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Feb 21, 2013

Lemaan Achai: Why we are so quiet

As the carnival atmosphere warms up in Ramat Beit Shemesh - you may not have noticed Lema'an Achai's low profile campaign.

Lema'an Achai's modest marketing budget pays for a few banners, posters and tee shirts. 

We use plenty of imagination and energy - and you'll surely enjoy this year's TzedakaThon theme for Purim. 

But, frankly, Lema'an Achai are not at our best talking ourselves up.  

We're better - much better - at helping local families in distress.

Like Mrs Z.

Mrs Z came to Lema'an Achai because she had received an arnona bill of 16,000 NIS. 

She is a young widow with kids, and had no way of being able to pay that kind of money.

However, in discussion with Lema'an Achai's team, the rest of Mrs Z's story emerged. 

Her late husband, "Moshe", had a sucessful professional career, brought in a nice salary, and had personal wealth and assets.

But Moshe had one problem. 

Moshe liked to gamble.  

Not only did Moshe's salary go to pay gambling debts, but his business and assets were sold off piece-meal to pay the creditors.

Even that wasn't enough.

Chased by mafiosi creditors, Moshe fled abroad and Mrs Z reluctantly went with him with their kids. 

As she saw the same self-destructive behavior playing out there also, Mrs Z separated from Moshe, and brought her children back to Israel.

Moshe died suddenly abroad in tragic circumstances.

So, here was Mrs Z at Lema'an Achai, with her Arnona bill, whose late husband Moshe had accumulated an astounding 15,000,000 NIS in gambling debts, much in Mrs Z's name. 

As a side-note, Bituach Leumi didn't recognise Mrs Z as a widow and so refused to pay her family benefits. 

Furthermore, aside from the financial and legal chaos, Mrs Z and her children suffered deep emotional scars from their bitter experiences. 

I will cut the the long story short - and skip to today.

As a result of Lema'an Achai's intensive intervention, Mrs Z today receives almost 5000 NIS/month in benefits, while paying just 100 NIS in debt repayments. 

Mrs Z has completed a professional retraining course, and is now bringing in a salary which pays her family's bills.

Mrs Z and her kids have responded well to therapy, and have a healthy and positive outlook.  

As for the arnona bill - we got this slashed from 16,000 NIS, to just 5000 NIS, payable in three instalments. 

Today, Mrs Z came in to Lema'an Achai with her donation for Matanot Le'evionim.

This Purim - enjoy the carnival atmosphere.

And remember, while the Purim celebrations are noisy in the streets, Lema'an Achai is quietly working in people's homes, saving families like the Z's - as only Lema'an Achai can do.

Please remember to give your Matanot Le'evionim generously to Lema'an Achai. 

The quiet guys. 

Purim Sameach!
David & Avrohom

Donations by Phone 24/6 - 02-99999.33
Donations in Cash - Via Your Shul Lema'an Achai Gabbai 

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  1. Beautiful!
    Lema'an Achai are a most wonderful organization.
    They deserve all of our support - davka because they don't paint our whole town red - and simply do their avodas kodesh quietly.

  2. I will never forget the time a leader from a different local charity organization told me, "The reason we make so much noise is because if we don't, the Americans don't know how to give. they need a show."

    I always felt that was so disrespectful. Thank yuoto Lemaan Achai for showing the people of this town the respect they deserve.

  3. Would Like AnswersFebruary 22, 2013 4:35 PM

    Today's parade is a perfect example of what can be wrong with tzedaka.

    A parade is great, raising money if fine.

    Endangering children and wasting oodles of money on balloons, streamers, posters, gasoline, etc. is not fine. Neither is lack of consideration for others trying to run errands on Erev Shabbos.

    And BTW..are there any Hatzola volunteers out there who can explain:
    1) How you can participate in something that endangers children (riding in front, on roof tops, etc) and
    2) I donate to Hatzola..why is my money being used for a tzedaka organization's parade?

  4. There is nothing wrong with competition. Healthy competition. When one organization is lifted by putting the other down or having rabbonim dissuade people from giving to one it is no longer healthy.

    Bais Tifilo and Gra members don't support Lema'an Achai and they don't even know why. Here is an organization doing amazing things for the people of RBS. Imagine how much more they could do if everyone supported them as they should.

    How sad.

