“There is nothing more painful than hearing the cry of a hungry child,” explains Aaron, a Bnei Brak Avreich with four children is knows first hand what it means to hear one’s children going to sleep saying “I’m hungry”.
The plunging stock market and ailing global economy has not only impacted major companies, but the chareidi community in Eretz Yisrael, which has developed into a system that relies heavily on givirim abroad, who support mosdos Torah which in turn pay kollel stipends, is already feeling the crunch. In many mosdos, the food chain has already come to a halt and while the government is entertaining a number of bail-out plans for pension funds and the nation’s business tycoons, there does not appear to be any relief in store for avreichim, who regularly live a modest lifestyle, with little padding for the ‘hard times’.
Aaron explains that the concept of surviving on bread is not longer a conceptual term in his home, but reality, having exhausted any ability to feed his family the way they have been accustomed to in the past.
“Instead of buying a kilo (2.2 pounds) of cucumbers weekly, we now buy four cucumbers and cut them into smaller pieces. We have eliminated spreads for bread, and everyone gets two pieces, no more. Instead of eating a meat meal on Friday night and Shabbos day, now only one of the meals is meat.”
In Bet Shemesh, a chareidi askan explained that some families have already begun seeking handouts. “It used to be that schnorrers came to the door and you gave them something. Today, the ‘schnorrer’ is the neighbor seeking food to eat.”
Gedolim has declared tomorrow, Thursday, a yom tefilla, Yom Kippur Katan, with some chareidi leaders explaining it is abundantly clear that for the chareidi community in Eretz Yisrael, the assistance is not likely to come from the treasury, but only from HaKadosh Baruch Hu.
Sephardic Chief Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar Shlita has called on Am Yisrael to observe Yom Kippur Katan on Thursday, and even those unable to fast to at least increase the recitation of tefillos, slichos and tehillim.
(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)