilities can live on their own
(many with the aid of a caregiver), making their own
choices about what to eat, where to go and when to do it,
turned into a reality: Shalhevet. This may not seem a like
a big deal to any of us who take these things for granted,
but to someone who has not had that independence, these
opportunities are of paramount importance.
Miriam has spent many years appealing to the
government to obtain the permits and the necessary
funding to renovate an appropriate apartment building.
Shalhevet now houses 13 residents that are specially
outfitted for people with disabilities.
bathrooms, kitchen counters at the correct height, and
special wheelchair lifts which allow them easy movement
between the different levels of the building all contribute
to making Shalhevet truly the ideal home for the
residents. In addition, there is a -moadon, a
community room where weekly Shabbat dinners, holiday
celebrations, and other special events take place.
Before the IGDCB was established, only blind
Israelis who could understand and communicate in
English were matched with guide dogs. They were sent
for training to guide dog schools in North America or
England. However, some did not speak or understand
English sufficiently and, as a result, could not participate
fully. They returned home without a guide dog. Even the
lucky ones who received a guide dog from overseas found
that, if a problem arose later on, there was no one to
provide the follow-up service so vital to a successful
partnership. The IGDCB was created to fill this need.
When you visit the Center, you are immediately
aware of how many things that sighted people take for
granted have been taken into account. Noach has taken
care of every detail. He has made the building and grounds
exceptionally comfortable and easy to navigate for
visually-impaired persons. Cupboard doors in the kitchen
slide open so people don’t bump their heads on an open
door. The showers in the bathrooms have no tub walls to
climb over – you just walk into the stall. The numbers
on the doors are in contrasting colors, slightly raised for
those who can feel their way, and in Braille.
Before Shalhevet was a reality, Miriam would
arrange for Pesach -sedarim, and Chanukkah parties
for many of the people with disabilities who live in
Jerusalem. These special occasions took place at various
local hotels. Today, Miriam continues to make sure that
the “special needs” community of Jerusalem shares these
celebrations together at Shalhevet, or, if the event is too
large for Shalhevet, then it is held at a hotel.
Furthermore, as she has done many times, she continues
to take people with disabilities on trips to Europe, so that
they, too, will be able to see the world.
At the IGDCB the partnership between the blind
person and his or her dog can grow and be nurtured.
Here, they learn how to be with each other in a safe and
protected environment, and, even when they have
completed the three-week training course, the staff of the
Center is on call 24/7 to help them with any issue or
concern that arises. Currently, there are 140 active
-Shalhevet, Hebrew for “flame”, is named
Miriam’s brother-in-law, , who was an
inspiration to her and her family. Shalhevet, the place, is
the dream-come-true of this most amazing woman and a
fitting memorial to this man. Miriam may be small in
physical stature, but do not be deceived by her
appearance. She does not take no for an answer when it
of life in Israel. [email protected] (AJD)
The cost of raising puppies to be guide dogs,
training them, matching them with a partner and
providing all of their food, health care and after care, is
about $25,000 per partnership. But with generous
donations, the Israel Guide Dog Center, like every
reputable center in the world, is able to provide the guide
dogs, instruction, and regular home visits during the
working life of the dog free of charge. There are many
opportunities here for Tzedakah ideas and funds for
school-age children and their families. Check out the
Center’s website for details. (AHS)
For several years, this organization has been in
the forefront of raising consciousness in Israel about
HIV/AIDS. Among IATF’s programs are providing
personal support for persons living with HIV/AIDS, as
well as for their families, and serving as the major
educational resource for the prevention and
understanding of HIV/AIDS throughout Israel. (DS)
[, [email protected]]
3. THE RE’UT- SCHOOL ($150)
[Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, Bet Oved, 76800, Israel, Noach
Braun, 08-940-8213 or 940-8202, cellphone: 050-540-4070,
[email protected], In the U.S., contact Norman
Leventhal, [email protected], 267-927-0204. Also, check out the blog (great
for kids!) at]
Re’ut’s students operate a soup kitchen for people
in their Jerusalem neighborhood on the school grounds. It
was their own idea, it is completely their responsibility.
The students make a difference in the lives of those who
come for the hot meal not only because of the food, but
also because of the students’ Menschlich way of relating to
their guests. (DS)
[, [email protected]]
This spring, Israel’s Counseling Center for
Women will celebrate its 20th anniversary. Founded by a
group of women trained in feminist therapy, CCW today
provides more than 250 hours of therapy weekly. This is
a testament to the founders’ vision who recognized the
lack of resources available for women needing emotional
support. Today, the staff continues to expand the scope
of its work. In recent years, in addition to traditional
therapeutic services, CCW has focused on providing
services for women with disabilities, offering training in
feminist therapy for qualified professionals, conducting
workshops for women employed in the business sector,
and working in conjunction with the Israel Defense
Forces on issues related to women serving in the army.
Our donation was directed to underwriting the costs of
therapy for individuals who cannot afford the standard
rates. Mazal Tov to CCW for 20 years of making a
difference for so many women! (NKE)
To write that P.K. Beville is an “expert on aging”
sounds too abstract for Ziv. More accurately, she is an
expert on every conceivable need of our Elders. And
even more important is the fact that she is not only an
expert, but she is brilliant in her solutions to so many of
the problems that face these Elders, Second Wind
Dreams being a prime example. Most impressive is the
exquisite simplicity of SWD’s original purpose: (1) To
interview residents of eldercare facilities, (2) discover
their dreams, and (3) then make them happen.
Thousands of dreams have come true. Thousands! This
is so staggering, and even more so when you consider
that half of the dreams cost less than $50, and fully a
quarter of them cost less than $25. And still more: In
addition to general support of her work, donors can now
choose one person’s dream from the website and provide
the Tzedakah money to make it happen. This is the kind
of groundbreaking thinking-made-Mitzvah-act that
really appeals to us.
[The Counseling Center for Women, 12 Rokach St., Ramat Gan, 52542,
Israel, Moriah Shlomot, 03-612-9592, [email protected], Our contact in Jerusalem: Bella Savran, 02-673-3827,]
We also want to emphasize again the excellent work of
the people at The Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center in
Memory of Linda Feldman. For many years, our
contact at the JRCC has been Jane Jacobs, a wonderful
human being who has helped the JRCC tremendously and
who has helped us better understand the specific needs of
the program. Ziv is proud to have been a long-time
supporter of the Center, and we are impressed with the
high-level professionalism and extreme dedication that
the staff brings to its work. The JRCC has many
activities and projects, and it is of crucial importance that
there is a central contact point in Jerusalem that
addresses the very serious issues of sexual abuse, rape,
date rape, and similarly difficult and distressing realities
However, please note: The first step with SWD is
to contact the office and to learn the necessary logistical
details of how to bring the program to your local facility.
(This should be your same procedure with many other
Mitzvah heroes’ programs described in this report.
Learn first from the ones who know best how to do it.)
And beyond the dreams, P.K.’s pioneering work about
dementia — including her Virtual Dementia Tour
program — has made the lives of thousands of Elders
not only more livable but livable-with-dignity. And
It would no doubt bring benefits to both professionals in
the field and all others touched by the reality of some
nursing homes not quite achieving their full potential.
Ultimately, the greatest beneficiaries will be the Elders,
the residents of the homes who would have a greater
chance for a better Life in their old age. ([email protected],
Nancy Fox, Director) (DS)
better still, you may want to arrange for P.K. to come to
your community to speak. So much is to be gained from
her experience and insight. What wonderful Torah P.K.
has to teach: Expertise + analysis of masses of books,
articles, and statistics + a profound sense of
lovingkindness must lead to action. What a privilege and
blessing it is to have a teacher such as P.K. Beville, the
personification of our often-repeated phrase “Lechaim, To life!” (DS)
2. ROCK AND WRAP IT UP! ($5,000)
While recently reviewing the Rock and Wrap It
Up! segment for the new Ziv U.S. Mitzvah Heroes DVD,
we caught Syd Mandelbaum, the organization’s founder,
describing his work as both a food recovery operation and
a think tank on hunger issues in this country. Most of our
readers are familiar with Rock and Wrap It Up! The
program recovers leftovers from sports, music and
numerous other events where large groups assemble and
food is served, and delivers it to local shelters, food
pantries, and any other place where hungry people can go
to get a meal. What might not be so well known,
however, is the truly active role Syd and his organization
have taken in bringing about real change in how this
country (and the world) deals with hunger. The Federal
Food Donation Bill S 2420 is Syd’s latest effort, and in
his own words:
[Second Wind Dreams, 1031 Cambridge Square, Suite G, Alpharetta, GA
30004, P.K. Beville, 678-624-0500, [email protected],]
Nursing Home Revolution: It is impossible to stress
how important the work of Dr. William Thomas, M.D., is
in “the field of” the Mitzvah of -Hiddur Pnai
Zaken, Bringing Out the Beauty of an Elder’s Face. Since
this one individual set his mind to changing the
operational methods, tenor, and atmosphere in nursing
homes, thousands of Elders’ lives have changed for the
better. From the earliest days of his program — The
Eden Alternative — residents live longer, live happier,
better lives, live with greater dignity, and live with less
pain, boredom, loneliness, and the devastating feeling of
In Thomas’ program, staff members lower down
in the standard power structure are given more decisionmaking responsibilities. Buildings are filled with infants
and toddlers, dogs, cats, birds, plants, and vegetable
gardens, all of which become essential elements in the
daily life of the residents. The results would astonish
even a great skeptic. I recall the first statistics I learned
from Dr. Thomas: After 2½ years in the first nursing
home where he introduced his program, the residents
were using half the medications, and yet they suffered
from just half the infections that once plagued their lives.
Not satisfied with changing only hundreds of nursing
homes, Dr. Thomas continues his work on additional
creative ways to make the lives of Elders that much
richer and meaningful. One example: The Green House
Project limits the number of Elders to 10 per residence.
This radical approach has yielded astonishing results.
The Federal Food Donations Act will
fundamentally change the way we feed all those who
hunger in this country. This legislation would require
executive agencies who serve food on their premises to
encourage the donation of excess food to non-profit
organizations. Inspired by government buildings such
as the Library of Congress, we identified how much
excess food could be rescued and donated for our
nation's hungry. With over 100 events per year that
take place in a large institution such as the Library of
Congress alone, it became apparent that we could make
a staggering difference if we could rescue food from
*all* government buildings. Such food rescue efforts
will directly benefit our nation's soup kitchens, shelters
and food pantries: those agencies on the front lines in
the battle against poverty.
Since May, 2007, a little over one year ago, Syd
has enlisted the help of both local politicians and
members of Congress to bring this bill to fruition. His
efforts paid off, and after being passed by both houses of
Congress, President Bush signed the bill into law on June
20, 2008. As we have seen, almost everything that he and
Rock and Wrap It Up! have attempted has come to pass.
Another excellent example is Syd’s fabulously successful
initiative with getting schools — from primary grades
through universities — to donate from their cafeterias
and other food facilities. Forgive the pun, but, if you
contact Rose Foley, (see below in brackets), who is in
charge of this aspect of Syd’s work — it’s a piece of cake.
For several years, Ziv purchased copies of his
first book, Life Worth Living: How Someone You Love Can
Still Enjoy Life in a Nursing Home - The Eden Alternative in
Action, which explains the Eden essentials. I would
distribute a half dozen or so free of charge at my talks
with the single stipulation that they had to read it. I was
often told later on that the book was passed on to
employees at local nursing homes. Occasionally this led
to inquiries about introducing Eden into the local
community. All of Dr. Thomas’ books are available at
We encourage those for whom the lives of our
Elders is more than “just one more aspect of Tikkun
Olam” to contact the Eden office to learn more. Best of
all is to bring Dr. Thomas to speak in your community.
Once again, we state how impressed we are by
what one person’s vision can bring about. There is much
left for Syd and his organization to accomplish. Hunger
[Stop Hunger Now, 2501 Clark Ave., #301, Raleigh, NC 27607, Ray
Buchanan, 919-839-0689, 888-501-8440, [email protected],]
and hunger-related issues continue to plague this
country. We know that Syd will not give up in his efforts
to change that reality. (NKE)
4. SONGS OF LOVE ($10,000)
[Rock and Wrap it Up!, 405 Oceanpoint Ave., Cedarhurst, NY 11516,
Diane Mandelbaum, Administrator, [email protected], 516-2955686 , Syd Mandelbaum, CEO, [email protected], 516-295-0670,
Rose Foley, School Program Administrator, [email protected], Abby Kaish,
Sports Wrap! Administrator, [email protected],com,]
So many of the dedicated Mitzvah heroes we
write about and support with your Tzedakah money
came to their work because of some personal tragedy that
touched them and evoked a passionate response. That
terrible event changed their own lives — and then it
changed the lives of countless others in ways too
numerous to describe. John Beltzer, founder of Songs of
Love, is one of those individuals.
3. STOP HUNGER NOW ($5,500)
Whenever it comes to Tzedakah money for
international relief, without hesitation we recommend
Ray Buchanan’s Stop Hunger Now. Ray has traveled to
distant and remote places where he makes solid local
connections whose long-standing -reliability and
efficiency is beyond question. This is a crucial feature of
Ray’s massive Tikkun Olam efforts. It would be wasteful
to duplicate what is already being done in an efficient and
trustworthy manner. Also, Ray would not want to set up
a rival group because it would be counterproductive and
too time-consuming. Partnering with an established
program, he narrows his efforts to provide the food and
medicine that more often than not save lives. There are
times when I have talked with Ray, and I could almost
hear the clock ticking — “We have 10 days to….”, “If we
don’t get the food from point X to point Y within two
weeks, the number of casualties will be in the hundreds
(or thousands).”
It was the tragic loss of John’s twin brother Julio
that set John on a path that ultimately resulted in the
birth of Songs of Love. SOL is dedicated to providing
children who face serious illness with a personalized,
professionally-recorded song to help them deal with the
pain and sadness that illness has brought to their young
lives. Since 1996, John and his team of hundreds of
songwriters have composed and recorded thousands of
songs. In fact, on March 15, 2008, they produced their
15,000th song! Songs are recorded in a professional studio
and then quickly delivered to the children whose stories
have been shared with John by parents, healthcare
professionals, and others who know these kids can benefit
from the special boost a personalized song can offer.
Sometimes, the song is the only reminder a child has that
he is a real “person”, someone with a family, a pet,
favorite foods or music, all the “things” that make them
who they really are — not just a serious disease.
Beyond his incredible network-building track
record, Ray epitomizes the practice of “leveraging
Tzedakah dollars”. He constantly discovers sources of
matching funds while simultaneously locating vast
quantities of available supplies. For example, last year,
for transportation costs of $10,000 (of which Ziv
provided $5,000), $5,000,000 worth of medical supplies
were shipped by container to Central America. In 2007
alone, SHN provided more than $8,500,000 worth of food
and critically-needed medicines around the world. SHN’s
entire administrative and fundraising budget comes to only
Over the years of our friendship with John, we
have watched him and the organization grow in so many
ways. John and his work have been the subject of
numerous media articles, including an interview by Dan
Rather for a 60 Minutes segment. Despite the media
attention and the addition of a small staff, SOL remains
true to its purpose and carries out its mission with the
same gentleness and humility with which it began. We
remain indebted to our friend, Mike Rosenman, one of
SOL’s songwriterss, who first introduced us to John and
Songs of Love. We are no less excited about John and his
work than we were when we first met him 10 years ago.
We await word of song #20,000. We know it will happen
sooner than we think. (NKE)
One of Ray’s recent ventures is Operation
Sharehouse. Gathering a huge base of volunteers, Stop
Hunger Now brings people together in one location to
package bags of dehydrated high-protein rice-soy meals.
Since the program began in December, 2005, 15,000
volunteers have packed more than 5,000,000 meals. In a
recent e-mail from Ray, he reported that these simple-toprepare and tasty meals had already been shipped to a
dozen countries around the world. Most astonishing: each
meal costs only 20 cents. A significant portion of Ziv’s
donation this year was used to help set up a new
Operation Sharehouse facility in Lynchburg, VA. Yasher
Koach to Ray and Stop Hunger Now for providing a
Mitzvah-vehicle for reaching people in need in the far
corners of the earth. (DS)
[John Beltzer, President, c/o Songs of Love, Inc., POB 750809, Forest
Hills, NY, 11375, 800-960-SONG (= 7664) or 718-441-5422,
[email protected],]
5. GUATEMALAN KIPPOT ($15,131.57)
Visually, it is almost a surreal experience. Go to and click on “See Mayaworks
Kippot/Yarmulkas.” At the top of the page is a
photograph of several Guatemalan Mayan women
dressed in their traditional multi-colored blouses and
skirts, and in the middle of the screen is a display of
gorgeous, multi-colored kippot. But connecting the two is
really not so difficult: (1) For several years, MayaWorks
had been marketing the handmade products of these
women. (2) The organization frequently takes interested
people on trips to Guatemala to see for themselves how
the work is done in the villages above Lake Atitlan. (3)
On one of those trips, a woman named Becky Berman,
, observed the women at work and — thinking
Mitzvahs — suggested they try making kippot. (4)
Thousands of kippot later, you can see them being worn
by many Jews across North America.
see, this is a multi-faceted Mitzvah: (1) fair trade, (2)
sustainability, (3) family financial stability, (4) Tzedakah
at Maimonides’ highest level by providing employment,
and (5) a real-life example of the verse in Jeremiah 15:19,
-“If you produce precious things
from trash”. (Manos de Madres calls it “repurposing of
trash into crafts”.) At last count, 65 women were
producing the bags, and Susan Moinester, the founder of
this non-profit organization, is the marketing expert who
is getting these beautiful products into stores in many
states. When I have asked groups of pre-Bar and pre-Bat
Mitzvah kids if they would give these as presents for
their friends at their Simcha, the response was always an
enthusiastic, “Yes!” The kids “got” it. This wasn’t just
about another pretty thing to own; it was about multilevel Mitzvah purchasing. To order, contact Susan at
[email protected] (DS)
The MayaWorks website describes the end result
in Guatemala: The work of the kippot crocheters makes a
difference in the daily life of families: it means more food on the
table; it means children can continue their education; it means
the family might be able to bring electricity into their home; it
means there is money to take the bus to town to visit a doctor.
