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In Melbourne Shabbat begins Fri 10 Apr 2020 05:41 PM and ends Sat 11 Apr 2020 06:40 PM

Helping the ‘raw underbelly’

ז' אב ה' אלפים תשס"ט

A LITTLE-KNOWN Jewish charity is reportedly handing out 10 times more money than other welfare services to Jewish battlers.

The Melbourne Jewish Charity Fund (MJCF) is a tiny organisation with a big helping hand. It was established over a decade ago within the Yeshivah community as a collection taken up each Rosh Chodesh. In more recent years, MJCF has branched out to become a vital community safety net, raising $750,000 alone in the past year.

Avi Gilboa is a merchant banker and an MJCF board member. Originally a donor when the organisation was smaller, Gilboa became more involved about 10 years ago.

“There are two misnomers: where is the source of support, and the other thing people don’t appreciate is that there is a very raw underbelly in the community,” he said.

Vulnerable Jewish people include single mothers, who are left shortchanged after a divorce; long-term unemployable people; the elderly; migrants from Russia and Israel; and large Orthodox families.

MCJF raises money precisely for these people and runs on a shoestring budget. The operating structure consists of an email address, a mobile phone and a bank account. Of donations made to the organisation, which are tax deductible, 98 cents per dollar goes straight to the needy.

According to Gilboa, the Jewish community is very good at addressing the root causes of social problems, but often fails to address the symptoms. He told the story of a family who had no food in their house, not a bite.

Gilboa went over in the middle of the night and gave the family $150 worth of supermarket vouchers.

“If you have this theoretical paradigm of poverty that says we are only interested in root causes,what do you do to that woman who has no means of putting food on the table and doesn’t get her pay cheque until the following Wednesday?” he asked.

MCJF also addresses social issues unique to the Jewish community. It subsidises underprivileged students so they can go on Jewish summer camps with their friends. It also has a Pesach shoe program, which buys new shoes for children on the important holy days.

“The realities of all these needs continue to grow,” Gilboa said.

Enquiries: www.mjcf.com.au.

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Thank you. I have read that just now and having been one of the many people that this organisation has helped over the past two years or so, it is gratifying knowing that they are receiving the proper recognition for their services. Thank you for drawing my attention to the article. An Easy Fast and may we merit the coming of Moishiah and see the third Beit Hamikdash built in our generation. 

Posted by Anon on 2009-07-28 06:52:31 GMT