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Motti was only five years-old when his father died. Yet despite his young age, Motti was keenly aware of his family’s increasing hardship and poverty during the months after his father’s death. Motti’s father had been a taxi driver who worked long hours to provide his family with a good income and a comfortable, if modest life. Motti’s mother had been a housewife, staying at home to care for Motti and his seven siblings. With the death of Motti’s father, his mother — unskilled and untrained — began working as a cleaner in Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station. Motti’s family had to move from their comfortable flat in Tel Aviv to a much smaller apartment in poverty-stricken Jaffa.

The family’s move to a rundown apartment building in a high crime neighborhood was not the worst hardship they had to face. As time went on and Motti’s mother continued to work long hours for a very low wage, food became scarce for Motti and his family. After rent and utilities, there was no longer enough money to adequately feed the family. A year after the death of Motti’s father, the family was surviving on one meal daily: pita bread with chocolate spread.

Motti’s mother was a proud woman and reluctant to accept charity. Yet Motti’s school counselor referred him to the Jaffa Institute’s Moadoniot/ After School Activity Program, where Motti began to receive a daily hot meal. After several months of monitoring by the Tel Aviv Jaffa Department of Welfare, Motti’s mother began to receive income supplements that eased the burden of meeting monthly expenses. The family was also enrolled into the Jaffa Institute’s Food Distribution Program. The family immediately began to receive huge food parcels, twice a month, containing staples such as rice, flour and pasta, as well as canned goods, breakfast cereals, holiday-specific goods and even treats for the children, such as peanut butter and jam.

No longer suffering from the pangs of hunger, the children are healthier, happier and performing better in school. Motti’s mother, still working in a low paying job, intends to enroll in the Institute’s Welfare to Well Being workplace training program for local mothers.


2 thoughts on “Inspiring stories from the!

  1. Please read and share about the jaffa institute, this really Midnightrabbi inspiresd the JIM = Jaffa Institute & Midnightrabbi eli goldsmith and all our friends to make a difference!

    • Worth reading the February Newsletter 2012

      (1) A word from our Founder and Chairman: Dr. David Portowicz

      2012 at the Jaffa Institute began with a great bang, as 980 of our friends gathered
      together to celebrate the organization entering its 30th year of service at the
      Gala Dinner in Israel. As Chairman of the Jaffa Institute, I felt honored to be surrounded
      by so many supporters at this annual event; friends new and old who share our
      determination to alleviate the widespread poverty present in Jaffa, south Tel Aviv,
      Bat Yam, Rishon LeZion and Bet Shemesh.

      On behalf of the people that we serve, I would like to take this opportunity to
      extend warm thanks to the Jaffa Institute’s generous supporters – without your
      assistance, the Jaffa Institute simply could not provide essential educational, welfare,
      and therapeutic services to the disadvantaged children and families within our community. In 2012, it is my hope, that
      we will continue to work together to provide the children in our care with a brighter future.

      On January 9th the Jaffa Institute celebrated 30 years of service to
      thousands of impoverished children and their families who live in
      Tel Aviv–Jaffa. Based on the premise that educational
      enrichment can provide disadvantaged children with the
      academic tools required to succeed in life, the Jaffa Institute
      established its first after-school activity center in 1982. Over the
      years the services provided by the Jaffa Institute have
      evolved in response to the ever-changing needs of our community.
      As a result, the Jaffa Institute is now a multi-service agency offering 30 programs, including a food distribution center,
      vocational skills courses for adults, emergency shelters, after school activity centers, therapeutic programming, musical
      enrichment and much more.

      The Annual Gala Dinner, which hosted 980 people, took place at the prestigious Avenue Convention Center in Airport
      City. We were delighted to be joined by the Honorees or Yedidei Nefesh – Mr. Conrad and Mrs. Ruth Morris, and Mr.
      Yosef and Mrs. Nurit Bar Natan – as well as the event’s Chairman, Mr Doron Sapir. In addition, guests were treated to
      a fantastic performance by the famous Israeli singer Gidi Gov who played in front of an enraptured audience, as well as
      being entertained by the charming compere, Gil Peretz.

      Thanks to the support of both Israeli and international friends, the Gala Dinner was a great success and raised over
      $500,000 towards the Jaffa Institute’s vital programming.

      (3) Bet Metsuba After School Activity Center for Children with Special

      In January 2012, the second group of 12 children was enrolled into after-school programming at the Jaffa Institute’s
      newest center – the Bet Metsuba After-School Activity Center. Located in the impoverished Hatikvah neighborhood of
      south Tel Aviv, the Center provides after school programming to disadvantaged children from the local area, who suffer
      from a range of emotional, behavioral and attention deficit problems.

