“‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.” (Deuteronomy 15:11)
Blind, diabetic and crippled, a woman takes care of her 40 year old daughter – also crippled from birth. A man is hospitalized for months but cannot afford his life-saving medicine. Another woman has no income, since her husband and son died and her daughter renounced her. Yet another lost her house in a fire and relocated to a temporary dorm.
These are just a minute sample of the heartbreaking stories that can land on the desk of a community rabbi any given month. In an attempt to deal with some of them, the FJC in partnership with the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, provides each participating community with money aimed for distribution in cases of special need. These can include urgent medical care, hunger, financial or family crisis, house repair or renovation, and more.
The monthly sum is generally divided among several individuals, but may be supplemented, subject to the decision of the rabbi in charge of the Fund. Although the sums are not huge, the differences they make can be astonishing, and the responsibility cannot be overestimated: lives are saved, families reunited, crises and domestic violence quite often averted.