March 16, 2023
“If you help them, you are helping me!”
So declaresRav Gamliel Rabinowitz regarding the chashuve families who are helped by Kupas Zichron Moshe.
What is this kupah that has the full support of Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz? Who are the recipients he so worries and cares for?
They are R’ Gamliel’s personal friends and neighbors, the talmidei chachamim of Zichron Moshe.
They live in the pure and holy city of Yerushalayim, the city that draws visitors from around the world, in a neighborhood marked by its absolute simplicity and exalted greatness. They are among the holiest families—talmidei chachamim, yirei Shamayim,and ba’alei chessed untouched by the sullies of the world. They are gems. They are diamonds. They are Klal Yisrael’s glory.
And they are people who are living in extreme poverty. Stark poverty. Poverty that cannot be described or fathomed with mere words. Frightening poverty. Starvation-level poverty.
A walk through the neighborhood of Zichron Moshe shows facades that belie their insides. Dilapidated, broken-down houses, children wearing shoes that are two sizes too small, and families scrounging for coins on the ground so they can buy a bottle of milk for 12 to 18 children—these are all typical scenes in this area.
And yet, Zichron Moshe pulses with life. Yiddishkeit and emunah abound. Torah flows through the streets and dances from the lips of the men and boys who sit and learn like the talmidei chachamim of yore.
They have nothing of material value to speak of, but their limud Torah, dveikus b’Hashem,and chessed shine like rays of the sun. They open their homes to share the little that they have—the one pulke of chicken split 14 ways, the few wilted vegetables they managed to find and chop into a semblance of soup, the kugel that stretches to feed more mouths than it can possibly fill—and their ruchniyus which cannot be quantified.
American yeshivah bachurim looking to immerse themselves in the simplicity and purity of a true Yerushalmi home invite themselves over for Shabbosmeals. They enter apartments that are shockingly bare and leave inspired by greatness.
The Yerushalmimof Zichron Moshe have nothing tangible to speak of, but they have something that many people in this world cannot reach.
Eggplant for dinner
They are holy people, special people, lights unto the world.
But they are aniyim—poor in the truest sense of the word.
They are mothers and fathers who cannot provide basic food for their families. They live in situations that are beyond our imagination. How many of us can picture no food?
An American living in Eretz Yisrael got a phone call from a Yerushalmi friend. “Can you make soup out of eggplant?” he wanted to know.
Eggplant soup? Who ever heard of eggplant soup?
A quick visit later that day confirmed that the sum total of food in a home with five children was one eggplant sitting alone on a shelf in the fridge. What did those children eat that morning? What would they eat that afternoon, and the next day and the next? How does one live with no food?
These are questions that are difficult to answer. And yet, they must be answered—by us.
Because while Zichron Moshe overflows with purity, joy, goodness, mitzvos, and yiras Hashem, families must eat. One cannot survive if there is no food. And one cannot bring in Yom Tovwith no means.
As the calendar moves through the year, beneath the joy spreading through the city there is raw fear. Pesach is just a whisper away, and that whisper will soon turn into a tsunami’s roar of needs. Not fancy, luxurious needs. Basic, basic, basic needs.
Shoes for a child who hasn’t gotten shoes in more than two years. Not two pairs of shoes—that’s a thought that isn’t even entertained. Just one pair of shoes that aren’t in tatters, that actually fit.
Food for children who are starving. Meat? Chicken? Who can fathom such luxuries when there is no money to buy milk and eggs? But what of matzah and wine? And the Yom Tov seudos—one after the next after the next?
Who will provide for those who have nothing, for those pure, holy people who have nowhere to turn? There are no safety nets to catch those who simply don’t have, no government subsidies to provide at least the basics.
But there is Kupas Zichron Moshe.
Real help for real families
It’s a kupah that was created and is run by talmidei chachamim, a kupah backed by gedolim and talmidei chachamim, a kupah that provides for talmidei chachamim with dignity and respect.
Started 12 years ago by Rav Aharon Nimerovsky, Kupas Zichron Moshe has since become a respected organization which has grown past natural bounds. Run under the auspices of Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz, Rav Moshe Elyashiv, and Rav Yitzchok Sorotzkin, the kupah has undertaken to provide for the Yom Tov needs of chashuve families who cannot live on their own means.
To date, Kupas Zichron Moshe has helped hundreds of families, and there are many more families pleading to be added to the roster. Every family has a story. There is the family of 16 that has no money for bread and milk and the family living in a two-bedroom apartment on Rechov Strauss with 12 children. There are almanos and yesomim with no one to provide for them. There are families grappling with illness, tragedy, and pain.
And they all turn to Kupas Zichron Moshe.
The beneficiaries, who suddenly have money to actually purchase the things they need for Yom Tov,are left shocked and awed. “Like malachim,”they write in their letters of thanks.
Can you imagine their relief when they discover that they can bring in Yom Tov b’derech kavod? Can you picture their pure joy?
“There are no words to express our thanks,” one avreich wrote. “You cannot possibly imagine how much this has helped us. In ten years, I don’t remember such simchah in our home.”
“I am self-employed with hardly any income in the month of Tishrei,”wrote another. “What you have given us has been a great gift that allowed us to bring Yom Tovinto our home with joy and without pressure.”
Last Yom Tov, Kupas Zichron Moshe raised $700,000, and there was not one extra dollar. This Yom Tov,more families have been added to the list, and the budget for Pesach is $1 million. This money will go to provide basic necessities like chicken, meat, fish, eggs, milk, potatoes, matzah, and wine.
You can learn more about each family’s needs and join the kupah’s Adopt a Family program which will enable you to provide for them—our brothers and sisters in Zichron Moshe.
The zechus is tremendous; the need is pressing. We must rally together to help these special families. Every donated dollar provides for true and desperate needs. Every donated dollar helps a pure and holy family come into Yom Tovwith peace and serenity.
As Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz says, “Every day, we daven for Yerushalayim. Let us show Hashem how much we care about the people of Yerushalayim, and in that zechus may we bring the Geulah.”
“If you help them, you are helping me!”
Rav Gamliel Rabinowitz asks to please send kimcha d’Pischa to over 5000 people that benefit from Kupas Zichron Moshe Yerushalayim. Please go to kupaszichronmoshe.org or call 732-730-5332. Tizku l’mitzvos!