Date: Wed, 16 August 2006 17:50:54 +0200 From: Noah Greenberg Reply-To: Noah Greenberg Subject: Safed Emergency Food Fund — OUR war is NOT over! To:

21 Menachem Av

August 15, 2006

As the military situation here seems to become calmer; if, G-d willing, the rockets stop falling on our communities, WE CANNOT ALLOW OURSELVES TO FALL INTO COMPLACENCY. Even if the war is over, it will take many weeks for people to gather up the shards of their lives and return to normal. Refugees will soon begin returning home to find their homes and lives in shambles. Working people will have been in bomb shelters for 5 weeks with no wages. Businesses have been paralyzed. How will these people feed their families? Perhaps, ultimately they will receive some compensation from the government – but that could take months. What will they eat tomorrow? Next week?

Please do not live under the illusion that everybody is now OK — just because drama of war is off the front pages of the newspapers. People are NOT ok. Their lives are in chaos; they continue to need our help – even more than before! Please continue to be generous!

As you are reading in the news, Safed – and the entire north of Israel – has been continually bombarded by Hezbollah rockets. My own home in Safed has been bracketed by rocket hits. And close! A person was killed by a rocket perhaps 75 meters from my home. The children swept up shrapnel outside our front door.

In the municipal “war room” – a bomb shelter across from city hall — sit the operators for 106 – the telephone emergency hot line to the city: “our bomb shelter is flooding with sewage,” “we’ve run out of diapers,” “the old lady next door hasn’t gotten food for three days”. An endless litany of crises that the city is desperately trying to address – not to mention the actual missile damage, the firefighting and the medical emergencies. On Friday, very shortly before Shabbes, I got yet another emergency call from the officer in charge of the Home Front Command (Pikud Ha’Oref): a divorced women was there with a gaggle of children; her house had just been destroyed — and she didn’t have what to eat for Shabbes (not to mention a few other things!!). Thank G-d we were able to send her food for Shabbes right away, and vouchers to buy more on Sunday. Of course that isn’t going to solve her problem — FAR from it; but at least her children won’t be hungry TODAY.

But this is not time for anecdotes or stories of miracles.

Safed has a population of about 32,000. About 10-12,000 people remain here now. The municipality has been distributing about 4000 meals a day. What is everybody else eating?

At the behest of the Mayor of Safed and in conjunction the army’s “Home Front Command” (Pikud HaOref), Yeshiva of Safed is addressing the primary need of remaining residents of Safed: FOOD.

As of Tuesday, Yeshiva of Safed is distributing vouchers for people to buy food. Each family will get 300 shekels (about $70). Depending on the generosity of our brothers and friends abroad, we hope to reach all of those in need here in Safed (and in this emergency situation that means almost everybody). G-d willing, we will be able to do that on a regular basis until the crises is over.

To date, we have commitments for about $60-70,000; which is enough to distribute about 900 vouchers. The mayor (etc.) estimates that there are about 2000+ families remaining here in Safed today.

Our voucher distribution operates as follows:

* All distribution is being supervised by HaRav Mordechai Dov Kaplan who is the Rav of the Old City of Safed – and the sixth generation of the family chain of rabbanim holding that position.

* All distribution is being done in conjunction with the mayor, the welfare department, and the Home Front Command (Pikud Ha’Oref)

* NONE of the money we collect and distribute will go into the hands of any of those organizations. All of the money will go directly to the people in need (or suppliers)

* The current emergency is a leveling “experience.” EVERYBODY here is in need. Even a person that would normally have means is now needy – the economy is at a standstill, nobody has worked for a month; people are paralyzed by fear, stress, actual danger. This is not time to be checking people’s credentials!

* The vouchers will be distributed to the entire community – religious, non-religious, old, young, Sefardi, Ashkenazi. All will all be addressed the same – as much as is humanly possible.

* No cash will be distributed — only vouchers to buy from the stores

* Each purchaser will be required to identify himself with his identity number and sign for the voucher. The store owners will be reimbursed only on presentation of the used vouchers with a cash register receipt.

* Each voucher clearly states that it is NOT valid for cigarettes or alcohol.

Of course the situation is not static. We must be prepared to change our strategy as the situation develops. For example, in addition to the problems for those remaining in Safed, refugees from Safed (and other northern communities) are in serious distress. Families fled their homes with no money, no place to go, no resources. They have been displaced from one refuge to another – staying as long as they can; leaving as they “wear out there welcome” or use up there finances. These refugees are in serious need; we need to help them too. Many are just now beginning to come home – to personal and financial chaos. They needed to pay for being refugees, now they need to pay to be home. Many have come home to find that their houses are not as they left them: the bomb damage is endemic. Everybody has come home to empty refrigerators and pantries. Everybody has come home to empty bank accounts – nobody has worked for more than a month! All this costs money!

US tax deductible donations can be sent to Mateh Aharon which is the fund-raising arm of the Yeshiva of Safed. It is “hosted” my father z”l’s shul in California. The money goes into a dedicated account at the shul. Within a few days, this account should also be able to receive contributions by credit card.

The mailing address is:

“Mateh Aaron”
c/o Congregation Beth Israel
1630 Bancroft Way,
Berkeley CA 94703

The following is the information for tax deductible bank transfers

Congregation Beth Israel
Mateh Aaron
Account number: 1480020142
ABA: 121000497

Union Bank of California
Berkeley #148
2333 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley CA 94704

Thank you and kol tuv,

Noah Greenberg


Noah Greenberg

Bezalel Editions Limited
Rechov Tet Zayin 62
Safed, 13213

Telephone: (972)-4-697-1111
Facsimile: (972)-4-692-0582