  5. Lmaan Achai SupporterFebruary 25, 2013 9:24 AM

    I am a big supporter of LA, and directed the bulk of my Matanot L'evyonim allowance towards their wonderful projects. Yet I was quite put off by this post, and thought it beneath the usual high standards of LA's leadership.
    We will not solve the problems of disunity in our beautiful community by "fighting fire with fire." Why do we need to cast aspersions on other organizations in order to support our own? Is this not the very argument we passionately make in defense of LA?
    Any intelligent and impartial observer would acknowledge that there is a constant tension for tzedaka organizations trying to balance PR expenses with their core mission. I thought the kupa ran a witty and entertaining campaign this year. I hope it helped them raise needed dollars.
    The parade can be a an annoyance but is great fun for children and provides a high profile look at the organization. I find some of the protests about safety to be disingenuous at best. But I prefer not to turn this into a digression about the comments.
    The original post struck me as being holier than thou, petty, and sour grapes. Let's remain rightfully proud of LA and not stoop down to the competition.

    1. the parade never bothered me. I dont know why people make such a big deal about it. plenty of cities have parades. its fairly common for Purim. some noise for a couple hours on erev purim isnt such a big deal...

  6. I want to know why we were promised on erev rosh hashana that if we would change our donations and sign horaat kevas to raise a certain amount of money, an amount that was raised, there would be no more fundraising campaigns during the year. If I remember correctly, there was a matching fund donation in place for any donation by horaat keva, and they promised that if they raise that amount it will cover everything for the year.

    Obviously they weren't going to keep that promise, so I do not know why it was made in the first place. but if they were going to make the promise, and they did, at least we should hear an explanation of why they must break the promise.

  7. Lema'an Achai VolunteerFebruary 25, 2013 8:42 PM

    Lema'an Achai Supporter,

    I, like you, was at first taken by the posting of Lema'an Achai. After some thought, however, I took a totally different approach.

    Lema'an Achai is not putting anyone else down. They are simply saying (and this is true) that their strength is not in getting the crowds but rather a more quiet approach.

    If you would look around RBS you would think that the Kupa is the ONLY tzedaka organization. And to be quite frank they do give off this notion.

    They circulated a "kol korei" before Purim quoting from halacha that one should give to the local Kupa Shel Tzedaka, capitalizing those words as if the Shulchan Aruch, Rambam, etc. intended for us to give only Kupa Shel RBSA.

    Well guess what..according to halacha Lema'an Achai is also a kupa shel tzedaka!

    Most of the main rabbanim of the kupa don't allow Lema'an Achai to advertise or appeal in their shuls. There are people in RBS who don't even know why they aren't giving to Lema'an Achai.

    That, my friend, is the epitome of "holier than thou".

    I daven in a shul where both the rav and the president are very involved in Lema'an Achai and the Kupa is allowed to advertise and make announcements in shul.

    I agree with you that we certainly have much to proud of about Lema'an Achai and we should spread that pride to the un and misinformed people of our great community.

    1. Lmaan Achai SupporterFebruary 26, 2013 8:52 PM

      2 rights don't make a wrong. That was my point.
      If LA is denied equal rights, that doesn't make their post any more appropriate.
      Kupa can be criticized for a great many things, but running a successful (and arguable entertaining) campaign shouldn't be one of them.
      Being loud is not neccesarily a fault.

  8. Making a loud campaign, may not be a problem. But spending thousands and thousands of shekalim on advertising instead of giving it to poor families is a huge problem. And if you think that the stores and businesses of the Kupa pay for all of the thousands of shekalim, think again.

  9. the parade is fine, in my opinion, but I thought the level of the advertising, and the trucks driving around on Purim itself, was a bit obscene. They have turned Purim into nothing else beyond donating to them.

  10. Lmaan Supporter,

    And what would you say if Lema'an Achai did the same?

    Most of their campaigns are quite witty and "on target" just done in a more conservative fashion.

    I'm certain that if they would blow bukka bucks on advertising and floats, parades etc. people would come out in major protest.

  11. Lmaan Achai SupporterFebruary 27, 2013 2:49 PM

    Here's my point: There is a need for tzedaka organizations to balance their PR expenses with their core mission. Do any of us here really know that balance? Of course not! It seems to me that these criticisms are knee jerk anti-kupa reactions, and also contain a hint of jealousy. I fail to see any merit in the argument put forth in the post.


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