After my lectures, sales are “lively”. People are
understandably attracted to them because they are so
beautiful. Individuals buy them. Some buy them by the
handful for relatives and friends. At least as important,
they may decide to order them in bulk for future Bar and
Bat Mitzvah events, weddings, birthdays, and other
Simchas. It is a “natural”, a double Mitzvah as it were —
actualizing Maimonides’ highest level of Tzedakah, i.e.,
providing work for others, and -Hiddur
Mitzvah, making Mitzvahs particularly beautiful. We
encourage our readers to continue to order great
numbers of these kippot. (The women also make beautiful
beaded mezuzzot.) It is an easy, direct way to make a
huge difference in many lives. This is what Ziv has tried
to do in so many ways over the years — to have a great
impact through relatively simple, straightforward efforts.
At first glance, the idea of Casting for Recovery’s
retreats to teach fly fishing for women who have had
breast cancer surgery doesn’t really “grab” most of the
people in my audiences. Still, there are a few women who
spontaneously swing their arms as if they are casting a
fishing line. They “get” it, at least the physical benefits of
the program. While some — again, when they first hear
about it — consider it “light weight” on a scale of
Mitzvahs and therapy, those who have participated in
this incredibly creative week-end most certainly do not.
The experience suffuses their being, and gives them a
sense that (1) Cancer shall not dominate their lives, (2)
they passionately want more than ever to live, and (3)
they want to live to do good for others. As one
participant expressed it, “Where did the day go? ....This
is the first time in 5 years I haven't thought about my
cancer. Thank you!” This woman is not denying the
challenges of “dealing with” breast cancer. Indeed, the 14
attendees, the instructors, and other staff members
understand that only too well. But after this amazing
weekend, the participants are no longer emotionally and
psychologically obsessed and feeling overtaken by the
disease. In all, 3,000 women have participated in this
extraordinary experience.
We note that Kathleen Morkert, who has
directed MayaWorks for nine years, is now retiring and
turning to other endeavors. No doubt some of her future
activities will change many lives for the better in other
areas of Tikkun Olam.
Over the years, our donations have also provided
furniture for schools, quantities of school supplies,
subsidies for a Spanish language teacher. We have also
taken care of several other needs to make life easier for
these wonderful women and their families. This year,
besides the turnaround of purchasing and re-selling the
kippot and other Jewish products, we donated money for
various items for the Mayan weavers and for an adult
literacy program. (DS)
There are, of course, hundreds of quotes like the
one mentioned above. CFR is all about Life, and nature,
the flowing stream, the rhythm of the casting itself and
“being away from it all”, and being with others “any age,
any stage” with whom to cry, to laugh and to be alive. All
of this combined contributes to the wonder of the
experience. And, no, almost none of the women have
ever been fly fishing before. And, yes, there are many
who hear about it and who understandably dismiss it
because it is so remote from their own Life-experiences.
Others consider it frivolous. Nevertheless, on occasion
one or two imitate the arm-swinging motion. Among
them are survivors, and they understand the post-surgery
physical benefits. The physical aspect is, of course, only
one part of the retreat. A very partial list of the other
[MayaWorks, Sarah Cunningham, Product Manager, 1723 W. Hubbard
St., 1A, Chicago, IL 60622, 312-243-8050, [email protected],]
Mitzvah Purses: They are called “Trash Bags”.
Honduran village women produce purses and clutches
from potato chip and other food bags that would
otherwise add toxic substances to the earth’s landfills.
Similar to the Mayan kippot project mentioned above, this
work provides significant income for the women and their
families. You can view the products on the Manos de
Madres website As you will
benefits includes the psychological and emotional
support, the bonding, the calm of the stream, the need to
focus, and the group’s reinforcement that cancer will not
dominate their lives.
for its own sake. I am always enriched by the deep, wideranging, and passionately-articulated content of Rabbi
Rosenn’s insights. -May he go from
one strength to another, bringing to fruition any and all
of his unique ways of leading young people to a greater
commitment to Tikkun Olam. (DS)
Last year, a total of 500 women attended CFR’s
36 retreats in 27 states, Canada, and the United
Kingdom. Unfortunately, 800 more women were turned
away for lack of funding. Each regional representative
who organizes the retreat is responsible for raising funds,
so go to CFR’s website, find your nearest person, and find
ways to donate. And ask for a handful, stack, or box of
brochures to give both to oncologists and to women who
might possibly want to have this Life-changing
experience on a retreat. In more than four decades of
week-end lecturing, I have never experienced a time as
intense and beautiful as when I attended CFR’s 10th
Anniversary reunion last year. (DS)
[AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, Rabbi David Rosenn, 45 W. 36th
Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10018, 212-545-7759, [email protected],]
It is now more than 2½ years since the
catastrophic events of Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf
Coast. And still, the needs are so great; it is difficult to
calculate just how much it will take to piece the
survivors’ lives back together. The scope of destruction
and the sheer number of repair jobs and rebuilding
projects that still need to be done remain enormous.
[Casting for Recovery, PO Box 1123, Manchester, VT 05254 (street
address: 3952 Main Street), Seline Skoug, 888-553-3500 or 802-362-9181,
[email protected],]
Organized by Naomi, people representing Ziv
have been down to the Mississippi Coast on three
occasions, the two most recent ones in November, 2007,
and February, 2008. (The February group included
Rabbi Steven Bayar and several volunteers from his
congregation. I was “fortunate” (what word could
possibly be appropriate?) to be with our people in
November. We were “fortunate”, yes, in that we had an
individual, Sue Halpern, who has worked tirelessly in the
area since the beginning of reconstruction. She was Ziv’s
crucial point person in all our endeavors.
7. AVODAH-,
, My teacher, friend, and
student, Rabbi David Rosenn saw a need in the Jewish
community, and he immediately dedicated great personal
effort to doing something about it. He just knew that
something was missing. He knew that there were many
college graduates who wanted to do something Jewishly to
change the world, and his solution is -AVODAH,
The Jewish Service Corps. His goal: To have these
idealistic, motivated, and enthused individuals between
the ages of 21 and 26 spend a year combining communal
Jewish living, Torah study, and Tikkun Olam. Each
AVODAHnik is matched with a local program devoted to
improving the lives of others.
And we were “fortunate” that two of Ziv’s people
sent 18-wheeler truckloads of items to donate: one filled
with every conceivable kind of new household
furnishings, the other with food supplies. The value of
goods donated through our connections exceeded
$3,000,000, besides the Ziv checkbook and credit card
used for individual needs: a crib, a dresser, a stove.
While, in itself, the concept of AVODAH is
impressive, the reality is that it works. And yet more
impressive: Rabbi Rosenn laid out his plans and began to
move on his vision while still in rabbinical school. And
still more impressive is how AVODAH has expanded:
Rabbi Rosenn began with just one house and nine
carefully selected participants. A few months from now,
AVODAH will open its 8th home — three in New York,
two in Washington, two in Chicago, and one in New
Orleans. There are 41 participants in this year’s
program, 63 next year, and, in all, 268 individuals have
made the serious commitment to “doing it Jewishly”.
The true story, though, is the people, the ones
who came to the place where we, along with many other
volunteers, sorted the thousands of items. Then the
people came, sent by the various social service agencies.
They were welcomed and told they should take whatever
they needed for whatever stage of rebuilding they were at
on that date. During my time there, I only noticed one
extended family taking advantage. Accompanied by a
volunteer, the rest of them made the rounds of the room,
took what they needed, loaded their cars and pick-up
trucks, and went back to make their homes that much
more livable.
-How fortunate are teachers whose students
exceed them. Rabbi Rosenn was a Ziv Summer Intern in
1993, and we have stayed in close contact since. I have
observed AVODAH practically since the time Rabbi
Rosenn conceived of the idea, watched it expand, and
have discussed with him its natural growth long into the
future; we have exchanged more than theoretical ideas,
thoughts and visions about AVODAH. More often than
not we “talk Torah”, either about Tikkun Olam or -
Though we asked for no thank-yous, the citizens
of this area of the Gulf Coast needed to thank us —
from a shy, quiet whisper to one who held nothing back.
As described to me from the last trip, this is the story:
Ziv was using Tzedakah money to buy mattresses, many
mattresses. When the arrangements had been made at
the store, the store owner said he wanted to offer a
prayer. His words were words of thanks for Ziv’s
presence, and blessings for the welfare of those who came
down to do the Good Work. By all accounts, it was a
most moving moment, as was the phrase one woman
used, “Ain’t nothin’ the good Lord takes away from you
that He don’t give back”. There are barely any words to
describe the way our volunteers absorbed a deeper
understanding of being the Holy One’s partners. Surely
this was one of those moments when “Heaven and earth
is holding them back from getting on with Life. Keith
has worked out all the necessary details of
documentation, and his website is the vehicle for making
this happen — one individual at a time. Modest Needs
has a floating maximum grant of $1,000 or the amount of
a single monthly rent or mortgage payment (whichever is
higher) for one-time assistance. In this way, Modest
Needs pays the critical bill, and Life goes on as it should
because Tzedakah works.
Using cyberspace as a tool for Tzedakah can be
very tricky. Websites are often deceptive or unreliable.
Modest Needs, however, has clearly demonstrated that
with the web as a tool, you can do real grassroots Tikkun
Olam in a direct, efficient, and absolutely reliable way.
Writing about the “lessons” to be learned does
not do justice to those days in Mississippi. Beyond all
lessons is the enormous raw tragedy of the people who
suffered and are still hurting. Nevertheless, it is
important to note the following: (1) Yes, the American
government and huge non-profits failed. (2) The pastors
of various churches have risen to the occasion, giving
more than 2½ years to their people with utter selflessness
and the full measure of human sympathy and kindness.
(3) We were just one group among hundreds that have
come South to do their part — youth groups, church
groups, synagogue groups, individuals from every corner
of America and beyond. Their numbers are staggering,
and though the remaining work is so extensive, I have
the sense that these people will keep coming, which leads
to (4) Did we make a difference? Absolutely! There is not
the least doubt that many lives were changed for the
better as a result of our efforts.
[Modest Needs, Dr. Keith Taylor, 115 E 30th St, FL 1, New York, NY
10016, 212-463-7042, [email protected],]
2. FAMILY-TO-FAMILY ($12,300)
While not every Tikkun Olam program begins
with a revelatory moment, Pam Koner’s Family-toFamily definitely did. One day — (this particular kind of
Mitzvah story always begins with “one day”) — one day,
Pam was reading an article in The New York Times about
Pembroke, Illinois, a community one hour south of
Chicago. She was so devastated by the residents’ poverty
and lack of job opportunities; she felt she had to do
something. The result was a process of human Mitzvahpartnerships: Families who had the means would make a
12-month commitment to sending a monthly package to
one of Pembroke’s families. Each package suits the
specific needs of the partnered family.
Looking back at my own personal experience,
despite the incredible intensity, there was an aura of
holiness, -Kedushah to these brief days of Tikkun
Olam, “even unto” the sorting of plates and silverware,
folding towels neatly, and the shlepping of furniture.
We encourage everyone to join in the effort, until all
whose lives were torn apart can once again feel a sense of
-Shalom Bayit, peace in their homes. (DS)
What Pam discovered was that it worked, and it
worked well. And the way it worked and how well it
worked struck a chord with more donor families than she
could have imagined. Encouraged by her initial success,
she expanded the scope of her work to include other
communities whose citizens were living through hard
times. Pam estimates that families are now receiving
6,000 packages a month. A quote from Arma Woods,
Family-to-Family’s contact person in Montrose,
Arkansas, says it best:
1. MODEST NEEDS ($3,000)
Family-to-Family has made a lasting
difference in the lives of the families who live here.
This program came at a time to the families here when
they really needed that, what we call, "box of hope."
To have someone in another part of the country
thinking about helping and showing love to another
family…these families had no idea that someone in
another part of the country really cared about them.
Dr. Keith Taylor, PhD, was already entrenched
in academic life when he recalled his graduate student
days when he struggled to make ends meet. He was
living on a stipend that was simply inadequate for his
modest needs. He felt that his entire career was in
danger of falling apart because of that one time when he
couldn’t pay the rent. Then someone did step in and paid
the rent for him. Several years later, as a young and upand-coming professor, he remembered that kindness and
decided to do something similar for just one other person.
He did, but he got “hooked”. Now his rapidly-expanding
organization, Modest Needs, does it again and again for
people who just need to solve that one financial crisis that
In addition, Pam has developed relief programs
for victims of Hurricane Katrina, birthday celebrations,
and a strategy for corporations to get involved. As time
goes on, Pam continues to discover more ways to provide
directly for individuals and families. Family-to-Family’s
[Baby Corner, Jeannie Jaybush, 900 Boylston Ave, #1, Seattle, WA, 98104,
206-726-1435, [email protected],]
success is largely due to Pam’s staggering organizational
abilities. She cares about others. Pam cares in a big way,
but what makes it work is that she is a maestra of
Mitzvah logistics. We encourage Ziv’s people to directly
support Pam’s efforts in any one of her programs. In
addition, if you are involved in some Mitzvah work that
has to expand because of the need, contact this amazing
woman for guidance. (DS)
4. CARIDAD CENTER ($5,000)
The Caridad Center in Boynton Beach, FL, is
named for Caridad Asensio. The background (slightly
edited) is described on the website:
In 1971, a woman named Caridad Asensio
began working with migrant families as a community
health worker for the Palm Beach County school
district. She witnessed the extreme poverty, the lack of
medical and dental care, the substandard housing
conditions and the lack of food and clothing facing
these hardworking families. Founded in 1989 by
Caridad and her friend and co-visionary, Connie
Berry, the Caridad Center provides free medical and
dental care to a large population of agricultural
workers, laborers and the working poor of Palm Beach
County through the dedicated work of more than 500
licensed professional and community volunteers.
[Family-to-Family, c/o Pam Koner, 6 Circle Drive, Hastings-on-Hudson,
NY 10706, 914-478-0756, [email protected],]
3. ST. JOSEPH’S BABY CORNER ($9,231.46)
In many ways, working with Jeannie Jaybush, cofounder (with Renée Leet) and Executive Director of
Seattle’s St. Joseph’s Baby Corner, is like The Old Days
of Ziv. At various times, Ziv would contact her and asks,
“What do you need?” Or Jeannie would contact us and
tell us what she needed. (Jeannie is never shy when it
comes to listing anything and everything for babies and
their parents.) Then, depending on how much Tzedakah
money was available, we would “just do it”.
In the beginning, what was then known as the
Migrant Association of South Florida (MASF) provided
dental and medical care from a modest second-hand
mobile home that it had converted into a clinic. Now it
has expanded and just last year accomplished the
following: (1) Caridad Center provided services to more
than 7,000 individual children and adults from 30
countries who live in economically disadvantaged
circumstances. Almost 1/3 were children. (2) Almost 550
licensed professional and non-licensed volunteers
provided 25,000 hours of in-kind services valued at
$1,967,000. (3) The Health Clinic provided 22,500
medical and dental patient visits. (4) The Center
acquired mobile homes for more than 170 families to
reduce the risk of homelessness and to promote selfsufficiency. (5) The School Educational Enrichment
Program provided 53 underserved children with
homework assistance, tutoring, and literacy programs. (6)
1,747 lab tests, 432 X-rays, and 433 diagnostic referrals
were provided. (7) 686 women received breast care
education, exams and/or mammograms. (8) 100% of
students in the After School Enrichment Program
graduated to the next grade level, and 89% improved at
least one letter grade in their report cards. (9) 726
children received school supplies at the start of the school
year. (10) Eight college students received tuition
assistance to attend Palm Beach Community College. (11)
45 children attended the YMCA summer camp. (12) The
Outreach Services program provided more than 2,000
families with emergency food, clothing, holiday gifts, and
In December, it will be two decades that this
program has been touching the lives of thousands of
babies and their families. Jeannie has built an awesome
network of social workers, nurses, and other hospital staff
members who provide the names of those who should
receive what Jeannie is ready to provide for them.