      Before beginning activities at the Center, each of the 12 new participants was assessed in order to determine their
      educational and psychological needs. Based on these assessments, individualized plans were established for each child,
      which include suggested therapeutic methods as well as defined goals for improvement.

      At the Center, the children participate in educational, recreational and therapeutic activities in small groups, in order
      to ensure they each receive the personalized attention they need. These activities take place in 30 minute sessions
      as the children struggle to concentrate for long periods and the opportunity for regular ‘time-out’ breaks is therefore
      greatly beneficial. In addition, each of the children receives one-to-one therapy, using a variety of different therapeutic
      methods. The types of therapy include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which seeks to challenge each child’s negative
      thoughts and behaviors while equipping them with effective coping strategies, and art therapy, which provides children
      who struggle to articulate themselves verbally, with an alternative form of expression.

      Omri’s mother suffers from poor mental health and his father is unemployed. He goes to a mainstream elementary
      school but comes to Bet Metsuba after school each day because he suffers from attention deficit disorder.
      Although Omri is very sociable, and is popular among the other children at the Center, he has a tendency to be very
      argumentative and struggles with boundaries and rules. The staff at Bet Metsuba is working very hard to help Omri
      learn to cope with a structured routine; by reinforcing his good behavior with positive feedback, Omri is already
      starting to adhere better to boundaries. Omri also receives psychodrama therapy (therapy through dramatization)
      from a qualified therapist. He greatly enjoys these sessions, which encourage him to use his vivid imagination, and the
      therapist has reported many positive improvements since she started to work with him.

      For more information, please contact Mitch Chupak by email at or by telephone at +972-(0)3-

      There is a shocking reality in Israel today. Among the 208,000
      Holocaust survivors living in the country, many of whom were
      instrumental in the building of the State, over a quarter is living under
      the poverty line. In the Jaffa Institute’s service area alone, it is
      estimated that over 4,000 of the 15,000 Holocaust survivors are
      living in poverty. Although many survivors receive monthly payments
      from Holocaust compensation programs and/or the Israeli
      government, as they have aged and begun to experience increased
      health problems, these payments are no longer sufficient to cover their
      basic needs. Increasingly, the bills for necessary medical care are swallowing their small income, leaving them unable to
      pay for basic living costs such as food, rent and utilities. Indeed, many Holocaust survivors do not eat more than one
      nutritious meal per week.

      In order to combat the widespread hunger and malnutrition present among the Holocaust survivors in our service area,

      the Jaffa Institute’s Food Distribution Center delivers food parcels to impoverished holocaust survivors on a regular
      basis. Each food parcel contains staples such as flour, oil, sugar, and tuna in addition to pasta, canned vegetables,
      and other necessities. The Holocaust survivors are also provided with fresh meat and fish. These food packages are
      delivered to the recipients by private volunteers using their own cars, and by a bus provided by the Dan Bus Company.
      The same volunteers deliver food parcels to the same Holocaust survivors every two weeks, allowing them to build close
      relationships that are valuable not only to the Holocaust survivors, but also to the volunteers.

      In 2012, thanks to a generous donation by Keren L’Yedidut, the Food Distribution Center will increase the number of
      Holocaust survivors on its distribution list, thereby enabling more impoverished individuals to live their lives with dignity.

      For more information, please contact Shalom Portowicz by email at or by telephone at +972-(0)

      On 30th January, nine women graduated from the latest Welfare to
      Wellbeing course. All of the women had been unemployed and
      dependent upon welfare benefits for a long time prior to enrolling
      into the course, and many have been victims of domestic violence
      and subjected to abuse throughout their lives. However, despite their
      traumatic experiences, the women were united in their determination
      to overcome their troubled pasts, and achieve financial self-sufficiency.

      During the four month course, the women participated in vocational training courses, where they learned valuable skills,
      such as paralegal debt-recovery, which are highly desirable in the Israeli job market. They also received psychological
      support and guidance from Welfare to Wellbeing’s social worker; weekly one-to-one sessions helped each woman deal
      with her individual problems and group sessions focused on elevating the women’s self-esteem while effecting positive
      attitudinal changes. During the last month of the course, the job-placement coordinator helped the women to find
      appropriate jobs as receptionists, telemarketers, secretaries and book-keepers.

      At the beginning of the course, many of the women were afraid of the prospect of change, their self-esteem having
      been eroded by a lifetime’s dependence on welfare benefits. Four months later, after intensive skills training and
      psychological support, they all felt prepared to enter the working world and excited to start a new life of self-sufficiency.

