Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

10 Tammuz 5763 - July 10, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











American Agudah "Baby-Bonus" Fund Established For Israel
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Agudath Israel of America has announced the creation of a special fund aimed at assisting families with children.

On the first of July, the one-time-per-child grant of NIS 1354 that has been provided to Israeli parents for decades was cut to NIS 406 for each child after a couple's first. The grant served to signal the importance of population growth and also provided families with a modest sum to assist them as they care for a newborn.

With the new "baby bonus" reduction, however, not only has the baby-friendly message been curtailed but the severe economic pressures being felt by Israeli families, who will soon be saddled with severe reductions in their monthly per- child allowances, has been compounded.

To help assist Jewish families suffering from the reduction, Rabbi Shmuel Bloom, executive vice president of Agudath Israel of America, announced the creation of the special Agudath Israel fund, which will provide at least Israel's more needy Jewish parents with the traditional one-time grant for each new child despite the budget cut.

Rabbi Bloom expressed hope that the larger American Jewish community will also see a role for itself in helping alleviate the economic strain being felt by Israeli families.

"The realization of how important Jewish children are to the Jewish future is something that needs to be faced by every Jewish community -- including the American one," he says, noting further that "if the preliminary reports of the National Jewish Population Survey 2000 are any indication, Jewish America is shrinking."

"But it is particularly important in Israel," he stresses, "and we must all do everything we can to help Jews there whose lives reflect that realization."

What is more, "at a time when Israel is threatened in an overt way by those who would seek to make the Middle East Judenrein, we must do all we can to not only help those in need but to help ensure a vibrant Jewish future there."

Rabbi Bloom reached out to the United Jewish Communities, the general American Jewish community's major philanthropic arm, suggesting that it also might want to help fill the budget cut gap.

In a letter to the UJC's President and Chief Executive Officer, Stephen H. Hoffman, Rabbi Bloom noted that the approximately $13 million the Israeli government is saving by the curtailing of the new-child grant is "is a sizable sum, to be sure. But we feel it is not worth the toll that it will take on the Jewish future in Israel."

"I expect our constituents to react generously on behalf of [Agudath Israel's] fund," he continued. "But I do not entertain the likelihood that our efforts can provide the no- longer-offered grants to all the Jewish parents who need them.

"And so I write you to invite the UJC to consider a special grant, to help ensure that all new Jewish parents in Israel who have need of this one-time allowance for feeding and clothing their new Jewish arrivals receive it."


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.