Jeannie knows thousands of Seattle’s human stories.
Because of her efforts, many of them need not become
tales of despair.
Now, three practical things to do based on our
teacher Jeannie’s Torah-of-Goodness:
1. Infant car seats: Synagogues, schools,
communal organizations and agencies, businesses, and
corporations can easily organize a collection of car seats
families are no longer using. Some express hesitation
because of safety concerns, changing government
regulations, and legal issues. The answer is simple:
Contact Jeannie. She knows everything you need to know,
including how to find an appropriate distributor in your
community. Every single car seat potentially saves a life.
2. Mitzvah cribs: Jeannie was the first. She
placed a crib in her church, a fitting container for
donations to Baby Corner. Now, hundreds of synagogues,
Jewish schools, and communal agencies have placed
Mitzvah cribs in a prominent location in their buildings.
We encourage others to do the same.
3. Finding “Jeannies”: I was introduced to
Jeannie years ago by -my student
and teacher, Beth Huppin. Beth insisted that I meet
Jeannie. If we increase the number of people we know
who know Mitzvah heroes, we also benefit.
Those are only some of the basic “facts”. But
there’s more to the story of Ziv’s involvement. I was
fortunate to meet Caridad many years ago. In Ziv’s
history, the circumstances were not unusual: When I was
invited to speak to the local Jewish Federation Young
Leadership Group, a Jewish doctor who volunteered for
In sum: Yasher Koach to Beth and, most of all to
Jeannie, our teacher in Tikkun Olam. (DS)
[Youngstown Community Food Center, Inc., and Gleaners Food Bank, Inc.,
Joseph Lordi, Director, POB 3587, Boardman, OH 44513, 330-746-8436,
[email protected]]
Caridad insisted that I meet her. I was immediately
enamored of and inspired by her and the magic
partnership of Caridad-and-Connie. Both their devotion
to the migrant workers and their determination to
change so many lives for the better moved me to one of
my frequent thoughts, “If I only had unlimited Tzedakah
money,...” No small part of that wish comes from being a
grandchild of immigrants from The Old Country, and
their own struggles to establish better lives for
themselves and their offspring.
Mitzvah Shopping: Some people have an eye for art or
beauty; others, a nose for trouble or a palate for wine.
There are helping hands and happy feet; while some
people rise to the occasion or stand by their beliefs. And
some people shop. Actually some people have an eye for a
bargain and a nose for a sale. That would not be just any
sale, but an at-least-75%-off sale.
Thanks to the
American marketplace and consumer mentality, colors
become obscure in a single season, and “out of season”
items are the very ones we actually wear half the year
thanks to the real-world weather; no one buys a torn
package, anything on the floor for ‘X’ number of days is
beyond its prime…and the resulting sales are just the
time to shop. And shop BIG. 1,500 pair of sweat socks
reduced because the packaging had changed…1,000
toddler sweatshirts and pants that had fallen through the
computerized cracks of a warehouse system and were
found too late to be regularly priced…dozens of red robes
the week after Christmas (those would be 80% off + a
10% coupon for being there before 10am)…and
thousands of items “just because”….
Over the years, we have donated whatever money
we could. This year Connie requested subsidy for a
translator for Creole speakers and for playground
equipment. We could manage that, and we did that, and
now leave it to others to visit the Caridad Center, observe
the miraculous work, and, hopefully find donors who will
just do it, fulfill all their dreams now. (DS)
[Caridad Center, Barbara Villaseca, Executive Director, 8645 W. Boynton
Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach, FL 33437, 561-737-6336, Connie Berry 561963-3473 (h), 561-434-7348 (w), [email protected],]
Joseph Lordi’s Mitzvah work has appealed to us
ever since we learned about it almost 20 years ago.
Having been through hard times himself, and
remembering the extreme difficulties he and his family
faced, Joseph established a food bank that now provides
for 4,000 families monthly free of charge. Youngtown has
been an economically-depressed community for several
years. Joseph and his volunteers work long, physicallyexhausting hours, because they know they just have to
provide for others. Otherwise, how would the people
have decent food to eat?
The sport of shopping…and the Mitzvah. It stirs
the heart and excites the imagination. Let the runners
run and the singers sing…the band plays on and the beat
goes on. And we shop. (SH)
As with many of the Mitzvah programs that Ziv
supports, the story of the Educate the Children
Foundation began with “one day”. As described in last
year’s Annual Report, these are the origins of this
beautiful Mitzvah program:
Joseph receives most of the food from various
distributors, and a recent e-mail reported astonishing
quantities of food Joseph has recently given away:
The story of Educate the Children began with
a moment of revelation. Two successful people, Faye
Clarke, a businesswoman, and her husband, Frank,
involved in the world of communications, happened to
visit a school in Alabama. They were appalled that
the students didn’t even have the most basic supplies
that would allow them a decent chance to attain the
blessings of an education. The initial funds came from
Faye’s personal retirement account, eventually
building the organization on private donations and
foundation grants. For more than 17 years since
Educate the Children was founded in 1991, Frank
and Faye distributed much more than $30,000,000
worth of educational supplies — including reading
books, computer equipment and software — to schools
and institutions throughout the United States.
We have distributed over 1,500,000, pounds
of food last year plus 250,000 pounds of dairy and
milk products. Since January of this year we are up
20%. We are supplying over 120 agencies, churches,
VA clinics, women's shelters, and the Rescue Mission.
We were able to send two truck loads of goods to New
Orleans, one to El Salvador, one to Honduras, and
one to Mexico. We have distributed to 4,000 families
per month from our warehouse.
Still, it is frequently a struggle to keep the
operation going. Crisis often follows crisis: Who will pay
for truck repairs, insurance, and utility bills? Ziv has
managed to solve many of those problems in the past, and
we just know that others who appreciate performing the
Mitzvah of -Ha'achalat Re'ayvim, feeding
hungry people in the most direct way will make certain
Joseph can continue his work without worry about
paying the bills. (DS)
In the fall of 2007, the Clarkes decided to close
ETC’s operations. Several reasons led to this decision,
among them: (1) They were now in their 70’s and could
no longer manage the program the way it was supposed
to be in their vision, even though they had scaled it back
somewhat. (2) They could look back on their work and
established a similar program in Boston several years
ago. We hope that other communities will follow suit.
feel good because they had accomplished so much. (3)
They did not feel there was anyone who could manage
the program with the touch and style that was uniquely
theirs. (4) But they knew that, among the thousands of
people they had inspired, there would be others who, in
their own way, would work to bring various aspects of
the program’s educational opportunities to students in
need. (5) There were yet other kinds of Tikkun Olam
they would do at a different pace and in a different
manner, without the worries of Educate the Children’s
day-to-day operations.
In the past few years, the media has publicized
some incredibly large Tzedakah donations, many to
universities and museums: $10,000,000, $20,000,000,
even $100,000,000 from individuals. Most “simple folk”
cannot even imagine what those staggering sums mean,
either in terms of Tzedakah or in “regular” life — and
justifiably so, since they have no contact with that kind of
Reading these articles, you can readily
understand that there are different kinds of Tzedakah.
For example, only Big Money can certain things like
building buildings and endowing operations.
Not unexpectedly, because of their extreme
devotion to the welfare and dignity of others, particularly
children, Frank and Faye are involved in yet more
Mitzvah projects. Now they are focusing their efforts in
two areas: (1) Rehabilitating the former child soldiers
who have been maimed as a result of the Sierra Leone
Civil War over the illegal trade in diamonds, and (2) the
plight of abused women in Senegal.
At the other end of the scale — measured solely in
dollars and cents — are “small” Tzedakah funds. I have
never believed, nor have I taught, that there is such a
thing as a “small” sum of Tzedakah money. The following
sections describe three Tzedakah programs that have
certain common features: (1) Direct (“front-line”)
Tzedakah-money solutions to immediate individual
problems, (2) extraordinary skill in making every dollar
count, (3) extremely low overhead or none at all, (4)
simple operations and minimal or no bureaucracy, (5) the
highest standards of Jewish values, (6) fiscal
transparency, and (7) the ultimate trustworthiness and
integrity of those who manage the funds. Each has its
own history, and each may emphasize different areas of
Tzedakah, but these attributes are integral to all of them.
Our donation was given during ETC’s final
months of operation and, as in the past, had a significant
impact on the lives of many students who otherwise
would have been stalled in their education.
My wish for Frank and Faye: Many more years
of Mitzvahs, performing them with their gentle human
touch, as only they can do. And more: May those who
have learned Ziv’s way, go to Long Beach, California, to
learn from the Best of the Best the Way of Tikkun Olam.
I recall the rich and famous who shlepped to India in the
60’s and 70’s to learn wisdom from gurus. You will not
need not travel half way round the world to absorb the
meaning of Life as Mitzvahs. As you have trusted me for
27 years, trust me now. Meet them and be blessed.
[email protected], 562.493.5981. (DS)
If you are considering establishing a formal nonprofit Tzedakah fund, you would do well to contact
directly the people who have given the present shape to
these organizations. They will review the process of
founding and registering a fund, detail both the “highs”
and the struggles to keep up with the demands, and
answer any questions you may have about this distinct
type of Mitzvah work. And for those of you who have
followed Ziv since it was founded, it will be obvious how
much their operations resemble Our Early Days.
For the very poor people who live in the area of
Shreveport, Louisiana, The Christian Service Program
has been nothing short of a life-saver. Founded by the
late Sister Margaret McCaffrey, , this small but very
important program provides for life’s most basic
necessities: food for sustenance, medical care, allimportant literacy programs, and clothing for warmth
and decency. Despite Sister Margaret’s having passed
away more than 10 years ago, the CSP continues to
operate with a small staff and dedicated volunteers. Once
again, our contribution funded critical human services.
1. KAVOD-($750)
Many things impress me about Kavod, among
them: (1) The founder, , my teacher,
my friend, and my student, Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback,
founded -Kavod in 1993 while he was still in
rabbinical school. He didn’t want to wait until “Real Life
In the Big World Out There” begins. (2) Rabbi Zweiback
not only “gets it” about Mitzvah heroes, but also that
many other Ziv principles, are an integral part of Kavod’s
way of thinking. (3) Several of his board members were
part of a dazzling rabbinical school class. For these
rabbis, whether in pulpits or in Jewish organizational life,
Tikkun Olam is a integral and emphatic aspect of their
teaching. (4) In addition to radically changing lives
through the Tzedakah money Kavod donates, a
[Christian Service Program, POB 21, Shreveport, LA 71161, Brother
Giovanni Reid, 318-221-4857,,
[email protected],]
Jewish Free Legal Services: Bet Tzedek-, “The
Place Where Tzedek/Justice Happens”: Bet Tzedek was
the pioneer when it was established as a free-standing
community agency. Inspired by LA’s
program success, our good friend, Joy Rothenberg,
esteem — besides, of course, being fun, something more
often than not all-too-lacking in their lives. For some
children, it may even be a turning point toward a more
hopeful view of the future. (DS)
significant aspect of Kavod’s work is educating others
about more insightful ways of doing Tzedakah and
Gemillut Chassadim.
Among Kavod’s educational efforts is its
impressive Fellowship Program. Focusing on select
rabbinic, education, and cantorial students, (1) Kavod
gives them Tzedakah money, (2) they have to raise
matching funds, (3) they report back after distributing
the money, and (4) together they evaluate the decisions.
[Female Hebrew Benevolent Society, 2125 Delancey Place, Philadelphia,
PA 19103, Eileen S. Sklaroff, President, 215-545-3841,
[email protected],]
3. YAD CHESSED-($3,000)
The word “-Tzedakah” has a very broad
range of meanings, including “justice”, ”fairness,” and
“doing the right thing.” So it is certainly fair to say that
since 1989, Robert Housman’s Yad Chessed has been
doing Tzedakah in the Greater Boston area just right.
Robert reaches individuals and solves very real problems.
Yad Chessed’s three basic instruments of Tzedakah are
(1) outright grants for emergencies, (2) loans, and (3)
monthly food certificates — using whichever method is
most appropriate for each individual. Robert reported to
me a few of Yad Chessed’s “numbers” for 9/1/068/31/07. Yad Chessed distributed $122,505 in direct
assistance (compared with $136,383 the previous year),
$73,166 for food, $24,431 for housing, $488 for clothing,
$3,631 for medical and dental needs, $5,444 for heat, $5,168
for other utilities, and $10,178 for other necessities such as
moving expenses, beds, and job-related car expenses, 95,885 in
interest-free loans…
To give you a better sense of the extent of
Kavod’s work, here are Kavod’s “numbers”: In 2007, these
Menschen allocated $85,623.00. Since Kavod was founded
in 1993, it has distributed a total of $654,173.53, with an
overhead of only $75.48. We are delighted with Kavod’s
development, and are proud that we have played a part in
its very existence from even before Day One. We are
confident that Kavod will continue Ziv’s work in many
ways. (DS)
[KAVOD, 8914 Farnam Court, Omaha, NE 68114, Judy Zweiback, 402397-1975, [email protected],]
In the early years of the 19th century, Christian
missionaries were a major source of outreach to poor
people in Philadelphia. Among the needy were Jews
living in poverty, particularly women and children.
Along with food, clothing and shelter, the missionaries
offered a hearty dose of religious indoctrination. In
reaction, two women from Congregation Mikveh Israel
enlisted their friends to establish the Female Hebrew
Benevolent Society. Rebecca Gratz was drafted as the
first secretary. Since 1819, this marvelous Mitzvah
program has continued to meet the needs of Jewish
women experiencing severe financial difficulty. It
remains the oldest Jewish Tzedakah fund in continuous
existence in the United States.
During that fiscal year, Robert distributed a total
of $292,484.49 Tzedakah dollars — with the utmost
integrity and sensitivity, and with overhead costs of barely
more than six-tenths of one percent! The end result is
expressed by one recipient: “You...have helped us literally
survive all these past few years.” Yasher Koach to
Robert, our good friend of many years and partner in
personalized Tikkun Olam. (DS)
[Yad Chessed, 46 Columbia St., Brookline, MA 02446, Robert Housman,
617-787-1133, [email protected],]
For the past 15 years, our good friend, Eileen
Sklaroff, has been the president of the FHBS. It is a
supremely fine example of front-line, one-on-one Mitzvah
work. In the fiscal year ending April 30, 2007, FHBS
distributed $111,000, with an overhead of less than
$2,000. Nearly 200 different women, many with family
and other dependents, were reached, 11 of whom received
monthly stipends. To each, the Society's contribution is
crucial, often life-saving. In the array of Philadelphia's
communal Tikkun Olam network, the FHBS clearly
serves a critical purpose because its very nature is an
extremely personalized manner of Jewish caring. We
believe other communities should meet Eileen, learn from
the FHBS model, and establish a similar fund, if it does
not already exist locally. (And if you begin now, in 2197
someone can write about your own 189-year-long
E. -BAL TASHCHIT-
The name Herman Berman is one you would not
forget — rhyming, rhythmic, and mellifluous. The man
behind the name is also not so easily forgotten. Indeed,
he is someone almost larger than life. Herman is in his
80’s, and like many of his generation, he never forgot the
hunger he knew as a child. It was indelibly imprinted on
his mind. He also knows that that very same feeling of
hunger is a fact of life for many poor people living in the
ostensibly wealthy San Fernando Valley.
He is
particularly disturbed that so many of them are kids who
sit in school every day without benefit of a nutritious
breakfast to sustain them through a day of learning.
This year, our donation was applied to camp
scholarships for children for whom the experience gives
relief from hard time and an enormous boost in self-
But Herman and his B’nai B’rith Bagel Brigade of
mostly retired volunteers are making a difference. His
Mitzvah chevra makes daily visits to local food
establishments, retrieves unsold products, and delivers
them to local schools where both children and their
families are able to benefit from this bounty. In addition,
donated funds are used to purchase large quantities of
cereal, which is served to the students each morning. One
man, joined by others who share his vision — that is how
the world is changed for the better. Yasher Koach,
Herman. We wish you many more years of Mitzvahs in
the best of health! (NKE)
Dr. William Rosenblatt is a distinguished
professor of anesthesiology at Yale University’s School of
Medicine. Over the course of time, he became so troubled
by the quantity of unused, retrievable, and donatable
operating room supplies that was being thrown out, he
decided to do something about it. The result: In 1991, he
founded REMEDY, which, quoting the website, “…is a
group of health care professionals and others promoting the
nationwide practice of recovery of exposed-but-unused surgical
supplies. The end goal of our mission is to provide
international medical relief while reducing solid medical waste
from US hospitals”. Since then, hundreds of hospitals have
donated many millions of dollars worth of supplies to
organizations around the world, including items we
simply take for granted such as gloves, sutures, drapes,
and gowns.
