Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Evoking Divine Blessing Through Pre-Passover Giving

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It’s Baruch and my wife Anat, in a different kind of post today.

The holiday commemorating the exodus from Egypt is one of Judaism's most beautiful yet most expensive holidays. For poor Jewish families, it is a crisis.

At the behest of some friends from the US who were anxious to contribute their pre-Passover giving to the poor of Israel and asked which of the many good organizations they should donate to, Anat and I rolled up our sleeves to investigate.

For starters, the Torah itself singles out the poor of the Land of Israel for giving: "If there be among you a needy man, one of thy brethren, within any of thy gates, in your land which the Lord your G-d gives you..." (Deut. 15:7).

Several verses later, the G-d of Israel promises great reward to anyone who gives to the needy of Israel: "the Lord your G-d will bestow blessing upon you, in all of your deeds and in your livelihood (Deut. 15:10).”

This verse has motivated Jews and Gentiles throughout history who seek Divine blessing to send their alms to the poor of Israel.

We found one organization, Mekimi, which has a radical, innovative approach to giving money to Israel's poor. The more we investigated Mekimi, the more we fell in love with it and made it the main recipient of our charity for the needy. Here's why:
[Scroll down to donate]

For starters, just look at their office location in this “panorama” photo:
To save money, they located their offices in a parking garage!


  • The most outstanding feature of this organization is that they don’t just throw the money into the bottomless pit of debt of a needy family (which IS a worthy mitzvah). Rather, they extend a rope to the family to pull them out, and guide them to financial independence!
  • Mekimi meets with husband and wife together and opens all the family finances (bank and credit card statements, salary slips, and all other income and expenses) and devises a program of reaching self-sustainment which often includes sacrificing the car and more. Mekimi teaches the family to live according to their means, and does job placement when necessary. The family must adhere strictly to the program, and prove so via documentation in follow up meetings with Mekimi.
  • As the family learns to adhere to its new budget, Mekimi patiently engages  each creditor to negotiate down (sometimes to even 50%) on behalf of the family.
  • Mekimi turns to relatives and friends of the family, explains the family’s progress without causing embarrassment, and asks (for what is likely to be the last time) to pitch in to bail them out. Mekimi covers the rest.
  • The people behind Mekimi are true idealists; the director, Yisrael Livman, is a personal friend from Bet El of impeccable character - a quiet, modest mountain-mover.
What Anat and I also like about Mekimi is that most of the families are from Judea and Samaria, though often they help modern-Orthodox  families in other parts of the country.

This YouTube video sums up their work and introduces you to Yisrael Livman:
Both new families who are drowning in debt and families who’ve learned to account for every shekel turn to Mekimi for assistance before the holidays because of the extraordinary costs. Mekimi answers their need.

Anat and I recommend hands down without hesitation to channel your Maos Hittim money to the cause which we believe in most: Mekimi.

They don’t have 501c3 USA non-profit status so Bet El is providing receipts for dollar donations. We worked out a system for immediate (!) use of the money by Mekimi, even on Erev Chag.

Donate to Mekimi’s Maos Hittim campaign and know that your support is really making a difference. After our research, we concluded that Mekimi is the single most effective and prudently-run tzedaka organization for the poor in Israel.

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A warm chag sameach from Bet El,
Baruch and Anat Gordon
bmgisrael @

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