Shalom to all of you who support us. 

Like many other non-profits, who are not directly concerned with events connected to the Corona crisis, Yad Elie has been quiet during the last month or so and we write this bulletin in order to explain what we are, and what we are not, doing at this time.

The crisis and lockdown caught us, here in Jerusalem, in the middle of some interesting and far reaching initiatives that we were beginning to explore after a year of reorganization. The initiatives were both in terms of our activities and in terms of examining new directions of support for our work in general but all of these have been put on hold for the moment until the situation, both here in Israel and in the world as a whole, changes and improves.

The schools and educational initiatives that we support are all cancelled for the moment and with one exception, which will be mentioned in a moment, the funds that we have passed on for the second part of the educational year, have all been frozen, until the resumption of activity.

The one exception relates to our support of African asylum seekers whose afternoon learning program for disadvantaged kids, we support.  Because the community is perhaps the most vulnerable in the country to the current situation, owing to the fact that they, alone, have no access to government social welfare or unemployment funds while about 90% of their adults are currently unemployed, we decided to make an exceptional allocation to their general food support schemes to families in crisis, seeing this as an emergency humanitarian exception to our normal criteria.  If the situation continues, we might reexamine our decision for other populations and consider redirecting our normal allocations to other needy communities across the spectrum, but we are not there yet.  The logic for thinking of these possibilities is that for a non-profit like ours, concerned with hunger and need, to sit idly by while many are reduced to near starvation and the most basic level of subsistence, is very difficult and, in our view, morally questionable.   

One of the directions that we were just beginning to examine before the crisis hit was the building of nutrition workshops for the staffs of the schools and frameworks in which we are involved.  The first of these took place a few months ago and unquestionably this is an area that we want to investigate as soon as the situation allows. Below, Noomi surveys and describes the first of these workshops. It is just one example of what we hope to achieve with our partly new and re-energised board as soon as we possibly can.

We might have gone underground during this particular period but we are still here, full of motivation and raring to go. 

As unemployment in Israel has gone from 4% to 26% in a month, the needs will be greater than ever once we resume our normal lives!

Thanks for your support for our activities.  We don’t take it at all for granted.

Steve Israel, (Co-Chair), on behalf of the board of Yad Elie.

On a stormy winter evening, just before the current pandemic forced us to radically change our lives, Yad Elie, in cooperation with the Jerusalem Municipality’s Healthy Choices, held a hands-on workshop for our schools on Healthy Eating in Educational Frameworks.

On February 25, representatives from four schools and Yad Elie’s board met with two nutritionists specializing in healthy eating for children, to learn about theoretical and practical aspects of the food youngsters eat. 

Nicky Lachs and Reza Green of Yad Elie’s board organized the evening and set a good example for us all by serving a buffet of healthy and delicious food, such as fresh vegetables, whole-wheat bread, hummus and fruit.

The evening started out with representatives of our schools introducing themselves and their schools and describing the food they, with the help of Yad Elie, provide the students in their schools. This part of the evening was both fascinating and practical as religious and non-religious, Jewish and Arab schools could compare notes, find similarities and get inspired by how things are done in other frameworks.

Nutritionist Moriah Keller-Zenero talked about why and what growing children should be eating. She stressed the importance of nutrition for the physical, mental and emotional development of children.  Insufficient or wrong food at an early age stunts not only physical growth but also intellectual and emotional abilities. Moriah talked creating a balance between “healthy” foods and “fun” foods and about creating good habits that will follow children into adulthood. Physiologically, we need to balance our intake of carbohydrates such as bread and pasta, protein such as fish, meat or beans and vegetables of all colors, and she strongly advises against all types of diets that restrict eating to only one of these categories. We also need to take human nature into consideration and if you otherwise stick to a healthy diet, there is room for some empty calories, on occasion.

The second half of the workshop was led by nutritionist Shani Rosen, who took us on a guided tour how to read the packaging and buy healthy, readily available and inexpensive foods. Always look for foods with the shortest possible list of ingredients. Ingredients will appear on a package according to their percentage in the product. If the first ingredient in the list is sugar, that means that is the largest component in the product. Shani also made us aware of the danger of drinking sweetened soft-drinks. Drinking is important and an adult should drink two liters a day, but only of water!

After the event we received requests both from schools that participated and those who could not for continued nutritional education. We hope to be able to do so, after the current crisis.