[Herman Berman, The Bagel Brigade, 14236 Chandler Blvd., Sherman
Oaks, CA 91401, 818-788-4230, [email protected]]
Numbers, numbers, numbers! When reviewing
the work of the Society of St. Andrew during its nearly30-year history, just one of its programs — gleaning
fresh fruits and vegetables from our nation’s fields — is
sufficient to leave you in awe of the power of Mitzvahs.
REMEDY has all the answers readily available
for anyone who inquires: What items may be donated,
liability and insurance issues, government regulations,
ethical considerations, shipping information, costs —
everything. The first step is to surf REMEDY’s website,
then to call, then to encourage your local hospital to
learn how to select appropriate recipients. It just makes
no sense to Dr. Rosenblatt — or to any of us — that
someone should suffer unnecessarily simply because
someone didn’t take the first or second step.
Here are a few examples from this past year
alone: 10,561,328 pounds of potatoes were gleaned, along
with 9,747,810 pounds of other produce, yielding more
than 20,000,000 total pounds of healthy food or almost
61,000,000 servings! Close to 30,000 volunteers make these
remarkable figures possible. Since the gleaning program
began, 366,000 volunteers have taken part in almost 24,000
gleaning events. The farmers and growers who offer
gleaning possibilities number in the thousands, as do
thousands of agencies who receive the food to distribute
to people who would otherwise go without. And, as
impressive as those statistics are, make note of this: Since
SOSA was founded all of its programs have retrieved
547,000,000 pounds of food. Calculating 1/3 of a pound
per serving, that comes to 1,640,000,000 servings. When
you first read the number, you really have to count the
zeroes just to be certain you read it right: That’s 1.64
billion servings. Just imagine how much more healthy
and nutritious food would be retrieved if even more
groups became involved in SOSA’s kind of Tikkun Olam!
In addition, REMEDY continues to develop new
programs that facilitate the process of -pikuach
nefesh, saving lives in distant places by well-thought-out
logistics. REMEDY’s accomplishments are staggering
— Tikkun Olam on The Grand Scale.
One of the glories of this work has been to know
people such as Dr. Rosenblatt. Many years ago, before
she became a Ziv Board member, Darryl Kuperstock
suggested I meet this man and learn about REMEDY.
(Darryl eventually became executive director of
REMEDY for many years.) How fortunate I was to get
to know him. I repeat what I have said many times in the
past: Everyone can meet the Mitzvah heroes, if only we
are attuned to Tikkun Olam and open to seeking out The
Great Ones. (DS)
We would be remiss if we did not mention in this
final report, the approaching retirement of Ken Horne,
one of SOSA’s founders (along with Ray Buchanan now
of Stop Hunger Now). Since the beginning, Ken has been
one of the most influential visionaries and practicalminded leaders, guiding the organization to its present
position as one of the pre-eminent food-retrieval
operations in the country. Ken will continue to do
presentations on SOSA’s behalf, but otherwise will settle
in as Director Emeritus. A hearty Mazal Tov to Ken for
all that he has accomplished. It has been an honor for us
to be part of his work. (NKE)
[REMEDY- Recovered Medical Equipment for the Developing World, 3TMP, 333 Cedar St., POB 208051, New Haven, CT 06520, 203-7375356, Tammy L. Young, Executive Director, [email protected],]
For more than 20 years, Ranya Kelly has
salvaged millions of dollars worth of new merchandise
which was destined to be trashed. Instead, she takes it
and distributes it to appropriate recipients. Ranya’s
Tikkun Olam work became The Redistribution Center, a
most appropriate name. She has won over store owners,
local companies, corporations, and what she receives, she
distributes locally and to people at great distances
including Native American reservations, areas devastated
by natural disasters, and the Former Soviet Union — by
[Society of St. Andrew/The Potato Project, 3383 Sweet Hollow Rd., Big
Island, VA 24526, Michael Waldmann, Executive Director, toll-free phone:
800-333-4597 or 434-299-5956, [email protected],]
3. REMEDY ($3,000)
the box load, cart load, or truckload. These are massive
quantities of goods: overstocked, out of style, slightly
damaged, but all new.
Ranya works tirelessly,
performing two vital Mitzvahs: -Bal Tashchit,
preventing senseless waste, and, at the other end, doing
Tzedakah Big Time, by providing for thousands of
individuals and families. (DS)
Donating Gently-Used Shoes: Mona Purdy’s Share
Your Soles has the entire system worked out —
collecting gently-used shoes, cleaning them, locating
appropriate recipients, and getting them there — more
than 350,000 pairs of shoes to people in 30 countries.
[email protected],, 708448-4469, (DS)
that brought him and others to establish the DNA Shoah
Project. Organized only two years ago, the Syd’s
inspiring program uses advances in modern technology
to identify the remains of the untold numbers of people
who perished during the Holocaust and were buried in
numerous locations throughout Europe and the Former
Soviet Union. The value of gathering this information is
of particular significance for not only the remaining
aging survivors but also for their children and
grandchildren who know very little about the ultimate
fate of their loved ones. The database also provides a
connection between living relatives who can now be
reunited with those they never knew existed or with
whom they lost contact over the years. Syd and the
scientists working with him are in a race against time. As
survivors age, the number of available DNA samples will
diminish, thus closing the window on this critical base of
To Syd and those working with him – Yishar
Kochachem. This all-important, unique project will give
peace of mind to so many who have endured unspeakable
tragedy. (NKE)
[Ranya Kelly, c/o The Redistribution Center, 12681 West 49th Ave., Wheat
Ridge, CO 80033, 303-431-0904, [email protected],]
Most of Ziv’s work with Shoah survivors and
their rescuers has been accomplished through our
network of Special Agents both in Israel and the United
States. Because of their research, we were able to locate
individuals with specific needs and then respond as much
as our Tzedakah money allowed. Among the most
commonly-requested items were additional nursing care
hours and adult diapers, besides holiday food and
assistance with rent. In addition, the following are three
specific organizations we supported because of their good
work in this area of Tikkun Olam.
[DNA Shoah Project, Syd Mandelbaum, Co-Founder, 405 Oceanpoint
Ave., Cedarhurst, NY 11516, 516-295-0670, [email protected],]
, my teacher, Rabbi Harold Schulweis,
founded the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous in
1986. Non-Jews who had rescued Jewish people during
the Shoah were scattered in many parts of the world.
Many were living in poverty, and, in the natural course of
aging, growing numbers were in poor health. JFR
provides critical monetary support for more than 1,200
aged and needy Righteous Gentiles in 26 countries who
had risked their lives to save Jews. Rabbi Schulweis
understood that, besides recognizing their heroic acts, we
should do whatever possible to insure that they live their
remaining years without financial struggle.
1. THE BLUE CARD ($6,000)
Time is swiftly passing for those who survived
the Shoah. Today, most are in their eighties or older. For
those whom The Blue Card reaches, Life is even more
difficult since the majority live at or below the Federal
poverty level. More than 1,000 people count on The Blue
Card each year, with more than two-thirds living in the
metropolitan New York area. Aside from monthly
stipends, the organization also provides additional funds
for holiday needs, a home emergency response system,
funds for many different types of crisis situations, and
more We have always derived tremendous satisfaction
from being able to facilitate the work of this small but
very effective organization. It operates on a minimal
overhead, but offers maximum help to a very fragile part
of our community. (NKE)
In addition to the monetary help, JFR has an
excellent educational program to teach about this aspect
of the Shoah that has not been taught sufficiently. The
organization’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah Twinning Program
is a brilliant stroke: The young person learns about a
rescuer, tells the story, and becomes an active participant
in Jewish history, bringing to life the sacred Jewish value
of remembering. (DS)
[The Jewish Foundation for The Righteous, Stanlee Joyce Stahl, 305 7th
Avenue #19th floor, NY, NY 10001, 212-727-9955, 888-421-1221,
[email protected],]
[The Blue Card, Elie Rubinstein, 171 Madison Avenue, #1405, NY, NY
10016, 212-239-2251,]
While we know Syd Mandelbaum primarily as a
visionary in the field of hunger and food retrieval, it is
Syd’s professional training and expertise as a scientist
When Danny and I visited the Broad Meadows
Middle School in Quincy, Massachusetts, last year, we
were immediately struck by the values that Ron Adams
and his colleagues are inculcating in their students. This
public school in a working-class district south of Boston
positively exudes a commitment to justice and freedom
from every corner. Lining the walls of the school, from
the front door down the long hallway to Mr. Adams’
classroom, were photos and vignettes of heroes past and
present. Each student had personally selected and written
about one of his or her heroes. Many were names that
were familiar to us: Rosa Parks, Jane Goodall, Bono, etc.
But occasionally we would see an unfamiliar name, until
we looked closer at the text. Then we realized, “Oh,
that’s that girl’s grandmother,” or something similar.
Heroes, one and all, famous or otherwise.
I congratulate the Broad Meadows Middle School
students for extending their support to help their peers in
various parts of the developing world. You will be happy to
know that several students from the School for Iqbal have
graduated to Class 9 and 10 in government schools and some of
them are even in college. We are planning a local support
system so that all children who want to pursue higher education
are not denied their opportunity because of lack of resources.
Pakistan is in difficult circumstances, but…we have just started
a small project in Pakistan in which 250 children already
enrolled in madrassahs (religious schools) will also be given
contemporary education. This promises to be a rewarding
experience and we would like to keep you in touch with the
developments. Meanwhile many regards to you and the students
of BMMS who have been the torch bearers in the struggle to
attain the rights of children the world over. Warm regards,
Fawad and colleagues at the School for Iqbal in Pakistan.
Long-time readers of Ziv Reports will know that
the revolution began at Broad Meadows 14 years ago,
when Iqbal Masih came to speak at the school. Iqbal was
a 12-year-old Pakistani boy who was sold into slavery by
his parents to pay off a $12 debt. When Iqbal and some
other children stole away from their carpet factory to
attend a freedom day celebration in 1992, they learned
that they had inherent rights as children. He gave an
impromptu speech about his suffering which was
documented in the local press. Subsequently, Iqbal
refused to return to his owner. He became an activist and
the worldwide symbol of the fight against child labor.
When Iqbal returned to Pakistan, he was brutally
assassinated. As a result of this tragedy, the Broad
Meadows students were inspired to do something in his
memory to take a stand against the obscenity of child
labor around the world.
Ron and the Quincy kids spoke at our Mitzvah
Heroes Conference at my congregation, Temple Shir
Tikva in Wayland, MA, last October, and they were
devastating. In addition to the profundity of their
inspirational message, we were struck by something else
as well: Each of these 12-year-olds, saved early on from
the forces of cynicism and apathy by this special teacher,
will grow up knowing the power that they have in their
own hands to change the world. To all of them a mighty
Yasher Koach! We encourage all of our readers to visit
the students’ website and to involve your local school,
youth group, or synagogue group in their work. Even
better — if you are near Boston by all means go and meet
them. Ziv’s contribution this year bought them video
equipment and promotional (and ecologically correct!) Tshirts. (RNG)
[A School for Iqbal, c/o Ron Adams, Broad Meadows Middle School, 50
Calvin Rd., Quincy, MA 02169, 617-984-8723, [email protected],]
Under Ron Adams’s gentle and inspired
leadership, the students raised almost $150,000 and
created A School for Iqbal, dedicated to educating the
young children of Pakistan who were living in the same
brutal living conditions that Iqbal endured. A Bullet Can’t
Stop a Dream! became the rallying cry of the after-school
program that Ron and his students organized. These 12year-olds have been recognized nationally and
internationally for their efforts to mobilize the fight
against child labor. A short list of the many awards Ron
Adams and the students have received includes The
Reebok International Youth-in-Action Human Rights
Award (1995); the Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award of
the Union for Reform Judaism (1999), and the Freedom
Lives Award, presented on the steps of the Lincoln
Memorial, on September 11, 2002. Now under the banner
Operation Day’s Work-USA, they have built partnerships
and coalitions around the world to join this fight, as well
as raising funds for various Tikkun Olam programs in a
different country every year.
2. CAMP TO BELONG ($1,500)
What happens when siblings are placed in foster
care, separated not only from parent(s) but also from each
other? For Lynn Price, founder of Camp To Belong, and
her sister Andee, this was the reality, and it became
Lynn’s mission-in-Life to try to help other kids who
found themselves in a similar situation.
CTB is not merely about belonging to a camp
family, but to a personal one as well. The organization
offers children in the child care system an opportunity to
attend summer camp with the siblings from whom they
have been separated through adoption or foster care.
Often CTB provides them with the most intense
opportunity to feel a sense of biological family along with
the sheer fun of summer camp. The experience helps
these children form relationships and memories that will
last a lifetime and provides a sense of refuge in lives that
commonly are characterized by insecurity and all-toofrequent traumatic change. Of the approximately 600,000
children currently in the foster care system, 75% have
A March, 2008, update from their website
includes the following letter from the original School for
Iqbal in Pakistan:
been separated from biological siblings. Camp To Belong
advocates on their behalf and provides for their very
special needs. As in past years, our donation was used to
provide scholarships so that more kids can benefit from
this important experience. We are excited about Lynn’s
vision and her success as CTB expands its work not only
nationally, but internationally as well. (NKE)
entry, but the vast majority passed through New York’s
Castle Garden and Ellis Island. Of those, huge numbers
settled on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. It was a
crowded place where day-to-day Life and scraping
together a living were very hard. Romanticizing about
that time and place, as so often happens in period movies,
cloaks aspects of the reality of tenements, sweatshops,
and pushcarts. Yet, many of them did well and moved to
Brooklyn and Queens, and eventually out to Westchester
and Long Island — many, but not all. Project Ezra works
with those who could not afford to move, or did not want
to move because this was their neighborhood, even
though it was changing.
[Camp To Belong, Lynn Price, 9445 S. Sand Hill Place, Highlands Ranch,
CO 80126, 520-413-1395, 1-888-7-BELONG, [email protected],]
Camp Kesem- (“Magic”): Stanford Hillel students
had the brilliant idea to organize a one-week camp for
kids who have a parent who has or who has had cancer.
Organized -/Alef-to-Tav by the students, camp
opened in 2001. The word spread, and this summer, 800
campers will enjoy a week at 20 locations around the
country — all organized entirely by students at local
universities. (DS)
I count among my good friends Misha Avramoff
who, in 1972, along with a handful of others, founded
Project Ezra to provide a vast array of social services,
activities, and events for those who remained. This was
groundbreaking Tikkun Olam, since these Elders were
only “discovered” a short time beforehand. They were
always there, of course, but only then did this chevra
decide that it was time to do something. Other
communities, having learned from Project Ezra’s
pioneering work, subsequently “discovered” their own
Jewish Elders in the old neighborhoods, and established
similar local programs.
3. WARM WOOLIES ($1,000)
Busy fingers — that is what we visualize when
we read about Kimberly Turnbow’s unusual program,
Warm Woolies. An avid knitter, Kimberly was moved to
action after a friend adopted a child from an orphanage in
the Former Soviet Union. Hearing first-hand the stories
about the conditions in these orphanages and the cold,
wintry weather that is common to that region, Kimberly
came up with the idea of enlisting others with a passion
for knitting to knit hats, gloves, sweaters, vests —
whatever will keep a young child warm. Today, hundreds
of volunteers send their creations to Kimberly, who
passes them on to orphanages in the Former Soviet
Union and to Native American reservations in the United
States. For this year, Kimberly has set a goal of 7,000
knitted items. We have no doubt that she and her
dedicated knitters from throughout the United States and
even some foreign countries, will achieve this impressive
objective. If you like to knit, visit the Warm Woolies
website and learn how you can use your talents to
become part of this unusual effort to keep kids warm.
Project Ezra does so much. Just some of its
programs include: (1) Providing homemakers for a few
hours a day as needed, (2) transportation to events in the
neighborhood and for medical care, to synagogues
throughout the Greater New York area for luncheons, to
gravesites of loved ones, and (3) grocery store vouchers
for those who don’t have enough money to purchase all
the food they need. (Ziv’s donation this year was for food
Reviewing Project Ezra’s history, just
imagine how many individuals have been able to stay in
the familiar home surroundings and not have to move to
assisted living or a nursing home.
Project Ezra’s staff and volunteers are
exceptionally devoted to their work. I would describe
their enthusiasm and vigor as nothing short of awesome.
For them it is neither “just a job”, nor a way to fulfill X
number of community service hours. This is the Mitzvah
of -Hiddur Pnai Zaken, Bringing Out the
Beauty of an Elder’s Face, at its best.
[Warm Woolies, Kimberly Turnbow, 5572 E. Mansfield Avenue, Denver,
CO 80237, [email protected],]
H. OUR ELDERS - 
Particularly now, the younger generation of Jews
barely knows these immigrants. They may not even
know about them. Most likely, young Jews have heard
little Yiddish and rarely connect to their Jewish European
roots except in history books. With this in mind, Project
Ezra’s work assumes great historical significance.
Project Ezra’s Elders are no longer “huddled masses”.
Each one is treated as an individual with dignity and
their sensitive Jewish human touch.
