Sunday, February 28, 2016

Keren Yachad – Together We Can Help

This blog was first published at Times of Israel.

I cry a lot. I cry over things that touch me, amazing things that people do; I cry at most weddings during the Chuppah, and usually at britot. I also cry at the horrifying things that we see happening in Israel.

But I don’t usually cry over text messages.

Recently, I did.

And that’s because Keren Yachad, where we only recently became members, sent this message (loosely translated from the Hebrew).  “Keren Yachad is sorry to inform you that we are using the keren this month. We will be taking 64 shekel for seven orphans from two families. Only with blessings, the Keren.”

Why did this make me cry?

Keren Yachad is a new initiative; it’s described as a “forward-thinking social initiative” and it is a registered foundation. The way the fund works is that we paid a one-time registration fee of 36 shekel. That’s it. That’s all it took to be part of this initiative. Then, should one of the parents in a family in Israel that is part of the fund die, all unmarried children up to the age of 30 in that family will automatically receive 50,000 shekel. There is a committee that is authorized to look into each personal case and increase that sum to 150,000 shekel if there is a pressing economic need.

And that’s it.

Where does the money come from to help these families? From me. And you. And the 18,427 people currently in the fund. When tragedy strikes, as it certainly has been lately, every member of the fund is asked to give a one-time donation of ten shekel for each new orphan.  No member will be asked to give more than 60 shekel in a single month to cover the cost of six new orphans. If there are more than six orphans in a month, the donation for the extra children will be put off for another month. (It is possible for an additional one-time payment of four shekel to be collected from each member should the family need guidance and counseling.)

Now, there are always those in the crowd who will ask why these families can’t take care of themselves. Why don’t they have life insurance? Why don’t they have wills and assets to pass down? Yes, it’s incredibly important to have a will and to designate where your money is going. And, should you be able to afford the payments, it’s incredibly important to have life insurance as well. But with that said, not everyone can afford life insurance, and not everyone has assets to pass down should they pass away. And sometimes, even with these items in place, families need more. Children need more.

In the last week alone, we lost 21 year old soldier Tuvia Yanai Weissman who left behind a four month old baby. And today, we lost 31 year old Captain Eliav Gelman, who left behind two small children and a pregnant wife. In the early years of their lives, and in the early stages of parenthood, these families didn’t necessary plan for the financial needs of their families in case of an untimely death. These are the types of families for whom we need to be there.

Keren Yachad makes it incredibly easy to be part of the program. Truly, for the cost of a coffee and a few barekas you can enroll, and for the cost of a lunch or dinner, you can have helped six orphans to have a bit more security as they face a difficult future.

And it looks like next month, we will have more orphans to help.

I don’t have the answers to stop the terror.

But this is one answer for helping out when terror does strike.


Won’t you join us? We certainly hope you will.

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For more information and to enroll with Keren Yachad, go to: http://en.kyachad.co.il/ or call 02-6280030.

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