Friday, 20 January 2012

How Giving are these Amutot?

Do you receive requests in the mail from Charitable organizations asking for assistance. Do you get phone calls from various charities asking for assistance?

We decided to do a little test and the result is quite alarmning. We tried calling a few to ask how someone receives assistance. We tried one organization that helps Orphans and Widows. Amazingly they can not answer as to what the process is for one to receive help. We tried asking two that called us stating they help Avreichim (those who learn in Kollel) with a monthly assistance so that they can learn Torah in Kollel. "Sounds good, we said, how does an Avreich receive help?" Amazingly they could not answer.

We have tried this test with quite a few organizations and decided this is our new method to check out if an organization is real before we decide to donate.

Try it yourself. Next time you receive a flier or envelope from a charitable organiztion in Israel requesting your Maaser money, find out how much they really help others. It is easy to write a tear jerker story, but if an Orphan or Oleh or Avreich or other needy Jew turns to them for help, do they really assist? Do they know  the process?

We manage a few Mitzvah Projects and hence from personal experience know very well what the process is. If someone asks who we help, we have certain criteria, a screening interview and process to assist. If a Charitable organization can not answer for you what the process is to receive, then the question is do they really help or are they just taking advantage of their Amuta for their own gain.

Try it yourself. Next time you receive an appeal for help, before you send in a check or give your credit card details, call and ask how to receive help. If you are given the run around or put on hold or disconnected / hung up on, will your donation really go where you want it to?

Next time you are called by one of these charities, ask them the method to receive help. Ask them if they have a website and take a look. Is the method to receive help clear? Is there even an option given or are there only options to give to them but that they dont need to give to others?

There are organizations that are real. Make sure your donation goes where you intend it to. Do this simple test and then donate generously to those who really do help. For the others, if they can not explain to you how one in need applies for help, then I question if they actually help at all.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Disability Pension in Israel

Like most countries, Israel offers a disability pension. The National Insurance Institue of Israel known as Bituach Leumi, has a website on which a number of articles are listed regarding this. On their website, it states that "A disability pension is paid to a person whose earning capacity is reduced by 50% due to his disability, or to a disabled housewife whose ability to function in her household is reduced by 50%."

I do not have any personal experience with the process. What Welcoming Olim can offer our readers is the link to the website of Bituach Leumi that deals with this topic.

If you would like to enquire from Bituach Leumi directly the call centres number is *6050. They permit questions to be asked in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian and one of the languages of Ethiopia. Sometimes the person answering the phone knows English too. If your English is not good, make sure you have someone with you who speaks one of the 4 languages they offer and can assist to translate for you or to talk on your behalf, thus acting as a translator.

If any of our readers has had experience with successfuly obtaining a disability pension, please email us so that we can share the information. Please note, we do not permit links to comments here to avoid SPAM messages.  We do welcome comments that are constructive and have no links. If you would like to write a guest post on the topic of Disability and Israel or obtaining a Disability Pension in Israel, please submit it to our email and we will review and submit if the information is beneficial. 

Shoshanah Shear
Occupational Therapist 

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Bituach Leumi Question from a Reader

Dear Welcoming Olim

I wonder if you or one of your readers can help me. 

I was most interested to read the post on difficulties with Bituach Leumi. I received a letter from Bituach Leumi to say that they had returned an amount "owing" me to my bank account. The amount they returned was exactly the amount I owed them for the month. Now I am having to pay it again with a few Shekels extra penalty fee.

My bank called asking about the payment from Bituach Leumi was and told me to sort it out as the bank is required to charge me for the service of receiving the money paid from Bituach Leumi and then charging another charge when I pay Bituach Leumi again. It seems that the "kindness" of Bituach Leumi is costing me interest/penalty fee on the additional unnecessary payment to them, plus bank charges. I now worry that they may do it again resulting in all these additional penalty and bank fee costs.

I can't help but wonder if this is just to create work for an employee. After all, someone had to return the money, write a letter to say the money was returned, put it in an envelope and pay for postage. The postman has to deliver the letter just to let me know that Bituach Leumi have returned money I had paid for monthly insurance. Then they hit me with a few Shekel fine. Why is that?

I don't understand what Bituach Leumi are doing, and I don't know how to follow thebank's instruction of "sorting things out with Bituach Leumi." I really don't know. I am an Oleh and have not learned the system too well.

Can you advise at all or can a reader of yours explain to me? The bank's call put me into a further state of depression regarding my honest payments.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write a guest post. Can someone offer assistance please?

-- Confused Reader

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Krembo Chocolate Treats - How They are Made!

A biscuit on the bottom... a mixture of sugar and egg-white on top of that (read: marshmallow), neatly molded, with a layer of (pareve) chocolate surrounding it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you haven't been in Israel long enough! If you're a new Oleh/Olah or a veteran, you'll know about this tasty chocolate treat - called Krembo! It's a composite of two words - "קרם" meaning "cream" and  "בו" meaning "in it". In South Africa, the equivalent treat (not to be confused with knowing it's state of Kashrut) is known as a Sweety Pie, or Beehive (for it's shape apparently!) In Israel there are a couple of manufacturers of this tasty treat, producing it in a few flavours - vanilla and mocha being the most common.

You best keep your eyes out for these delicious chocolates because you'll see them for only around 5 months of the year - during the winter season. They come out around September/October and are stocked up until around the end of February. You can always stock up for another 7 months or so if you have extra room, but don't expect them to be as fresh!

Would you believe that some 50 million of them are consumed each winter?!

If you've ever wondered how they're made - wonder no more! Watch the delightful video clip below and see how your treats are brought to their final form!

Enjoy! And don't forget, if you've bought a box of 40 and found it's not your taste after all, please do send them my way!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Disabilities, Israel and Olim

Being an Occupational Therapist, I am used to working with the disabled population. Did you know it is not so easy to get information as to the rights of disabled Yidden to make Aliyah? Well, if you know someone who has a disability and has made Aliyah, you stand more of a chance of obtaining the information you require. For me, I tried emailing certain offices that I would think should provide this information only to discover after several emails I still had no reply. The one reply I did receive was a Shaliach admitting that probably the offices are avoiding the question in order not to have to take responsibility. 

Is that acceptable? Is that how we as Yidden treat those who have a more difficult path in this life? Surely if they are Jewish with a Jewish mother, then they have a right to live in Eretz Yisrael?

If you do know someone who is disabled and made Aliyah, please do write in. We would like to know how your Aliyah is going, what your process had been like and any other tips you can offer to other disabled Yidden who want to make Aliyah.

Of course, we would prefer that we have Moshiach and all Yidden are fit and healthy, but in the meantime, do send in any useful info or comments.

In this series of posts, we hope to post information about Disability Grants, information on disabilities in Israel.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Level of the Kinneret

Can it be a whole month has gone by since we last posted regarding the Kinneret? Amazing!!

I took a look at the last post and the level of the Kinneret was -213.67m. The level I found for today is -213.66m. That means that the level of the Kinneret has risen by 1 cm. Not much in a month now is it. The level is still higher than it was last year, it is 36cm higher than it was this time last year to be exact. Is that enough?


We need more rain and we need the level of the Kinneret to rise. What can you do??

Pray hard for more rain. AND, send us ideas so that readers can learn how to help use the water in Eretz Yisrael in the best possible manner. Here are a few ideas to get you started:  Fix your leaks, repair leaking toilets. If you have an urn you use on Shabbat, don't just throw out the water, use it to fill a hot water bottle or to clean the floor.

How else can we save water or help the Kinneret?

If you have ideas, do let us know, AND keep up those Tefillos.

Shavuah Tov



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