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A New Type of Charity Fund: Avraham Shahak Avni Forms Direct Bonds with People in Need

With a new approach to charity work, Avraham Shahak Avni supports children, families and Holocaust survivors in need through his fund, Min Shemaya.

As the Jewish High Holiday season comes to a close, Avraham Shahak Avni and his charity fund, Min Shemaya, can look back on several weeks of special holiday contributions.

The Israel-based charity fund supports families, children and Holocaust survivors in need. The organization and its volunteers spent the holidays distributing food, drinks and board games to those in need.

Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, was celebrated in early September this year.  Israeli children often are gifted new clothes for the upcoming school year during the new year season. For families that struggle to make ends meet, buying new clothes can be a challenge.

To help these families, Avraham Shahak Avni and the team from Min Shemaya initiated a project to provide children achieve a sense of equality by giving them a basket full of clothes for the new year.

Irit and Avraham Shahak Avni’s special approach

Min Shemaya was founded by Irit and Avraham Shahak Avni and their families. Min Shemaya was built on the foundational premise that all Jews are responsible for each other.

The founders believe that the Jewish people have survived the hardships of history in part because of the Jews’ motivation to help one another.

While many other charity funds seek to offer help to Jewish families, children and Holocaust survivors in need, Irit and Avraham Shahak-Avni have taken a different approach by establishing direct connections to the people they serve.

According to the organization, “The unique nature of this fund and the reason it was founded is the need for a new style, a different line of thinking, a creative method for helping those in need and a change in the bureaucratic organizational approach for more direct action on behalf of those requiring our services.”

Orphans, families, children and Holocaust survivors in need

While Min Shemaya carries out special holiday operations, it also contributes to the lives of people in need on a daily basis.

Irit and Avraham Shahak Avni, for instance, help orphaned children with everything that is required for their safety and development. They provide medical care, establish and renovate schools, and fund tuition costs. Furthermore, Min Shemaya supports institutions that carry out humanitarian projects for these children.

In Judaism, a bar mitzvah marks the rite of passage from child to adult, but the celebrations surrounding the event can be costly, and some families struggle to finance them.

Therefore, Min Shemaya also supports companies and institutions that organize bar mitzvahs for orphaned and needy children.

The Avni’s work focuses primarily on supporting families and building strong communities. They support organizations that provide distressed families with food baskets and counselors who can help them sort out their finances.

Finally, Min Shemaya administers medical care to families in need and supports organizations that provide Holocaust survivors with medicine, food and nursing support.

People in need celebrate the holidays thanks to Min Shemaya

One of Min Shemaya’s biggest operations was ahead of the Passover holiday in 2020.

Volunteers collected donations to buy wheat, meat, fish and wine for local residents across Israel, enabling them to celebrate the holidays festively.

At least 280 children from families in southern Israel received clothes packages worth 540 NIS ($168) for the summer season. The clothes packages consisted of two holiday sets, two everyday sets, six pairs of socks, a pajama or a nightgown, and underwear.

Families in need were also given food vouchers worth 770 to 1000 NIS ($239 to $311) depending on the size of the family. Min Shemaya also sent boxes full of food for the holiday to the homes of elderly and disabled residents. The boxes of groceries consisted of fruits, vegetables, grape juice and eggs, among other things.

Irit and Avraham Shahak-Avni save the Passover holiday

Lone soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and soldiers from families in need also received holiday vouchers worth 500 NIS ($155).

One of the staples of the Jewish Passover holiday is matzah. Matzah is an unleavened flatbread that Jews eat at Passover because anything containing yeast is forbidden to eat during the holiday.

The matzah bread is mentioned in the Jewish Bible several times and plays a great role in the Passover seder meal.

Min Shemaya distributed 1,200 sets of matzah, each containing three handmade ones for patients, nurses and doctors of Israel’s hospitals.