“So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12 (The Israel Bible™)
Though most people relate to a new year starting on January 1, for observant Jews, the new year just began with the Hebrew month of Tishrei. The culmination of the Jewish year 5776 (counted from the time of the birth of Adam and Eve) has individuals and organizations evaluating the past year and planning for an even more productive year in 5777.
Colel Chabad, Israel’s largest charitable organization, established in 1788, recently shared some of its 5776 accomplishments. The well-known and highly respected NGO has an outstanding reputation for identifying charitable needs and working tirelessly and creatively to turn goals into actions.
“Colel Chabad does all it can to help Israel’s citizens have a good today and an even better tomorrow,” Rabbi Sholom Duchman, Executive Director of Colel Chabad, told Breaking Israel News. “As the oldest and longest-running charity in Israel, we have a wide network of soup kitchens, food banks, day care centers, medical clinics and social-welfare projects all funded through generous donations of people who recognize the extensive help Colel Chabad provides.”
Rabbi Duchman shared some of Colel Chabad’s accomplishments from last year, noting among them:
♥ For the High Holidays, the Blavatnik Food Banks in partnership with the Keren Hayedidut, headed by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, delivered food to over 20,500 needy families. Each family received two crates of groceries, one crate of vegetables and a shopping voucher to purchase meat and poultry. This is in addition to 23 Colel Chabad soup kitchens remaining open to provide hot meals to thousands of needy, lonely and elderly individuals and families for the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah), before the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), and during the seven days of Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) and their “Meals on Wheels” program which delivered food to nearly 5,000 homebound Holocaust survivors and disabled people.
♥ Colel Chabad ensured that children hospitalized during the holiday of Hanukkah enjoyed the festival. Clowns, music, menorah lighting, traditional foods and gifts were provided at Schneider Children’s Hospital, Tel Hashomer, Wolfson, Barzilai, Kaplan, Soroka and other hospitals throughout Israel.
♥ In addition to the tens of thousands of food boxes and shopping cards distributed to Israel’s neediest for Passover, over 10,000 elderly, Holocaust survivors, lonely and needy people attended Colel Chabad-sponsored seders in nearly 50 locations throughout the Holy Land.
♥ Colel Chabad’s newly built daycare centers in the central Israeli city of Lod and the northern city of Carmiel are already filled to capacity. Plans are presently being made to build a second floor on each of these buildings. With Colel Chabad’s foresight, the original buildings were established with expansion in mind.
♥ Colel Chabad built a new daycare center in the southern city of Sderot. Since Sderot receives the bulk of missiles from the Gaza Strip, the center was built in a bomb shelter. Just this month, missiles from Gaza landed less than three kilometers away from the daycare center. The children were able to continue their classes safely in this bomb-proof facility. The Colel Chabad-sponsored Grabski Center cared for 61 severely challenged adults with state-of-the-art technology, love and care.
♥ Colel Chabad is partnering with the Israeli government in a pilot project to provide, for the first time, private housing and a non-institutional group home for people with physical handicaps and multiple sclerosis. In Israel’s northern city of Migdal Ha’emek, two apartments for six individuals are set to open in the next few weeks. Israel has homes for the mentally ill but not for the physically handicapped, making this an important test study. These apartments will enable the physically handicapped to live independently while receiving proper equipment and care.
♥ Colel Chabad sponsored Bar Mitzvahs for 113 orphans at the Western Wall followed by a gourmet meal and formal banquet at the capital’s International Convention Center. Without Colel Chabad’s help, these boys, many from disadvantaged homes, most likely would not have had this meaningful experience.
♥ 100 orphans were granted academic scholarships along with Colel Chabad sponsored tutors and extra curricular activities. The awards were presented at a festive ceremony in Jerusalem’s Gutnick Center.
♥ Recognizing that the summer months are the busiest in pediatric hospital wards, Colel Chabad ran hospital summer camps six days a week throughout July and August at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital with 45 pediatric beds and Rehovot’s Kaplan hospital with 80 beds. There was no charge to either the hospitals or the children’s parents.
“It is my special pleasure to share these accomplishments which were achieved only through the friendship and generosity of Colel Chabad donors throughout the world,” smiled Rabbi Duchman. “Our sages teach that God’s presence resides where there is gratitude. Colel Chabad and those who benefit from our work throughout the Holy Land are truly grateful to those who help us to continue our work. We bless everyone with a healthful and prosperous New Year.”