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Lessons in White

by Shalvi Weissman

Monday, December 30, 2013

The snow is melting and Israelis are beginning to venture out of their homes. Most busses have returned to their routes and children to their schools. Israel's blizzard of the century has taught many lessons to those who are looking to learn them.

Whenever a family is faced with a challenge they have the choice of coming together and supporting each other, or blaming each other and fighting. The same is true on a national level, and within Israel and the world both options were open. Some complained that the municipalities and electric company did not come through for tens of thousands of citizens, and debate how prepared a country must be for the type of natural disaster that happens once in a century. And others looked at the same difficult and trying circumstances and chose to make a difference for people in need.

People like Ellie.

Motzi Shabbos when the impact of the blizzard force could became apparent, Yad Eliezer opened an emergency campaign to raise money for blankets, coats and heaters for families that cannot afford them on their own. The response was astounding. Within 24 hours, over $100,000 had been raised, with donations pouring in constantly from all over the globe. Yad Eliezer jumped into action, ordering top quality coats and blankets in the thousands and arranging speedy delivery to the poorest communities in the country.

Yad Eliezer was able to connect people like Rikki and Ellie.

Rikki, a single mother in Jerusalem huddled in one small bedroom of her home together with her five children. Without light and heat, they jumped on mattresses and played silly games in order to stay warm. In the meantime Ellie, in Minnesota found out about Yad Eliezer's emergency campaign, donated online and sent the following message:

I just donated $125.00. I know what it is like to be a cold child growing up with a single mother in Northern Minnesota. There were times we woke up with snow blowing in on our beds. At night we would heat large stones on the wood stove and put them in our beds to warm them. Thank G-d life is better now. . . May some beautiful child sleep warmer and safer now!

Ellie's donation will warm Rikki's children and her heart.

All in all Yad Eliezer raised over $125,000 and has purchased 130 heaters, 7500 quilts and 610 top quality coats in addition to the 2160 coats and 2500 quilts delivered before the storm, which are already being used by very happy children and families! Yad Eliezer's community organizers have insured that each donation reached communities that need it most, so that wherever the donations came from, they reached their targets perfectly.

As routine returns to Israel, we remember to focus on what unites us, and to learn beautiful lessons in white.

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