Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

16 Kislev 5761 - December 13, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Chessed Organizations Function in Tremendous Vacuum
by M. Halevi

Yad Sarah, a famous chessed organization which needs no introduction, was founded by Rabbi Uri Lopolianski and has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. Currently, it sponsors a wide variety of chessed and voluntary activities, compensating for what the health system does not provide to citizens in distress.

An exhibition of photographs organized by volunteers is currently on display in Jerusalem's Binyanei Hauma. The exhibition, which captures the breadth of Yad Sarah's activities and is titled accordingly--"The Many Faces of Yad Sarah"--is comprised of one hundred pictures taken by Israel's top-ranking photographers. Like other organizations founded by chareidim that serve everyone, Yad Sara is held in awe even by many secular newspaper correspondents.

One of them, Albert Suissa of the Jerusalem weekly Kol Ha'Ir, suggested that the importance of all these chessed organizations is a direct result of the indifference and disregard of the governmental authorities.

He notes that Jews have always been volunteers and contributors. "Worldwide Jewish welfare and charity organizations are viewed as prime examples to emulate. The rule is simple: In a world devoid of justice, the tzadik must do tzedoko. Just as the obligation to do tzedek is an absolute value, and is not linked to the character of the doer or the recipient, so tzedoko has an element of doing justice in a distorted world."

Mr. Suissa takes the materialistic and ambitious society to task for neglecting its needy members. The question is: who are the forces helping those non-profit organizations, which are multiplying in our distorted society, become empires of public service? And who created the tremendous vacuum in which these organizations are required to function? Doesn't an examination of the contributions given to a needy citizen, that are supposedly given with chessed, uncover that he legitimately deserves these things? Precisely why, in a capitalistic society controlled by a few tycoons, has a vast philanthropic industry been formed? In a world depending so greatly on volunteer work and contributions, could there be a somber and thoroughly corrupt society hiding behind the scenes, content to let those charitable organizations do the work for them?

The photographs don't deal with that. However, the perceptive observer might see the State behind it, as a machine that manufactures the indigent and cripples, but doesn't assume responsibility for its deeds, flinging them instead on the kindness of its simple citizens.


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