By: Melissa Bienenfeld
Yad Lakashish is pioneering a way forward in caring for the elderly. On top of providing for their most basic needs, they professionally train their participant “artisans” in various crafts to help them keep their minds sharp, engaged and fulfilled. The crafts that they create are then sold yearlong to various tour groups and online, and 100% of the proceeds are reinvested into their life-changing programs and services.
Meet Boris, born in 1939, and a vital member of the ceramics workshop since 2013. A few years ago, Boris’s health began to deteriorate and he was not able to craft jewelry in the way he used to. After a number of trials, the workshop instructor developed a new and unique product that suited Boris’s changing abilities. Boris applies uneven black lines onto individual white beads. When the beads are strung together, it creates a beautiful necklace that is a permanent best-seller in our gift shop (and on sale for Black Friday!).
The work Yad LaKashish does on a daily basis can only be described as groundbreaking and life saving. The elderly artisans awake each morning with a sense of purpose, fulfillment and community that enables them to continue to live active and meaningful lives. Since 1962, Yad LaKashish has been empowering the elderly to be productive and self-sufficient. Because the elderly are actively contributing to these programs, Yad LaKashish is able to provide them with a monthly stipend, daily hot meal, and travel pass as “work perks,” enabling the artisans to receive these life-changing services with dignity. All of this keeps the elderly artisans active physically and mentally as well as giving them a community. This work also helps provide a steady income for their operations. The sales from their shop (of which all products are handmade by their artisans) make up about 20% of their annual budget. This type of solid, monthly recurring revenue is what has allowed them to grow to 9 full workshops serving 230 elderly on a daily basis.
Yad LaKashish shared with us that the pandemic has threatened their programming like never before. Their seniors have to contend with program closures and quarantine, which are especially isolating and damaging for this population. In addition, the lack of tourism has taken a significant toll on their monthly income, as tourists were the bulk of their in store purchases.
Yad Lakish expressed to us at MyTzedakah: “That’s why we are so excited about our partnership with MyTzedakah. We believe so strongly in the power of monthly micro donations that support our programming, and we know first hand how important this type of income is when it comes to our yearly planning. With your help, and the help of your wider community, we can look forward to expanding our programming and focusing on the real work of caring for Jerusalem’s elderly in the most dignified and effective way possible.” We encourage you to check out their website and add them to your funds!