      Welfare to Wellbeing has been made possible by the founding support of Janine and Peter Lowy, and the generosity of
      the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles.

      My own situation is a good example of the impact of the course. Towards the end of the course, I sent my resume to a
      business. The next day, they invited me to a job interview. I went to the interview and after two hours, they sent me a
      message to say that they had accepted me! It was amazing. That was the first job interview I had had in five years. The
      Welfare to Wellbeing course has restored the self-confidence that I was lacking.

      For more information, please contact Mitch Chupak by email at or by telephone at +972-(0)3-

      This year the Jaffa Institute will be participating in the annual
      Feinstein Foundation Million Dollar Giveaway. Any donations to the Jaffa
      Institute’s Food Programs before April 30th 2012 will be matched by
      Alan Shawn Feinstein, enabling your contribution to help even more needy

      In addition to the Food Distribution Center, the Jaffa Institute also
      provides Hot Meals on a daily basis to over 400 disadvantaged
      children who participate in our programs, as well as delivering 1,000 sandwiches each day to local schools.

      Moreover, this coming Passover, the Jaffa Institute is hosting a Pesach Seder for 500 impoverished Ethiopian
      immigrants in the Bet Shemesh Educational Center’s beautiful new dining hall. For many of these families, this will be
      the first Seder of their lives; an experience never to be forgotten.

      To help the Jaffa Institute in our Fight Against Hunger, click here. Just write “Food” in the memo section and your
      donation will be matched by the Feinstein Challenge.

      For more information about the Jaffa Institute, visit our website at

      You can now follow us on Blogspot, Twitter and Facebook


      Becoming Bar Mitzvah is often the most significant event in a teenage
      boy’s life. It marks the important boundary between childhood and
      adulthood and is generally a time for great joy as well as reflection. Sadly,
      many of the students at the Bet Shemesh Educational Center simply cannot
      afford to celebrate this special occasion because of their families’ financial

      This year, the Bet Shemesh Educational Center seeks to fulfill the dreams
      of its Bar Mitzvah boys. After completing an educational course about the significance of becoming Bar Mitzvah,
      each of the boys will be given a set of teffilin, and a tallit, as well as a small gift in honor of the momentous event.
      They will also have the opportunity to celebrate their special day with their families and friends, when they are all
      treated to a luxuriously catered meal and taken on an exciting field trip. This meaningful day of growth and
      celebration will be unforgettable for our students!

      If you would like to help a Bar Mitzvah boy receive a truly special Bar Mitzvah celebration, please click here or
      contact Yechiel Marcus by e-mail at, or by phone in the United States at 646-280-8329 or in
      Israel at +972-54-4916217.

      Although the students at the Bet Shemesh Educational
      Center have long benefitted from a beautiful campus conducive
      both to learning and recreational activities, to date they have
      not had access to a comprehensive school library. Research studies
      have shown that access to a quality library with up-to-date
      resources not only increases the reading ability of students,
      but also improves all critical areas of the students’
      vocabulary, spelling and grammar. Furthermore, school libraries
      encourage research and independent learning skills which are vital for succeeding in higher education and valuable
      in future life.

      Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the Goldstone Library, named in recognition of the longstanding friendship
      and support of David Goldstone CBE, will soon provide the students at the Center with all the benefits of a modern
      library. It will be an invaluable resource for the students, which will promote deeper learning, enthusiasm for
      reading for pleasure and will give the students an appropriate place to study, research and work on projects.

      Well-stocked with a comprehensive array of reference and fiction books, textbooks, newspapers, English language
      comics and DVDs, as well as a cutting-edge computer station, the library will give the students at the Center
      the opportunity to access the same resources as their counterparts from more privileged backgrounds, thereby
      improving their chances of academic success.

      (8) Stunning New Entrance to Bet Shemesh Educational Center

      Located at the top of a steep hill in Bet Shemesh, the
      entrance to the Bet Shemesh Educational Center
      boasts a breathtaking view of the valley below, spanning
      picturesque moshavim and the rolling hills leading to
      Jerusalem. This entrance is currently being renovated to
      complement the awe-inspiring view it overlooks. Built out of
      marble and Jerusalem stone, the new stairway will be a fitting
      entrance to the stunning state-of-the-art campus at the Center
      and is due to be completed in the next few months.

      We thank Alfred Garfield and his noble organization, the Federation of Jewish Relief Organizations in Great Britain;
      and the Dutch Friends of the Jaffa Institute for their generous support towards making this project a reality.

      For more information, please visit:

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