1. PROJECT EZRA ($10,000)
For four decades, until American immigration
laws drastically reduced quotas in 1924, hundreds of
thousands of “huddled masses yearning to breathe free”
came to these shores. The vast majority came from
Eastern Europe, fleeing persecution and extreme poverty.
America was -The Golden Land where there was hope
for a better life.
Yasher Koach Big Time to -my friend
and teacher-in-Mitzvahs since the Glorious Sixties,
Misha, and to all those individuals who make Project
Many entered the United States through
Philadelphia, Baltimore, Galveston, and other ports of
Ezra a Great and Gracious Mitzvah Program of the
highest order. (DS)
supplemental nutrition to many Elders otherwise left to
face the end of their lives in poverty and loneliness.
[Project Ezra, 465 Grand St., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10002, Misha
Avramoff, 212-982-3700, [email protected],]
[Arnie adds:] I first met Myriam Mendilow
through Danny (of course) when I was a staff member on
USY Israel Pilgrimage in the 1970’s. I can never forget
Myriam climbing up on a bench to talk to the teenagers.
Though she was less than 5’ tall in physical stature, she
was a real dynamo, and her words and message lasted a
lifetime. I would visit Myriam often, and enjoyed the time
I spent with her, as I do with all of our Mitzvah heroes.
Once, when I told Myriam that I was taking a job (in
Jerusalem) teaching English, she told me about her days
as a teacher, and lent me a few books about teaching.
Years later, long after she died, I was with David Zahavi,
one of the founders of Yitav 109 (see elsewhere in this
Report), and he told me that Myriam was one of his
teachers! He took out his class picture from many decades
ago, and there he was as a young teen. In the
photograph, Myriam is lovingly surrounded by all of her
2. HATZILU-($1,500)
As is true with so many of the programs we have
supported, a Mitzvah hero or a few good people discover,
recognize, or stumble on a need and begin to respond.
After this awakening, besides a strong sense of caringthat-leads-to-action and commitment, all that is needed
is: (1) A good logistical plan, (2) financial resources, and
(3) others to join in the effort. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 are, of
course, the hard, sometimes overwhelming part. But
with vision, determination, and devotion, the results can
be exceedingly satisfying.
This is how it is with -Hatzilu (“Save!”),
working with Jews in Queens, the Bronx, and Long
Island, mostly Elders, all living on the edge of poverty.
People are referred to Hatzilu by social service agencies,
or discovered by simple publicity or word of mouth. The
Good People of Hatzilu review the needs of each
individual, and to whatever extent their available
resources allow, they solve problems small, medium, and
devastatingly large.
Frequently, when there are
apparently no remaining options for assistance, Hatzilu is
able to step in and help. This is why the organization is
often referred to as the “Mitzvah People of Last Resort.”
What an enormous sense of comfort it must be for so
many people to know Hatzilu “is there for them”.
When Myriam died, I attended her funeral, and
made certain that I took an active part by helping to
carry her body to its final resting place. It was the least I
could do for this giant of a Mitzvah hero. May her
memory be for a blessing-. (AJD)
[Myriam’s Dream, Linda Kantor, President, 52 Wellington Dr., Orange,
CT 06477, 203-795-4580, [email protected],
Contributions: Myriam’s Dream, Inc., c/o Robert Kraus, 907 Four Seasons
Dr., Wayne, NJ 07470.]
We wish all who are involved many more years
of restoring hope and saving lives with their gentle,
compassionate touch. -Lechaim! (DS)
We are often hard-pressed to describe the essence
of Judith-Kate Friedman’s work. We know what she does,
we have witnessed it on compelling videos, and heard
moving words from people who have experienced it first
hand. But it is always difficult to put into our own words
and to convey just how poignant and how important
efforts such as hers are to our Elders and others who can
benefit from this unusual and very effective therapy
[Hatzilu, c/o Mid Island Y JCC, 45 Manetto Hill Rd., Plainview, NY
11803, 516-931-2884, attn: Elissa Friedman, [email protected],]
3. MYRIAM'S DREAM ($2,500)
Myriam Mendilow, , the visionary whose
memory provides the inspiration for this all-volunteer
organization, dreamt of Elders who could live out their
lives surrounded by love, respect, and meaningful work.
Walking the streets of Jerusalem in the very earliest days
of Israel’s existence, Myriam was overwhelmed by the
sad and lonely immigrants who lived in poverty and
despair. She was particularly distressed by the beggars in
the street. Her vision was to provide them with purpose,
with a hot meal, and with a sense of belonging. For many,
many years she did just that until her death several years
ago. For her disciples here in the United States, Myriam’s
dream needed to continue. And it has. Today it lives on
through Myriam’s Dream and its work. From a
bookbindery in Atlantic City, NJ, to isolated communities
of Elders in the Former Soviet Union, to Israel, grants
provided by Myriam’s Dream offer help and hope by
providing community, personal healthcare needs, and
In Judith-Kate’s own words: SONGWRITING
WORKS™ is an internationally recognized creative model for
promoting health through the power of songwriting and
performance. Our hands-on programs serve hundreds of elders,
youth and families each year. We offer trainings and consulting
services for professionals in healthcare, music, expressive arts
therapies, spirituality, and education.
Just as John Beltzer and his composers at Songs
of Love use music to heal broken bodies and spirits,
Judith-Kate encourages our Elders to use their own
creativity to compose music with their very personal and
individual words. This often unlocks memories of times
past, times of happiness and independence and youth.
While watching videos of Judith-Kate’s sessions we have
witnessed a flood of recollections from within the minds
Though ITN began in Portland, Maine, today it
is being replicated throughout the country. Kathy’s
ingenious idea has received the attention of federal and
state authorities who are now faced with the very real
problem of an aging society. The possibilities are
limitless, and we are incredibly proud of the long and
warm relationship we have maintained with Kathy and
ITN. Her vision has finally achieved recognition and will,
no doubt, make a difference in the lives of so many of us
in the future. (NKE)
of Elders seriously impacted by dementia and other
profound neurological impairments. One cannot help but
be moved by the way she facilitates this special work. As
one 87-year-old shared, “What have I learned? Can you put
a count on a sunset?”
Judith-Kate recently reported in a phone
conversation, that therapies such as SONGWRITING
WORKS™ are finally receiving the recognition that they
deserve. Within the past year her work has been
recognized by several national and local groups and we
have no doubt that, as America ages, programs such as
Judith-Kate’s will expand and become the benchmark for
how we can experience our own aging, with grace and
dignity. (NKE)
[ITN, Kathy Freund, 90 Bridge Street, Westbrook, ME 04092, 207-854050, [email protected],]
[Songwriting Works™ , Judith-Kate Friedman, Founding Director, 2023
East Sims Way #271, Port Townsend, WA 98368, local/office 360-3851160, cellphone: 510-710-4878, [email protected],]
We can clearly remember the early days of Jay
Feinberg’s fight for his life. The year was 1991 and Jay,
then a 23 year-old who would seem to have a bright,
successful future in front of him, was diagnosed with
communities throughout this country and abroad
responded to the Feinberg family’s pleas to conduct bone
marrow testing drives in order to find a suitable donor
who might save Jay’s life. From those earlier efforts
which did eventually save Jay’s life, came The Gift of Life
Bone Marrow Foundation, a prominent force in the
Jewish community today. For anyone given the
devastating diagnosis of leukemia, GOL has proven again
and again, to be a compassionate and efficient guide for
patients and their families who must traverse the maze of
bone marrow transplantation.
It has been exactly 10 years since we first met
Kathy Freund, the dynamic, soft-spoken founder of
Independent Transportation Network. In a recent enewsletter circulated by ITN, we noticed an article
entitled “Where in the World is Kathy Freund?” The
article recounted the many trips Kathy has taken in
recent months spreading word of ITN to communities
across the country. In its own very simple words, ITN is
about “Dignified Transportation for Seniors”. In reality,
ITN is so much more: It is about community, about
caring for our Elders, about keeping people vital and
independent despite their failing abilities, and more.
Kathy was a young mother when she was faced
with a tragedy we all fear. Her son, then a 3-year-old
toddler, was hit by a car and critically injured. His total
recuperation was doubtful at first but then, after a long
and arduous period, he did recover and today is a young
man in his twenties. The driver of the car that hit her son
was an older man who should have long ago given up his
license to drive. But what happens some of our Elders if
they are faced with failing abilities? How do they
maintain their independence? How can they function
without a car to get around? How do they keep from
being isolated?
GOL has enrolled more than 120,000 potential
donors in its registry. Its recently-established cord blood
bank has already stored more than 800 units of cord
blood to provide state-of-the-art stem cell transplants.
Gift of Life has facilitated more than 1,500 transplants,
provided 4,400 matches from within their database and
conducted more than 18,100 searches for matching bone
marrow. The numbers are impressive but the human
touch is what is so special about Jay Feinberg and those
who work with him today. (NKE)
[Arnie adds:] On a personal note, I want to share
an experience regarding Gift Of Life and Jay Feinberg. I
first heard of Jay when he decided to try to run a few
drives in Israel in the early 1990’s, hoping to find there
an appropriate match. I immediately got involved and
helped out in any way I could.
Kathy’s personal tragedy led her to create ITN
which provides a cost-effective, Menschlich alternative for
those Elders who can no longer drive safely but still want
to retain their independence. The model is simple: Elders
become dues-paying members of a local ITN, call for
rides when they need them, 7 days a week, 24 hours a
day, and pay a nominal fee for the service. They can ride
alone or with others; the choice is theirs. ITN is
supported by local businesses and the community-atlarge. Both, obviously, have a vested interest in keeping
Elders independent members of the community.
In the fall of 1993, Jay called me on a Friday and
asked me if I wanted to travel to Belarus to look for a
suitable match. Having been unsuccessful in the U.S., he
understandably wanted to pursue every possibility. He
traced his family roots to Belarus, which just a year
[Books, Bears & Bonnets, Inc., c/o Merrily Ansell, 3246 Sussex Way, Vero
Beach, FL 32966 (mailing address). Office: 9513 Kentstone Drive,
Bethesda, MD 20817, 301-601-7581,]
before had opened to the West. Without hesitation, I
agreed and also offered the services of my nephew, Bill
Begal, who also immediately agreed to join me. Just a few
days later, the two of us, along with Anna Solovey, a
doctor originally from Belarus, were on a plane. Despite
collecting hundreds of samples under difficult
circumstances in Minsk, Grodno, and the small dirt-road
hamlet of Sapotzkin, no exact match was found. It was
quite an amazing trip, and though we didn't find Jay's
match, both Bill and I have remained good friends with
Jay and big supporters of his awesome Mitzvah-work.
We, of course, are among the many who rejoiced when he
found his appropriate match. A young woman named
Becky Faibisoff donated the bone marrow that saved Jay’s
life. And we are inspired that he is using his talents to
save the lives of others through his inspirational Mitzvah
work. (AJD)
Therapy in Exchange for Volunteer Time: Psychologist
Dr. Richard Shulman’s Volunteers in Psychotherapy
(VIP), is an excellent program in the Hartford, CT, area
worth replicating in other communities. The essence of
the program is this: Patients receive psychotherapy free
of charge or for a low fee — in exchange for a certain
number of hours of volunteer work. Contact Dr.
Shulman, [email protected], (DS)
Shop Well With You’s website regularly posts excellent
information and additional resources about finding
special clothing for people undergoing cancer treatment.
( A common problem for
patients is a diminished self-image, and the purpose of the
website is to inform people about designs and materials
that are comfortable and complementary. SWY was
founded by Emily Spivack while still a student at Brown.
Despite the gravity of the situation, she responded proactively to some of her mother’s issues while fighting
several bouts with cancer. (DS)
[Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, Inc., 7700 Congress Ave., Suite
2201, Boca Raton, FL 33487, 800-9-MARROW (962-7769), 561-9880100, [email protected],]
We first reported on the work of Michael
Aichenbaum and Hosts for Hospitals in 2001 when the
organization had just been established. Mike, himself a
cancer survivor, knew first hand the problems people face
when they must travel long distances to get treatment
for a family member. Living arrangements can be difficult
as hotels can be expensive, especially over long periods of
time. Hosts for Hospitals provides volunteer home
hospitality for family members who find themselves in
this situation. In our first year reporting on his work,
HfH had provided 231 nights of free lodging to more
than 20 guest families. Today, 245 host families have
provided 1,169 patient-families a total of 32,528 nights of
lodging! What is the value in equivalent hotel expenses?
$2,001,000! Kol HaKavod Mike! We feel great pride
following the swift development of your very personal
program. (NKE)
Jewish Free Medical Services: Several years ago, I heard
about free medical services for people in Boston’s Jewish
community, creatively named the BJMUP, the Boston
Jewish Medically Uninsured Project (since re-named
CHAP [Community Health Access Program]) Detroit has a similar program
called Project Chessed-. Established in 2004, the
program now has approximately 450 doctors in its
medical network. (DS)
The Halachic Organ Donor Society (1) encourages
Jews to donate their organs, and (2) serves as a resource
for any and all questions concerning the position of
–Halachah, Jewish Law about donating organs:
[email protected], (DS)
Information About Establishing Dignified, ReasonablyPriced Jewish Burial Societies: -Chevra
Kadisha: -Kavod v’Nichum (“Dignity and
Consolation”), David Zinner, [email protected], The program has expanded
extremely quickly, which clearly indicates that this
organization is responding to a very real need in the
Jewish community. (DS)
[Hosts for Hospitals, Michael Aichenbaum, 4719 Pine St., Philadelphia, PA
19143, 215-472-3801, [email protected],]
It was her sister’s long battle with cancer that
provided Merrily Ansell with the inspiration to do
something on behalf of others, both kids and adults, who
are faced with the rigors and discomfort of ongoing
cancer treatment. Books, Bears & Bonnets provides these
cancer patients with a fanciful gift box which includes a
book to take the mind off the discomfort, a soft, cuddly
teddy bear to provide that special type of reassurance,
and a cap to cover the unavoidable and distressing hair
loss that often accompanies such cancer treatment. A visit
to the BBB website will offer you many ideas how both
adults and kids can join Merrily’s efforts to make a
difference. This is an especially meaningful Mitzvahproject for Bar and Bat Mitzvah kids. (NKE)
1. JEWISH WORLD WATCH – ($1,000)
Our tradition teaches, -Lo
Ta’amod, Do not stand idly by (Leviticus 19:16), and no
better description could be offered for the work of Jewish
World Watch and its dynamic founder, Rabbi Harold
Schulweis. Outraged by the slaughter of human lives
taking place in Darfur, Rabbi Schulweis challenged his
community to stand up and work to end the senseless
killing of innocent people. The response to the rabbi’s
appeal was a community-wide gathering in southern
California from across all denominations of American
At the end of World War II, Cuba was home to
more than 15,000 Jews, many displaced by the war. It
was not until the rise of Fidel Castro and the spread of
Communism, that this vital Jewish community slowly
diminished. Today, most of the remaining Jews live in
poverty under an authoritarian government, even
without Fidel Castro at the helm. June Safran, the
dedicated leader of The Cuba-America Jewish Mission,
joined by several volunteers, has undertaken the job of
not only fostering Jewish life with the introduction of
religious and cultural activities but also by offering
humanitarian aid as well. We first met June several years
ago when we held one of our first Mitzvah Heroes
Conferences, this one in Los Angeles. Our long
association has allowed us to confidently provide
Tzedakah funds for many of the needs June has identified,
among them prescription drugs, prayer books and other
religious articles, and clothing. June has even arranged
for Ziv to pay for services to help a young autistic
individual achieve a measure of independence. In more
recent years, CAJM has offered help to those Cubans who
have chosen to make aliya. It has been a great privilege
for Ziv to work with June and CAJM. In our mind, she is
the perfect example of the Mitzvah hero and her passion.
Yasher Koach! (NKE)
Only four years into its work, Jewish World
Watch offers programs in advocacy, refugee relief, and
education and their success is stunning. Perhaps the most
famous and important aspect of their efforts is the
purchase and distribution of solar cookers — a simple
tool that allows women to prepare meals using the sun’s
rays to provide the heat for cooking. This simple
invention provides not only a reliable source of energy
but does something even more important — it saves
lives, especially women’s lives. Prior to the introduction
of the cooker, women and girls had to leave the refugee
camps to gather wood for fuel and in so doing exposed
them to rape and other forms of violence perpetrated by
men outside the camps. The cookers not only put an end
to this particularly heinous crime, but also provide the
women with meaningful work as they assemble the
cookers. They also help the environment by harnessing a
sustainable resource — solar energy. Our donation was
directed to purchasing these critical items to be shipped
to Sudan. (NKE)
[Jewish World Watch, Rabbi Harold Schulweis, Chairman, Janice
Kamenir-Reznik, President, 16944 Ventura Blvd, #1, Encino, CA 91316,
818-501-1836, [email protected],]
[The Cuba-America Jewish Mission, June Safran, Executive Director,
1442A Walnut St. #224, Berkeley, CA 94709, 510-526-7173,
[email protected],]
2. AM ECHAD-($14,600)
4. KULANU ($500)
The key to our involvement with Igor
Feldblyum’s -Am Echad (“One People”) is
trustworthiness. Igor is able to provide for elderly
individuals in St. Petersburg (FSU) because he has
someone right there who (1) sees the people, (2) knows the
people, (3) knows their financial situation, (4) knows what
each one needs, and (5) knows what it will take in real
Tzedakah money to make a difference. That is the crucial
element, because, even though Igor knows so much about
living in the FSU from his years growing up and living
his early adult years there, there is so much that can only
be understood by reports from someone living there now.
