May 22, 2013

Advocacy in Israel: A Multi-Generational Commitment to Elderly

By Sarah Steinberg
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This is part of our Advocacy in Israel series, where we share interesting stories from the ground, grantee profiles and more about hunger in Israel. Read more about our work in Israel. 

Advocacy in Israel A multi generational photo

Almost 40 years ago, Rabbi Sholo Gamiel took tikkun olam into his own hands by bringing his poverty-stricken elderly neighbors into his own home to provide them with food and care. Now, at 106 years old, he still plays an active role in Ezrat Avot (Helping Our Fathers), the agency he founded, which helps elderly Israelis remain independent and active – with dignity and respect. 

Since its inception, Exrat Avot has been a family affair. In the beginning days, Rabbi Gamiel recruited his granddaughter Naomi to help and as their capacity grew, another generation – Naomi’s son Sraya – returned to Israel to manage the agency. Ezrat Avot is committed to helping its elderly clients remain safe and comfortable within their own homes. To this end, the agency provides not only traditional forms of assistance like Yad Eliezer (Meals on Wheels) and food packages but also classes, home repair service and financial assistance if a client has a small financial emergency. 

Last year, Ezrat Avot broke ground on a visionary, multiservice senior center in the busy center of the city, which will allow them to expand programming to include fitness and financial classes as well as medical care.

Rabbi Gamiel and his family continue to serve the elderly in Israel, and if his commitment is any indication, they’ll continue to do so for many more generations to come. 

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