Friday, June 19, 2009

Website of the Week: The Good People Fund

The world of Tzedakkah shed a creative tear last year with the passing from the scene of Danny Siegel's Ziv Foundation. Siegel single handedly revolutionized the way Jews do philanthropy by seeking out those small, personal projects that touch lives, and giving us all access to these mitzvah heroes. Now the work of Ziv has found new expression in The Good People Fund. Find it at They've also just released their Good People Fund Guide for 2009. Click here to view the report.

(Meanwhile, Siegel's work continues independently and can be seen at his website,

This site is a MUST for all bar mitzvah families, and in fact for the rest of us too. The layout is vastly improved from the old Ziv site, but the mitzvah options remain equally inspiring. Read about Clara Hammer, the “Chicken Lady” of Jerusalem. Clara’s story is a legend that has been shared with many people throughout this country, especially religious and day school students who contribute tzedakah to her work.

Many years ago, while visiting her butcher, Mr. Hacker, Clara witnessed him handing over a bag of chicken bones and skin to a young girl. Commenting to him that the girl must own many cats, the butcher replied that the bag’s contents were actually for the family to use to prepare a Shabbat cholent. He went on to explain that the father and mother were not well and had not worked in a very long time. Though he had extended credit to them, he could no longer do so. Clara was appalled that anyone would have to eat such garbage and instructed Mr. Hacker to give the girl two chickens and a half kilo of chopped meat weekly so that they could have a proper
Shabbat. No one was to know the identity of the donor.

Clara has been performing the mitzvah of feeding hungry people for almost 30 years. (she was merely 69 when she actually started this particular mitzvah). She's 99 now!

And we at TBE can take particular pride in The Forgotten People Fund, involving our own mitzvah hero, Jan Gaines. Here's what the guide has to say about that:

The Forgotten People Fund is an all-volunteer group that works in Netanya, home to Israel’s largest Ethiopian population, most living in very poor conditions. FPF volunteers, led by our friends Aida Miller and Anne and David Silverman, establish personal relationships with many individuals and families and offer them friendship and also help with food, education costs, health education, clothing…the list is endless. They are a true lifesaver for so many in that city. When we visited Israel this past February we enjoyed a visit with Aida and Jan Gaines, one of the American volunteers who spend severalmonths inNetanya. It was inspiring to hear about the group’s many programs particularly the work they do with senior Ethiopians—lectures, a choir, an ulpan and a nutritious breakfast that is served three days a week. This past year the group celebrated its 10th Anniversary and also received an award for outstanding volunteer service from Netanyasmayor.We have always been proud of the work that we do with the FPF—they are all-volunteer and nearly 100% of the funds they raise are directed to helping families and individuals with their most basic needs. We can’t wait for the 20th anniversary celebration!

Read about these and many other mitzvah opportunties, as we at TBE begin the Year of the Mitzvah and our participation in JTS Chancellor Arnold Eisen's "Mitzvah Initiative," which you will soon be reading about.

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arnie draiman said...
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