Over the last 10 years, Joan and I have been literally shocked and surprised when visiting many Jewish homes with families of 6 and 7 children living with 20 plus year old appliances. These yearly trips meeting families in and around Jerusalem have been heartbreaking.
- We have seen refrigerators that were literally held together by a rope to keep the door closed.
- We have seen apartments with no stoves, no ovens and just a flame like you’d see at a picnic or school laboratory.
- We have met multiple families with many mouths to feed cooking meals in old microwaves and on stoves with 1 or 2 burners in total.
And yet, with each family that we would meet, the children were always clean and happy but dressed in depressingly old, hand-me-down clothes. The parents of course did not seem to own much more.
The homes have almost always been furnished sparsely with old broken furniture.
Here’s what we have learned through our work with David Schlessinger at Baruch U’marpeh (www.bumarpeh.org) who is our man on the ground in Israel where he runs a free ambulance service.
WELFARE DOES NOT PROVIDE APPLIANCES.
Though the welfare department does help with food, clothing and shelter.
It is impossible for us to put into words how poor so many people are and the horrible conditions in which they find themselves day after day.
You cannot imagine how much joy is experienced when David delivers a new and working fridge, stove or washing machine.
When David tells (he speaks the best Hebrew) these hard-working people living at the edge of poverty that they are going to receive a new appliance, they always look at us in shock. They begin to cry and then we begin to cry with them. It’s definitely a heart wrenching moment but one that gets transformed into an ultimate chesed.
Often we are asked “who are you, why are you doing this?” We always give the same answer that “we heard you needed help and that you were a fine Jewish family and we want to help you.”
They thank G-d and give a blessing you never heard of in all your life and we all say good bye with tears running down our faces.
Joan and I also thank G-d for the opportunity to help families like these in need who are working every day just to get by and trying their hardest to not just subsist on government handouts or charity. We know that real Mazel and Parnasah are controlled Upstairs and sometimes you can work so hard and still not enjoy the fruits of your labors as much as the next person.
We ask you to join us in this Give a Fridge program and invite you to help us purchase more appliances for more families who need them.
Our family has been funding this program exclusively for the first 10 years of its existence and we know that it works and can continue to work and to grow. In order for it to expand, it needs more contributions. 100% of the contributions (net of credit card fees) will be spent on appliances. There is no overhead.
The need is great. The opportunity is even greater.
We hope you will help us help them
Judge Norman and Joan Ciment