(This is, of course, similar to Arnie Draiman’s work in
Israel on our behalf for the past dozen years.)
For most of us, being reminded of “all of us”
conjures up fond visions of the friend who davens at a shul
where ‘nobody else goes’ or the Sephardi cousin who
married into your Ashkenazi family. For Kulanu,
dedicated to assisting “lost and dispersed remnants of the
Jewish people”, the alphabet of Jewish diversity goes from
the Abuyudaya of Uganda to the Jews of Zimbabwe.
Kulanu’s visual images of Jews stretch from those
wearing kente-cloth tallitot in Ghana to the Peruvian
Jews who use the ocean as their mikva.
Kulanu’s all-volunteer staff promotes education,
economic development, and Jewish tradition throughout
the entire world — wherever Jews live. We recommend
a visit to the organization’s website where you can see
the full scope of their impressive efforts. As in year’s
past, our donation was directed to the Abuyudaya
community. (NKE)
All recipients are living on government pensions,
with some receiving additional income from other
sources. All of them, however, are surviving on bare
essentials, and Am Echad’s monthly stipends — usually
$25-$40 for food, rent, medicine, and the like — provide
for a more Menschlich life. Indeed, sometimes, this
Tzedakah money saves lives. Am Echad is presently
subsidizing the critical needs of close to 100 people in St.
Petersburg. This is just one more example of how every
dollar has enormous Mitzvah-power to make all the
difference in a person’s life. (DS)
[KULANU, Harriet Bograd, President, 165 West End Avenue, 3R, New
York, NY 10023, 212-877-8082, [email protected],]
Looking back on our eight-year association with
The Project People Foundation brings us a sense of great
satisfaction. Originally introduced to us by Marji
Greenhut, a Ziv friend for many years, PPF is the
brainchild of Rev. Linda Terry-Chard and Helen
[Am Echad, Igor Feldblyum, President, 1277 Bartonshire Way, Potomac,
MD 20854, 301-424-2647, [email protected],]
Lieberman, a Jewish woman living in South Africa. In its
earliest days, PPF’s efforts involved delivering black
dolls to South Africa where children did not have access
to dolls of color. Eventually, the organization began
producing the dolls as well as other native items — all
created by local South African women. Today, PPF’s
work has changed and expanded greatly. For example,
local women achieve greater economic empowerment
through such programs as Basadi Pele, a training
program for producing school uniforms. PPF is also
involved in computer literacy for local youth and, in
addition, has expanded the connections between youth of
color in the United States and in South Africa. One more
change we are particularly proud to report is that Linda,
who was studying to become a minister when we first
met her, has been ordained and today serves on the staff
of the prestigious Riverside Church in Manhattan. We
wish Linda and those who work on behalf of PPF, Yishar
Kochachem on their fine work. May it continue for many
years to come. (NKE)
very sobering and disheartening statistics: Each day in
the developing world 26,500 children die, mostly from
malnutrition and preventable disease (down from 41,000
a day partially due to RESULTS’ work), and in the
United States one in six children grows up in poverty.
RESULTS’ founder, Sam Daley-Harris, is one of all-toofew people in the world who can teach us how much
power each of us has to change the world. Sam will travel
to 25 cities this year to start and empower local
Our donation supports Sam’s
educational, consciousness-raising, and action-oriented
efforts to conquer one of humanity's most serious
problems and, thereby, to make a more Menschlich world
for everyone.
Many of our Mitzvah heroes are involved in
additional Tikkun Olam programs. Worldwide, Sam is
one of the most well-known advocates and promoters of
microloans, having organized for years international
microcredit conferences.
Millions of people have
permanently risen out of poverty as a result of this
method of doing Tikkun Olam. (See the section on
Grameen above for more details.) (DS)
[Project People Foundation, 460 Park Avenue, 21st floor, NY, NY 10022,
Ken Walker, 212-870-6702, [email protected],]
[RESULTS and the Educational Fund: Sam Daley-Harris, 750 First
Street, NE, Suite 1040, Washington, DC 20002, 202-783-7100,
[email protected], {RESULTS is an acronym for
Responsibility, Ending Starvation Using Legislation, Trimtabbing and
Support. It is a citizens' lobbying organization, so contributions are not taxdeductible. Contributions to RESULTS Educational Fund are tax
deductible.} The Microcredit Campaign, a project of RESULTS
Educational Fund: same address as above, 202-637-9600,
[email protected],]
Long before Bill and Linda Gates entered the
world of global philanthropy and began to address
poverty and disease throughout the world, Mohammed
Yunus introduced a simple but highly effective way to
eradicate poverty — the microloan. Nobel Peace Prize
Laureate in 2006, Yunus recognized that by extending
microloans, often one hundred dollars or less, to people
interested in developing a small business, the borrowers
often achieved astonishing results. The borrowers,
mostly women, not only paid back the loan but continued
expanding their business and, in turn, improved their
lives and the lives of their families. (We recommend
Yunus’ autobiography, Banker to the Poor.)
While they don’t come to my talks in pith
helmets or 20-pocket vests, when I ask, “Who likes to go
camping in the wilds?”, it is easy to locate them in the
audience. Their hands shoot up, their eyes light up, and
they are ready to spin their tales of living off wild berries
for days and frightening off humongous bears by merely
waving their pocket Siddur in the creature’s face. Then
(1) I tell them about Wilderness Inquiry’s worldwide
programs. (2) Then I tell them that this program’s
participants are both able-bodied individuals and persons
with a variety of disabilities (“challenges”, etc. – choose
the term that you find most suitable), and (3) then I say,
“Who wants a copy of this year’s trips?” Hands go up
again, and before I move on to the next topic, they are
thumbing through the schedule.
The Grameen Foundation, the organization to
which our donation was directed, was started by a group
of individuals who believe in Yunus’ work and wished to
expand upon it. Today, The Grameen Foundation has
improved the lives of more than 4,000,000 people in 27
countries. For years we have marveled at Grameen’s
stories — about women living in remote villages who
have parlayed a $100 loan into a thriving business which
supports the entire family. Grameen is one of the finest
Tzedakah investments we can imagine. (NKE)
[Grameen Foundation USA, 50 F Street, NW, 8th Floor, Washington DC,
20001, 202-628-3560, [email protected], Dr. Ismael (Mike) Getubig,]
If you are one of “those” (and not the other
“those” who think “camping” means a 4-star hotel), visit
the website, inquire, get the literature, and, for lack of a
better phrase than Nike’s, “Just do it!” And note the
following: (1) WI accommodates for Kashrut and Shabbat
observance, and (2) it can design a program for schools,
7. RESULTS ($500)
Twenty years ago Parade magazine wrote about
RESULTS, “They defy the odds.” That is still true
today. Based in Washington, DC, RESULTS empowers
ordinary citizens to create champions in Congress for the
fight to end poverty. The organization is guided by some
camps, retirees, professionals, or any other group looking
for a simultaneously refreshing and amazing experience
out in God’s natural world. As in the past, our donation
was used for scholarships. (DS)
1. PROJECT DEBBY ($2,000)
Nineteen years ago, Naomi Berman-Potash, a
hotel industry executive in Houston, gave a great deal of
thought to two seemingly unrelated situations: (1) The
shortage of safe housing for local victims of domestic
violence and (2) the ever-present abundance of empty
rooms in the hotel where she worked. It seemed simple
enough — offer the hotel rooms to shelters that did not
have sufficient space for women in distress. But, as is
often the case — the simplest solutions are not always
easy. Some decision-makers in the hotel industry feared
possible negative ramifications of housing these women.
It was only after Naomi’s continued efforts that the
reluctance was finally overcome and rooms began to open
up for victims who had no other place to turn to. In 1991,
Naomi founded Project Debby to match shelters and
hotels. The program continues to expand to ever more
cities throughout the U.S., most recently, the Chicago
area. It is also concentrating on the needs of victims of
domestic violence in the gay community.
[Wilderness Inquiry, 808 14 Ave. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414, Sarah
Milligan-Toffler, 612-676-9413, [email protected],]
An Expert Speaker about Learning Disabilities —
Samantha Abeel: Communities would do well to have
Samantha as a guest lecturer for adults, children,
educators, and experts in the field of learning disabilities.
Besides herself having dyscalculia (the inability to work
with numbers, sequences, and time), she is (1)
exceptionally and articulate about what it is like living
with learning disabilities, and (2) incredibly perceptive
about the nature and extent of learning disabilities in
other individuals — and, of course, how to deal with
these struggles. Mrs. Roberta Williams, Samantha’s 7th
grade teacher, helped her discover that she is a brilliant
poet. (We should all have a Mrs. Williams sometime in
our lives. Samantha is mine.) It is extremely worthwhile
reading her book of poetry, Reach For the Moon and her
autobiography, My Thirteenth Winter, written in her mid20’s.
To arrange speaking engagements, contact
Samantha: [email protected], 734-646-8563, or
Betsy Abeel: [email protected], 734-646-8579.
For thousands of people, meeting Samantha has been a
Life-changing experience. (
Today, Naomi continues her work on behalf of
domestic violence victims in yet another way. She has
enrolled in law school and, on graduating, will use her
new skills to help the very same people for whom she has
worked so diligently for the past 17 years. (NKE)
[Project Debby, Inc., Naomi Berman-Potash, Executive Director and Rita
Clark, Program Director, 102 Half Moon Circle, H-2, Hypoluxo, FL
33465, 262-512-3399. Naomi: [email protected], 262-227-5990.
Rita: [email protected], The National Domestic
Hotline: 800-799-7233.]
For Children with Reading Difficulties — DALET
(Dog Assistant Literacy Education Teachers): Children
reading to dogs has produced astonishing results through
READ (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) programs
in hundreds of schools and libraries around the country.
I am aware of only one synagogue in North America that
has integrated the program into its educational system:
Adath Israel Congregation in Lawrenceville, NJ.
DALET has also proven beneficial in the Hebrew
language learning area of the curriculum. Sharon Frant
Brooks, [email protected]
FACE TO FACE: We again mention this pioneering
program, which provides facial plastic and reconstructive
surgeons who donate their services to restore the faces of
women who have been tragically scarred by domestic
violence. We can think of no greater gift to a woman who
has suffered not only the trauma of such an attack, but
must also be reminded of it each time she glances in a
mirror or goes out in public. Since it was founded in
1993, the surgeons have beautified the faces of thousands
of women. More than 300 surgeons presently donate
their services. FACE TO FACE: The National Domestic
Violence Project, Ann Holton, [email protected], 310299-9291 X 229,
For Jewish People Living With Mental Illness —
Tikvah/AJMI (Advocates for the Jewish Mentally Ill):
AJMI is devoted to the re-integration and socialization of
Jewish people experiencing and recovering from
neurobiological brain disorders, and to educating the
Jewish community about mental illness: 215-832-0671
[email protected]
In general, most professional associations have a Mitzvah
A very short list includes:
specialists, teachers, accountants, and professional sports
teams. When you are doing your Tikkun Olam work, it
may be worthwhile to look into these additional
Resources About Therapeutic Horseback Riding and
How to Find Your Nearest North American Program —
The North American Riding for the Handicapped
Association (NARHA), (In Israel: See
the section on Anita Shkedi and the Israel National
Therapeutic Riding Association [INTRA].)
Service Dogs for Persons with Disabilities (Except
Visual Impairments) — Canine Companions for
Independence (CCI):
“The Bookman - Providing Books to Anyone Who Wants to
Read and Learn.”
The tagline is so simple and yet does not
completely convey just what goes on with this amazing
all-volunteer group. The Bookman strives to provide
books free of charge to schools, institutions, libraries, just
about any place where people want to read. The story:
Irwin Herman, the colorful founder retired from his years
in a Chicago appliance repair business to enjoy the warm
breezes of San Diego. He soon learned that retirement
was not exactly as he had envisioned. One day, he joined
a friend who visited prisons and learned that many
inmates had a real desire for books. After delivering
many books, he came up with the idea of collecting used
books which would be donated to any institution that
wanted them — shelters for homeless people, prisons,
schools — the list is very long. Today, the Bookman and
his volunteers give away nearly 1,000,000 books
annually, and in the past 18 years they have distributed
more than 18,000,000 books to every state in the U.S. and
70 foreign countries. We are so grateful to have met this
giant of a man whose attitude and joy in his new life helps
so many people in the most basic ways. Kol HaKavod,
Irwin! Thank you for teaching us about “Mitzvahretirement”. (NKE)
We encourage our friends in the San Francisco
Bay Area to visit and to get involved. (DS)
[The Bookman, Irwin Herman, 4275 37th Street, San Diego, CA 92105,
cellphone: 619-521-9830,]
[Sunday Friends, attn: Janis Baron, mailing address: P.O. Box 24887, San
Jose, California 95154, street address: Lowell Elementary School, 625 S.
Seventh Street, San Jose, CA 95112. Please do NOT send mail to this
address, (408) 793-0441, [email protected],]
IN ISRAEL ($250)
Nina Natelson is the passionate and dedicated
founder of this U.S.-based organization which continues
to advocate on behalf of Israel's abused and abandoned
animals and educates the public about humane treatment
of animals. Nina's various programs have produced
substantial wide-ranging results.
From shelter
management training seminars to spaying and neutering
clinics and everything in between, CHAI stands ready to
tackle the most difficult problems relating to animals in
Israel today. (NKE)
[CHAI, Nina Natelson, Director, PO Box 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302,
866-308-0333, 703-658-9650, [email protected],]
Injured birds of prey are brought from everywhere
to Sigrid Ueblacker, founder of the BPF. The injuries
stem from natural or human causes, or by accident. Using
the most advanced and sophisticated techniques in the
field, Sigrid and her staff heal them to whatever extent
possible. Sigrid releases the birds that can return safely
to the wild, and the rest find a safe haven at BPF. She
brings many of these to schools and other public forums
to educate the audiences about nature, its hazards, and
the absolute need to protect and care for these
magnificent birds. Having been there several years ago,
and writing this now, I think of how awesome this
Mitzvah program is, and what an incredible Life Sigrid
has every day. Her work in many ways exemplifies the
concept of being a partner with The Creator in a unique
and beautiful way. (DS)
Sunday Friends is one of the best organizations
we know that also gives recipients the opportunity to be
donors. This gives them a sense of empowerment and
reinforces their self-dignity. Last year’s Report describes
SF’s activities:
We are an organization that operates at the
highest rung of Maimonides' Ladder of Tzedakah,
forming a partnership between volunteers and families
in need — with the ultimate goal of helping families
become self-sufficient. Like Maimonides, we recognize
that many forms of Tzedakah can shame or
demotivate people. Sunday Friends, in contrast,
provides opportunities for children and families to
contribute meaningfully to their community while, at
the same time, they earn the items they need and also
learn the skills and attitudes that will allow them to
grow and thrive.
[The Birds of Prey Foundation, 2290 S. 104th St., Broomfield, CO 80020,
Sigrid Ueblacker, 303-460-0674, [email protected],]
Delta Society: Everything you need to know about
human-animal interaction.
On Sunday afternoons, in a joyful and
supportive community setting, children side-by-side
with their parents and volunteers, contribute by
preparing and serving healthy foods, making craft
gifts for residents of nursing homes, cleaning the
grounds of the facility, writing creative thank-you
letters to donors, helping each other learn, and more.
For their contributions, they earn tickets, which they
bank and later spend to “purchase” the items they want
and need. Through the ongoing program, families
develop money management skills, literacy, love of
learning, self-respect, self-confidence and hope.
Over the years, Ziv experienced a constantlygrowing pattern of popularity and a list of Mitzvah
heroes whom Ziv began to support. In 1981, when Ziv
incorporated as a non-profit organization, growth
accelerated. Within several years, it was evident that a
founder/chairperson, a small board, a treasurer (my
sister-in-law, Bena), and a pro bono accountant were no
longer enough.
to new ones, and evaluating the best approach for
working with them.
As an American who made aliya in 1983, Arnie
brought his understanding of both societies to the
discussion, often showing us what we might have missed
because we do not live in Israel. Time and again, we
needed to learn not only the facts, but also to get a “feel”
for some Mitzvah hero’s work. When something might
be amiss, he would give us fair warning. If we needed to
be pushed to give greater support because we lacked
proper perspective — he would do so.
Most fortunate for Ziv, 15 years ago Naomi
became involved, first as a volunteer, then as an
employee. She brought us a range of skills acquired from
experience as a business owner, a teacher, a synagogue
president, and a caterer. These talents allowed Ziv to
continue its work in both anticipated and in unforeseen
ways: (1) Anticipated: managing the enormous amount of
day-to-day operations. We need to recall that one of the
key elements of Ziv goes beyond the mechanics of
running a non-profit organization. The real essence is
that Ziv has personal relationships with our Mitzvah
heroes, and this makes for greater demands (and surely
offers greater rewards) than “merely” the logistics of
management. Naomi has worked tirelessly for
innumerable hours with great devotion to “our” Mitzvah
heroes. (2) Unforeseen: Whatever new Ziv projects
might be developed during these years, few would have
become reality without Naomi’s efforts. These include
the Ziv-Giraffe Curriculum written by Rabbi Steven
Bayar, the Mitzvah heroes DVD’s, the Mitzvah heroes
conferences, the HeroIsrael trips to arrange personal
encounters for the participants to meet our Israeli
Mitzvah heroes face-to-face. Each project required
enormous amounts of work combined with a constant
awareness of Ziv’s own vision.
During Arnie’s tenure, there were multitudes of
e-mails and phone calls from people wanting to know
more about the Mitzvah heroes, to meet them, and to
learn from them. He would make the arrangements, and,
because of his constant efforts, hundreds of people
encountered the Mitzvah heroes. In addition, there were
always individuals and groups carrying suitcases and
duffel bags of a variety of things for “our people”. For
example: items for packages for soldiers, toys and stuffed
animals for sick or injured children, or supplies for
Avshalom Beni’s therapy dogs and cats. The baggage
compartment of the car always seemed to be filled with
Mitzvah-goods en route to one of our Mitzvah heroes.
Furthermore, no small part of his work has been teaching
Torah-leading-to-Mitzvahs to individuals, to groups,
with me during the summer with the Interns, with the
Fellows, and with anyone else who would want to know
the intimate connection between Jewish texts and living
It would be difficult to calculate the number of
people whose lives became that much better because of
Naomi’s efforts. We could possibly make an estimate
numbers, but I suspect that she would prefer that we
could use our time better continuing to help others.
Indeed, because of her years of experience with Ziv, she
will no doubt continue to be an invaluable resource for
future Tikkun Olam endeavors. For all this, we offer our
profound gratitude. -Yasher Koach, Naomi, all
the more strength to you. (DS)
No one knows the lives and work of our Israel
Mitzvah heroes like Arnie. When his work with Ziv ends
in late June, he will continue as a Tzedakah consultant
for individuals and non-profit organizations aware of the
value of Ziv’s approach and wanting to incorporate it into
their own Mitzvah-work. We encourage anyone to
whom this kind of support for Israel is important to
contact Arnie directly.
Arnie, your work has provided us the continuity
that has been absolutely vital to all of our efforts. We are
grateful. For these very enriching years of work on Ziv’s
behalf, -Yasher Koach! (DS)
In the future, if you pause and reflect about Ziv,
these are six names I want you to remember: Dr. Gordon
Gondos, Darryl Kuperstock, Rabbis Neal Gold and Marc
Sternfeld, Arleen Sternfeld, and Glenn Easton. As the
Chairperson looking back, I can think of no better chevra
to work with to make Ziv’s approach to Tikkun Olam
happen. Each of these individuals has brought to our
endeavor a range of natural talents, practical skills,
education, training, Life-experiences, an enthusiastic love
of Judaism, and a profound sensitivity to the preciousness
of Life. These qualities have led us to our many
Ziv began as a project to support Mitzvah heroes
in Israel. In Ziv’s early days, my friend, David Morris,
was our “man on the ground”. David eventually returned
to the U.S., and Arnie — who had already been helping
informally — and Ziv formalized the relationship a dozen
years ago. Back then, and to this day, the work at hand
has been straightforward: (1) Remaining in constant
personal contact with the Mitzvah heroes, (2) discussing
in depth what needs they might have that are within our
Tzedakah-range, and (3) discovering and introducing us
experience exchanging hundreds of e-mails, enjoying
numerous phone calls, and spending hours of personal
time with her whenever I was in Israel.
accomplishments. Because of the complexity of some
issues at hand, our discussions were frequently intense,
and our discussions were often both passionate and
impassioned. Most impressive was their ability to clarify
and simplify the issues by extremely penetrating analysis.
This process allowed us to prioritize and to keep us
focused on our ultimate goal: providing for our Mitzvah
We just knew that Amee was going to be
spectacular, but she exceeded our highest expectations in
so many ways. When she returns to Seattle, we just know
that she will be a tremendous influence not only on her
students and the entire school, but also on Seattle’s entire
Jewish educational network, as well as the community at
large. To Amee – Yasher Koach Big Time. We wish you
many years of teaching the lessons you have learned from
this magic year as a Ziv Fellow. -Kol HaKavod,
Right on! (DS)
Beyond the fact that they are my friends from
different periods of my life, it was Ziv’s mission that
brought them to offer Ziv their time and their efforts.
Their ultimate concern was always for our recipients.
Logistical and organizational issues were only a means to
Ziv’s end: To facilitate the flow of Tzedakah money to
the Mitzvah heroes so that they could continue their
Mitzvah-work in their unique way.
This past summer, five Interns worked with Ziv
in Israel. Four of them, Talia Salzberg, Rachel Dubois,
Abby Kerbel, and Melanie Sklaire, were the “regular”
Interns, engaged for the entire seven-week period. In
addition, Steve Kerbel, a long-time Jewish educator in the
Washington, DC, area, returned for a second summer,
this time for a little more than a month.
I could add many adjectives praising these
individuals, not the least of which would be “wise” and
“profoundly caring”. But I think the one that most comes
to mind is “devoted”. Actually, as I write this, I am
thinking of the traditional Jewish term for “devotion”,
namely, -mesirut nefesh. In this phrase, nefesh means much more than your “soul”. It means a
person’s entire self: soul, mind, heart, and kishkas, and I
believe that is what they have given us.
As in past years our typical Internship involves
(1) meeting our Israel Mitzvah heroes, (2) taking each
United Synagogue Youth Israel Pilgrimage group for a
day to meet the Mitzvah heroes, and assisting the
USY’ers in developing Tikkun Olam programs when
they return the U.S. and Canada, and (3) studying
relevant Jewish texts concerning Tzedakah, Mitzvahs,
and Tikkun Olam. Steve’s participation contributed the
crucial element of an educator experienced both in
classroom teaching and religious school administration
skills. Since my own teaching has been primarily as a
guest lecturer in various communities, his expertise
helped us develop the best pedagogical methods that
would lead to the most effective and meaningful ways to
teach the material in an ongoing setting. Using the skills
unique to their backgrounds and training, all of the
Interns contributed to exceptional Torah study and
provided excellent Tikkun Olam experiences for the
USY’ers. Yasher Koach to all of them, and we wish them
-Hatzlachah, great success in their future personal
Mitzvah-endeavors and their teaching the story of the
lives and work of the Mitzvah heroes. (DS)
On behalf of Ziv, I say, “-Yishar
Kochachem, All the more strength to you” in all your
future Mitzvah-endeavors. (DS)
When we selected Amee to be this year’s Ziv
Fellow in Israel, we were certain she would dazzle us. A
teacher in the Seattle Jewish Community School, Amee
had already met most of the Mitzvah heroes as a
participant in the 2006 HeroIsrael trip for educators. But
the Fellowship would be different: Instead of nine days
packed with encounters (sometimes four or five in a day),
she would have as much time as she would want to see
them, meet them again, and focus on any specific Mitzvah
hero’s work that moved her in a special way. And there
was an enriching “add-on” — her family: husband,
Michael, and two children, Sam and Juliana.
With Arnie as Fellowship Supervisor and
teacher, Amee studied Tikkun Olam-related Torah
regularly, focusing on two levels: (1) Absorbing the
material itself and (2) constantly working to make it
teachable in a classroom. Besides, now she had time to
meet even more of the Mitzvah heroes, and to establish
closer relationships with them. Amee also co-ordinated
many encounters between individuals or groups and the
Mitzvah heroes most suited to their interests.
Beginnings and Endings…and Beginnings, Again
Where do I begin in this last message to our Ziv
friends? Endings always evoke a flood of memories…and
tears. Over the years of my association with Ziv
Tzedakah Fund, people have often asked how I “got into
this business”? I love to tell the story…it epitomizes to
me the very essence and the wonder of chance encounters
Amee is insightful, energetic, creative in her
Mitzvah-thinking, Mitzvah-teaching, and her personal
acts of Tzedakah.
It has been an extraordinary
and life’s little mysteries. The year was 1991 and many
things were changing in my life. Within a few months I
was to accept the challenge of becoming the President of
my synagogue and also learn that I was facing a very
personal challenge of a different type—a cancer
diagnosis. (Anyone who knows synagogue politics might
have questioned which was the more difficult to
finish it. (Tanchuma, Ekev). With the help of others, I
knew that it not only should go on, it could and would go
on. There was much left to be done. The Mitzvah heroes
needed our help, there were other Mitzvah heroes still
out there, not yet discovered, and their work needed to be
nurtured and publicized so that perhaps eventually the
world would be at peace and no one would know hunger,
loneliness, despair or, in very Biblical terms, we would
have reached -Gan Eden.
While seeking some reading material for a
tropical vacation, my Rabbi, Steve Bayar, offered a few
books he thought might both boost my spirits and inspire
me. Those two books were Gym Shoes and Irises I and
II— part of Danny Siegel’s first writings that introduced
the world to amazing people doing amazing things on
behalf of Tikkun Olam. As I sat on the beach and learned
of the “greats”— Ranya Kelly, the Rabbanit Kapach,
Hadassah Levi and many others—I was hooked. I needed
to meet them and I needed to meet the man who
discovered them.
The Good People Fund, though not an official
successor to Ziv Tzedakah Fund, will continue the good
work that was started by Danny over three decades ago
and I am honored to be part of that effort when I
officially assume the role of its Executive Director in
It has been an amazing journey these past 16
years. I am grateful for so many things—for the
opportunity I was given to help “grow” this little gem
that was Ziv Tzedakah Fund, for the trust you all offered
with your Tzedakah dollars, for your friendship and for
the very special inspiration and love offered by the many
Mitzvah heroes I have been privileged to work with. It
has all come together to give me the very “wind beneath
my wings”. I look forward to many more years of this
beautiful work.
The rest, as they say, is history. Upon returning
from vacation I suggested the congregation I was now
leading, invite Danny to speak and encourage all of us to
do what we could to change the world. Danny did come
for a weekend, the congregation, inspired by his words,
began its own Tzedakah and Mitzvah work, and our
friendship grew. What started as a small “volunteer job—
about 12 hours a week”, turned into so much more. It
literally transformed my life. Working from my home
office, 12 or 15 hours each day, initially as a volunteer
and then as the organization’s first and only full-time
employee, Ziv began to grow. It seemed as if the more
Mitzvah heroes I met personally, the greater my
inspiration to do more and to share the wonder that was
Ziv. From Mitzvah Hero Conferences held throughout
the country, to the prestigious grant from Steven
Spielberg’s Righteous Persons Foundation which
underwrote the development and publication of the Ziv
Giraffe Tikkun Olam curriculum, to summers spent in
Israel with our amazing interns, to the production of our
Mitzvah hero videos in Israel and the United States…I
was honored to be part of a team that could literally
change the world in so many ways.
Danny has raised generations of individuals to
carry on his work. I am proud to have apprenticed with
the Master of Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam himself. He
has created an earth-shaking change in the way people
view Tzedakah, and I thank him for having the
confidence and trust in me for many, many years to be a
part of it. I have seen the fruits of Danny's labor many
One particular development is the creation of a
new Tzedakah fund, founded by several of Danny's own
-talmidim, students. Bill Begal, Steve Kerbel and
Mary Meyerson have started the “Mitzvah Heroes Fund”
(, and since they have asked
me to consult for them and represent them “on the
ground”, I will be able to carry on Danny's fine work
through the efforts of this new fund.
Along the way it was not only the Mitzvah
heroes who inspired me; it was also the many, many Ziv
contacts who I now count as personal friends. I am
always amazed at the number of people I feel close to but
have never met face-to-face. As we began the final
process of shutting down these past few months, this
reality became more obvious as I had the opportunity to
speak with so many of you personally.
I have been privileged to meet some of the
greatest people on G-d’s earth and to spend a significant
amount of time with them. Our Mitzvah heroes and
Special Agents never cease to amaze me. I have been
privileged to have all four of my children “raised” by
them. They are members of the family through and
through; I have developed very sincere and deep
Endings and Beginnings, Again…
All beginnings are difficult (Mekhilta, Yitro 19:5)
And so, when Ziv’s board voted to end this
mission I knew that it could not end. As our tradition
says… if you have commenced a Mitzvah, continue until you
relationships with them, and I have been able to assist
them in many areas, both personal and professional.
find the Mitzvah hero within us, encouraging all of us to
do our part to fix the very broken pieces of our world.
Thank you, Danny. You have challenged us to continue
spreading your light in the world.
I have been privileged to work with many people
in need, and see in reality the Rabbinic teaching
(Leviticus Rabbah 34:8), “The poor person [standing at
the door] does more for the householder than the
householder does for the poor person.”
I am a Jewish Educator by profession. You can
only imagine that having this kind of designated time —
2-4 hours each week — to study Torah with your own
private teacher and mentor is like a dream come true.
Arnie sat patiently with me for the first several weeks as
we worked out how we best learned together. We
brainstormed ways to bring the Tzedakah texts to life in
the classroom. We created opportunities to bring
Danny’s insights and translations of the text to light for a
variety of purposes. I will always be grateful to you for
your time, insight, and sense of humor — not to mention
the countless pieces of advice you gave us for our general
“living in Israel” questions. Thank you, Arnie.
I have studied Torah with Danny and learned his
own Torah, and I have been able to share it with many
people, particularly with Merrill Alpert and Amee
Huppin Sherer, Ziv Fellows.
My wife, Rena, has been an integral part of my
Tzedakah work, and I want to publicly thank her for
putting up with the crazy hours and crazy, non-stop
requests that come my way. She has made it easier.
My charge to you, dear and trusted reader,
supporter of Danny and Danny's way in Tzedakah and
Tikkun Olam, is to continue to support our Mitzvah
heroes, particularly those in Israel. They have become my
family, and their work is our work.
I also want to thank Naomi for all her expertise
and insight as we planned and managed this year. I also
thank the donors who had faith that this would be a
worthwhile use of their Tzedakah money. I want to
thank all the Mitzvah heroes for sharing their stories and
their lives with me this year. Your collective energy and
wisdom is hard to describe in mere words, but as, Danny
often says, “Wow!” I also want to thank my family for
accompanying me on this incredible journey. I can only
imagine what amazing things we will be able to do now
with all that we have seen, learned about, and discovered
this year. May we all go from strength to strength,
teaching, learning, and doing Mitzvahs.
I look forward to being your -Shaliach, your
Mitzvah agent for many years to come.
When Danny Siegel asks you if you’d like to
spend a year in Israel with your husband and two
children (ages 7 and 10) to “hang out with the Mitzvah
heroes, study a little Torah, and help make connections
with people to do good Tzedakah”, you wonder if he’s
serious. You wonder how you will scoop up your family
and go live in another country for a year, put your kids
into an Israeli school to become fluent Hebrew speakers,
and begin a journey that will profoundly change how you
think about the world. And then you throw all caution to
the wind, and you just do it. And it becomes a gift that is
more beautiful and meaningful than you ever imagined.
Each of us has found a way to incorporate Ziv into our
daily lives this year. Michael, my husband, who is an
architectural lighting consultant by profession, is now
working with the Shalva team on a weekly basis to help
design the lighting for their new building. Our children
have attended “fun days” with Libby Reichman’s Big
Brothers and Sisters, packed packages for soldiers with
Barbara Silverman, been entertained by Clara Hammer,
and have been blessed by the Rabbanit Kapach. All this
all in our first few months!
(In no particular order)
1. There are three essential components in Ziv’s
approach to Tikkun Olam: (a) Mitzvah heroes, (b) Jewish
texts, and (c) doing acts of Tzedakah (with money) and
Gemillut Chassadim (using our time, energy, and effort
for acts of caring, loving kindness).
2. My writings illustrate how these three
components interact at different times and in different
situations for the ultimate benefit of the recipient.
3. Mitzvah heroes are everywhere — both sexes,
every age (the ones I have met are from 7-98), every body
shape (endomorph, mesomorph, or ectomorph), articulate
or not, frumpy or dandy, gorgeous or as plain as can be.
I have known Danny almost my entire life. I met
him when I was 10 years old and very impressionable.
He made me believe that you can change the world, one
person, one Mitzvah at a time. Years later, I still think
that this is possible. I continue to be in awe of his energy,
his can-do attitude, and his way of allowing each of us to
4. Mitzvah heroes are experts, and they are our
best Tikkun Olam teachers. Their area of specialization
is Life.
5. The study of Jewish texts broadens our
understanding of the all-important terms “Tzedakah”,
“Gemillut Chassadim”, “Mitzvahs”, “Tikkun Olam”, and
ourselves when we engage in Tikkun Olam particularly
with a Mitzvah hero.
6. It’s not the thought that counts, it’s the act that
changes the world. While strategies, long-range
planning, and society-theory are crucial Tikkun Olam
subjects to digest and utilize, ultimately it all comes
down to doing — particularly “in the interim” while the
long-range plans are being worked out.
19. Though donors reap many benefits — among
them good feelings about themselves, peace of mind, Lifeperspective, a sense of Jewish and human accomplishment
— the recipient of what our Tzedakah money purchases
always benefits more. Consider: Buying an infant car seat
and donating it to a family that cannot afford one. And
consider: a Philadelphia College of Osteopathy classmate
of my late father’s , , was
graduated with the class of 1940, because some rich
person (I think unknown to the student) “just wanted to
put someone through med school.” And just consider:
Fuel for Angel Pilots who fly patients from remote areas
to uncongested airports for critical treatments.
7. Philosophizing about Tikkun Olam never
takes the place of acts of Tzedakah and Gemillut
Chassadim. At times, too much thought, research, and
planning may prove to be counterproductive.
8. Oxymoron though it appears to be, our
tradition requires us to care and to give.
9. There is still abundant room for Chalutziut, pioneering, not only in Israel, but everywhere.
If it is in your nature to be a pioneer, look for
opportunities to break new Mitzvah-ground. Innovation
in Tikkun Olam can occur no less radically and swiftly
than it has in the world of computers.
20. The same is true for Gemillut Chassadim.
Consider: The coat that you brought to Mississippi and
gave to someone whose home was swept away in the
storm, and who was so cold it tore your heart out.
21. Not the least important: It’s all right to feel
good about your Mitzvah work. It releases more
endorphins and provides additional, often astonishing,
stamina to continue. (DS)
10. If there, then here: A high percentage of our
Mitzvah heroes’ programs are replicable. If you like what
one of them is doing, learn from her or him how to do it
yourself in your own community.
11. -Bal Tashchit, senseless waste most
definitely applies to Tzedakah money. Jewish tradition
requires us to distribute our personal Tzedakah
-Commencement, Part I
1. -Sof, the end: At times, when I see or hear
the word -Sof, I think of The -Ayn Sof, The
Infinite One Who gives us Life.
12. There is no such thing as “small” Tzedakah
money. If we do the appropriate research, then any
amount can make a difference.
2. -Davar: It is such a fascinating Hebrew
word meaning both “word” and “thing”. How can one
word have two such different meanings? It’s as if the
Hebrew word is telling us, “Interpret me, build on me,
make Midrash out of me.”
13. Tikkun Olam is not all of Judaism. Jewish
history, ritual, community, the centrality of Israel in our
personal lives, and Hebrew language (to name a few), are
no less a crucial element of being Jewish.
14. Ziv’s emphasis has always
personalized Tzedakah and Tikkun Olam.
a. Over the years, “=word” became less
important to me than the more tangible “=thing”.
Though spoken and written words are needed to
communicate the message of Tzedakah, as for example,
the Rabbi Bayar’s Ziv-Giraffe Curriculum, Ziv’s Mitzvah
hero DVD's, and our Annual Reports — we always
insisted that something had to happen, something more
real than mere words.
15. Mitzvah power: Human quality of Life and
the condition of the world do not remain the same
throughout history. The same quantity of The Bad
Things need not exist tomorrow.
16. Every individual has much greater power to
change the lives of others for the better than he or she
previously ever thought possible.
b. For Ziv, this often meant purchasing grocery
store scrip, space heaters, sheets and towels for the
Rabbanit Kapach’s presents to newlyweds, or household
furnishings whether for people wiped out by fire, storm,
or flood, or for Bayit Cham’s new Jerusalem office where
people will begin recovering their mental and emotional
17. There can be an intimate connection between
Mitzvahs, meaning-in-Life, and personal happiness.
HAMA’s Avshalom Beni, interpreting the theme text of
this Report, translates, “Our long road to being [through
Mitzvahs] has been pleasant because we do it together.”
Commencement, Part II
18. We may discover new talents in ourselves, a
greater personal depth, and new good feelings about
For years, our Annual Reports and November
Updates ended with the words:
2. -VeNishlam: From the astonishingly
rich Hebrew root : “peace and peace of mind”,
“wholeness”, “completeness”, and — “paid for”.
Tam veNishlam, Shevach LaEl Boray Olam, Finished,
praise to the Almighty One, Creator of the universe. The
first two words have many other meanings:
a. Peace and peace of mind: There have been
thousands of moments that your Tzedakah money
brought –Shalom to the recipient.
1. -Tam: “finished”, but also “innocent”,
“simple”, “naïve”, “perfect”, “pure”.
b. Wholeness: Shattered lives became whole
again, because Ziv had the Tzedakah money needed to
repair someone’s body, mind, and soul.
a. Finished — Rabbi Tarfon’s words come to
mind, “You are not expected to finish the task, but
neither are you supposed to stop doing everything you
are capable of doing for Tikkun Olam.” For us, “finished”
means only that this part called “Ziv” has completed its
work. Now other ways are open to continue to do more
Tikkun Olam.
c. Completeness: During Ziv’s history, there
were many, many occasions when we could satisfy all of
the needs of a particular individual, family, or entire
group of people. Whenever possible, your Tzedakah
money did not leave them in mitten drinnen, only part of
the way toward their goal.
b. Innocent: Ziv’s approach has always been to
just do things with the Tzedakah money that make a
difference without overloading the Mitzvah-act with too
much theory.
d. Paid for: Some Mitzvahs don’t cost more than
a few pennies. Others cost more than we could manage,
but when we could, we did. For example, that’s when Ziv
stepped in and paid the truck insurance for Joseph Lordi’s
food bank, gave the rent money before someone’s
imminent eviction (at least once we did it within 24
hours), the shoes, the food packages, the infant
thermometers for the families Jeannie Jaybush knows in
Seattle, and the “fun days” for groups from Mitzvah
heroes’ programs that just needed to get away from the
weight of their pain, misfortune, or loneliness. As I have
frequently taught: You can’t do $1,000,000 worth of
Tzedakah with $800,000, or $1,000 with $800, $100 with
$80, or $10 with $8. Now, those of you who have been a
part of our work take a moment and just consider what
was paid for by almost $14,000,000 worth of Tzedakah
c. Simple: So many times, Ziv money was used
just like that. One example: During our 2007 HeroIsrael
educators’ trip, we sat with Yitz Feigenbaum, co-founder
of Bet HaYeled. I asked him, “What do you need?” “A
bicycle for one of the kids.” I said to the educators, “OK,
let’s start pulling out the Tzedakah money we brought
with us.” Less than a minute later, he had the money for
the bike. Then I said to Yitz, “Next?” “We could use X.”
The same response. We covered three rounds when the
money began to run out. But if we had to, somehow we
would have also managed a fourth request. It was simple,
and yet suffused with the essence and elegance of being
human. Obviously, so much Tikkun Olam cannot be done
this easily, but when it can be done so easily, it should be
done. I believe that we ought to include such simple,
immediate, and effective acts as part of our overall
personal Tzedakah strategy.
Commencement, Part III
Many people have asked about my own future
plans. Actually, though it was the only term we could
use in our letters to you, “retirement” is misleading.
There are no three-week cruises or embarking on a PhD
in the offing, nor extended periods of programmed
“vegging out”. I will however, be putting greater
emphasis on my teaching. For example, in late June I
began my 33rd consecutive summer as United Synagogue
Youth Israel Pilgrimage Tzedakah Resource Person. En
route home I will be teaching at Ramah Canada for three
days. Among other engagements not long after are The
American Hebrew Academy in Greensboro, NC, talks in
Portland, OR, and Calgary, Alberta, and an annual series
of lectures at Virginia Commonwealth University in
d. Naïve: Not in the sense of being vulnerable to
being taken advantage of by scam artists, thugs, and
hoodlums. It is a positive characteristic that includes
humility and gentleness, the opposite of “slick”, “smooth”,
or “pseudo-sophisticated”. Of course, any responsible
Tzedakah fund needs to have a grasp of non-profit
management. But if that is all it knows about giving and
isn’t also “a Tzedakah fund” — then a crucial component
is lacking, namely, all the breadth and depth that the
word “Tzedakah” signifies.
e. Perfect: Ziv’s “perfect” means that over the
years there were so very many occasions when we just
knew in our bones, kishkas, and souls that that Mitzvah at
that moment was just perfect, so “right on” we just knew
a perfect act of Tzedakah was happening even as it was
Besides continuing to lecture, I am arranging 15hour seminars in various communities so that
participants can absorb enough to pass it on to others
with a greater command of the material. I will also be
leading groups of educators to Israel to meet our
Mitzvah heroes.
f. Pure: Who can count the times when we
discovered a person with specific needs, the Tzedakah
money was there, and everything was done just right?
Pure Mitzvah.
And, of course, I will also devote more time to
my writing. You will be able to find updates about my
activities at, and you can continue
to contact me at [email protected]
is innovative, pioneering, or perceived initially as merely
peripheral or off-beat in our own day will become
common practice in the future, and the not-too-distant
future at that, and
My Final Wish List
That, combined with other aspects of Tikkun
Olam such as Big Money Mitzvahs, advocacy, and
systemic change, one will doubt that the world has,
indeed, become a better place for all.
On the micro-level: Ever since the decision was
made to end Ziv’s operations, I have stated: (1) Mark one
year from the end of Ziv’s operations. (2) Go down our
list of Mitzvah heroes. (3) Note that none has come up
with less support than when Ziv was functioning.
Finally, let us turn again to the Talmudic phrase
from the beginning of the Report, this time translating
On the Grand Scale: To the students of Ziv, and
their students- , I wish
the road
ahead of us doing Tikkun Olam together is long — even
in a framework other than Ziv — we will be a source of
encouragement and strength to each other to accomplish
the Mitzvah-tasks that we will pursue.
That some of what you have learned, heard, seen,
felt, touched, experienced, or absorbed by osmosis with
Ziv will continue to be used for your own vision and acts
of Tikkun Olam;
On behalf of the Board of directors of Ziv, I say
again -Yishar Kochachem, all the more
strength to you. -Lechaim, to Life, because
Tzedakah and Life are inextricably tied to each other.
That you will apply your own talents, personal
interests, imaginations, dreams, insights, stamina, heart,
mind, soul, kishkas, and individual understanding of what
is Right, Just, and Menschlich, to exceed by all measure
our work over the last 27 years;
-Tam VeNishlam – Done, finished, all
praise to the Infinite, Caring, and Infinitely Caring Holy
One, Creator of the World.
That, because of your endeavors, so much of what
Danny Siegel, Chairperson
Naomi K. Eisenberger, Managing Director
Arnie Draiman, Ziv Representative in Israel
Allocations to Ziv programs
Salaries and Benefits ($88,124 covered by directed donations)
Administrative Support
Professional Fees
Printing, mailing and postage for Annual Report and November Update
Postage, stationery, telephone, permits and legal registration fees, software,
insurance, office supplies & equipment, and miscellaneous expenses (Israel and U.S.)
Closing Costs
All Israel programs are in bold.
*=New to Ziv this year.
A Package from Home..................................10
Abeel, Samantha ...............................................43
*Afikim BaNegev ............................................16
AJMI (Advocates for the
Jewish Mentally Ill)...................................43
Am Echad ...........................................................41
ATZUM........................................................ 16
AVODAH ..........................................................28
Bagel Brigade ....................................................33
Bayit Cham .................................................... 8
Beit Frankforter ................................................21
Beltzer, John ......................................................26
Berman, Herman ...............................................33
Bet Hayeled.................................................. 16
Bet Tzedek..........................................................32
Beville, PK ..........................................................24
Big Brothers Big Sisters
of Israel ................................................ 17
Birds of Prey .....................................................44
Birthday Angels .......................................... 18
Blue Card ….......................................................35
Books, Bears and Bonnets ..............................40
Broad Meadows Middle School.....................36
Camp Kesem.......................................................37
Camp To Belong ...............................................36
Canine Companions for
Independence (CCI)...................................42
Caridad Center...................................................30
Caring Institute .................................................. 5
Casting for Recovery........................................26
CHAI (Concern for Helping
Animals in Israel).......................................44
Christian Service Program .............................32
CLICK ........................................................... 21
Counseling Center for Women ................ 24
Crossroads Center.............................................17
Cuba-America Jewish Mission ......................41
DALET Program..............................................43
Delta Society .....................................................45
Dental Volunteers in Israel ..................... 13
DNA Shoah Project..........................................35
Dorkam, Joël .............................................. 18
Dubois, Emily ....................................................15
Eden Alternative ..............................................25
Educate the Children Foundation.................31
Face To Face .....................................................43
Family-to-Family .............................................29
Female Hebrew Benevolent
Society .........................................................33
Forgotten People Fund ............................. 20
Gift of Comfort ........................................... 15
Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation ........ 39
Giraffe Project ..................................................... 5
Grameen Foundation USA ............................ 42
Halachic Organ Donor Society...................... 40
HAMA (Israel) (Humans and Animals in
Mutual Assistance in Israel) .................. 7
Hammer, Clara ........................................... 14
Hatzilu ................................................................ 38
HeroIsrael Mitzvah Tours.......................... 4
Hosts for Hospitals .......................................... 40
Hurricane Katrina............................................. 28
Independent Transportation
Network........................................................... 39
International Association of
Hebrew Free Loans....................................... 12
Israel AIDS Task Force ............................ 24
Israel Free Loan Association.................... 12
Israel Guide Dog Center 23
for the Blind.......................................... 23
Israel National Therapeutic Riding
Association (INTRA)............................... 8
Jerusalem Rape Crisis Center in Memory
of Linda Feldman ................................... 24
Jewish Foundation for the
Righteous ................................................... 35
Jewish Free Legal Services............................. 32
Jewish Free Medical Services ........................ 40
Jewish World Watch ....................................... 41
Jonah, Alice ................................................ 12
Kapach, The Rabbanit 6
KAVOD............................................................... 32
Kavod v’Nichum ............................................... 40
Keren Hanan Aynor.................................... 19
Keren Klitat Aliya Neve Orot .................. 20
Keren Segulat Naomi................................... 7
Kulanu ................................................................ 41
Lev Ramot ................................................... 13
Levi, Hadassah .............................................. 9
Mandelbaum, Syd ..................................... 26, 35
*Manos de Madres ........................................... 27
MayaWorks ...................................................... 26
Mitzvah Shopping ............................................ 31
Modest Needs .................................................... 29
Myriam’s Dream .............................................. 38
NACOEJ (North American Conference on
Ethiopian Jewry) .......................................... 20
NARHA............................................................... 43
The Non-Profit Organization [Amuta]
for Emotional Support of Girlfriends
of Fallen Soldiers of the Israel
Defense Forces ....................................... 9
Poverty and Hunger in Israel................... 11
Project Chessed ................................................. 40
Project Debby.................................................. 43
Project Ezra .................................................... 37
Project People Foundation........................... 42
Redistribution Center ................................... 35
READ (Reading Education Assistance
Dog)............................................................ 43
REMEDY ........................................................ 34
RESULTS ....................................................... 42
Re’ut School ............................................. 24
Rock and Wrap It Up!................................... 25
Romema Families ..................................... 12
Sderot.......................................................... 16
Second Wind Dreams ................................... 24
Shalhevet ................................................... 23
Shalva ......................................................... 22
Share Your Soles............................................. 35
Shkedi, Anita and Giora .......................... 8
*Shlomi....................................................... 15
Shoah Survivors and
Righteous Gentiles............................ 35
Shop Well With You .................................... 40
Silverman, Barbara .................................. 10
Society of St. Andrew ................................... 34
Songs of Love ................................................. 26
SongWriting Works...................................... 38
Special Agents ............................................ 5
St. Joseph’s Baby Corner............................... 30
Stop Hunger Now ......................................... 26
Sunday Friends ............................................... 44
Table to Table .......................................... 13
Tech-Career............................................... 19
Terror in Israel ......................................... 14
Thomas, Dr. Bill ............................................. 25
Tova’s Kitchen ......................................... 14
*Trash Bags..................................................... 27
Volunteers in Psychotherapy....................... 40
War.............................................................. 16
Warm Woolies ................................................ 37
Wilderness Inquiry ....................................... 42
Ya’akov Maimon Volunteers18
Yad Chessed .................................................... 33
YITAV 109 ................................................ 21
Youngstown Community
Food Bank................................................ 31
Zev Birger and the
Romema Families .............................. 12
Ziv’s Fellow ............................................... 45
Ziv-Giraffe Curriculum ................................... 5
Ziv’s Interns .................................................... 46
Ziv’s Mitzvah Heroes DVD ........................... 5
Ziv’s Mitzvah Hero Conference .................... 4
Ziv’s Response To Poverty
and Hunger in Israel.......................... 11

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