The Solution to Orphan Poverty
Under normal circumstances, parents assume responsibility for their children’s well being. They work long hours, struggle at difficult jobs, and do everything in their power to pay the bills and keep their children fed, clothed, and cared for. But when a parent dies, Gd forbid, everything changes.
The newly-orphaned children endure not only the agony of grief and loss, but also a new challenge – poverty. In a moment, the financial backbone of the family is gone. Suddenly, there is no paycheck to count on. This is true even if the deceased parent was a homemaker or a kollel student,because the surviving parent is generally forced to stop working and concentrate fully on the family.
Adding Insult to Injury
The community’s traditional response to these tragedies has always been emergency sedaka (charity) appeals and/or the establishment of a keren yetomim (orphan’s fund) for each orphaned family. These efforts have proven somewhat successful – but at what cost? Grieving families have their pain displayed for all the world to see. Donors are pressed to contribute increasingly large sums, again and again. And the money raised is often quickly spent – thrusting the orphans back into poverty just a short time later. Clearly, there must be a solution – a permanent answer that can be offered to every newly-orphaned child in our community.
A Brilliant Solution
The Jewish maxim of “Kol Yisrael areivim ze la ze” teaches that “all Jews are responsible for one another.”It is also the name of an initiative which puts this ideal into practice through a simple yet ingenious arrangement. Under the direction of the well respected Vaad Harabbonim, Kol Yisrael Areivim brings Jews together into a limited collective of 16,500 members. When a member of the group dies, members contribute $6 per newly-orphaned child. The result? Nearly $100,000 for each child. Best of all, this is accomplished quickly, without public display or the need for a hastily arranged, time-consuming and expensive sedaka appeal. Instead, the widow/widower and orphans are provided for efficiently and with dignity.
The Kol Yisrael Areivim project was carefully devised after extensive consultations with rabbis, lawyers, financial experts and elected officials. The outcome is a program that is halachically, legally, and practically sound.
The Torah’s command to care for the widows and orphans in our midst has always been high on the list of communal priorities. Jews of every generation have extended themselves for this misva and have done everything possible to alleviate the pain and poverty faced by almanot (widows) and yetomim (orphans). Today, with the cost of raising children higher than ever before, those needs have never been greater. Kol Yisrael Areivim uses modern means to bring the misva of caring for orphans and widows up to modern standards and a new level of communal responsibility and response. The innovative structure of Kol Yisrael Areivim allows everyone to take part in the misva and also benefit from the security of belonging to the group.
The Kol Yisrael Areivim Plan:
- Members of the community sign up to join a Kol Yisrael Areivim group. Groups include 16,500 members.
- Members pay no monthly dues. Funds are collected only upon the death of a group member, and are considered sedaka, as they support widows and orphans. Rabbis have ruled that fundscan be paid from maaser (the customary charity tithe).
- In the event of a member’s death, Kol Yisrael Areivim collects a one-time payment of $6 per member for each newly-orphaned single child in the family. For example, if the deceased has one surviving child, members pay $6. If the deceased has 6 surviving children, members pay $36. Members never pay more than $24 a month. Amounts exceeding $24 are rolled over to the following month. Thus, the maximum yearly payment is $288.
- $99,000 is raised per orphan and placed in a special fund, administered by financial planners. Planners work with the family to ensure that both immediate and long-term needs are met. Daily needs are paid from interest, leaving the principal for major expenses, such as marriage.
Successful groups of Kol Yisrael Areivim have already been established in Israel, Europe and Canada. The world Jewish response to the program has been overwhelming, as families around the world have flocked to join their local Kol Yisrael Areivim group. Unfortunately, many have also already had occasion to receive payments from members after the death of a spouse.
The orphans who benefited from Kol Yisrael Areivim still mourn for their departed parents – but they do not suffer from poverty. And the members of the groups affected were not overburdened with expensive dues. They paid just $6 per newly-orphaned child – $72 when a father of twelve passed away; $30 when a mother of five was taken. That is less than many would have given had they been approached by a collector on behalf of the grieving families.
“When I was informed that a member of my group had died, and that there were seven orphans, I felt pained, but I also felt a tremendous sense of satisfaction. Kol Yisrael Areivim was working – and I was part of it. I felt like such a vital part of Klal Yisrael – like I really counted, and I was really making a difference.”
“In the back of my mind, I keep thinking that I’m doing this not only for the orphans, but also for my children. If something, Gd forbid, happens to me or to my wife, they will be provided for.”
Kol Yisrael Areivim is now in the midst of completing its first group in the United States. Though everyone sincerely hopes that the benefits will never be needed, the establishment of the group is cause for celebration. The rabbis, rosh yeshivas and community leaders who established Kol Yisrael Areivim, as well as many other supporters, are urging everyone to join the holy mission of protecting the future of our community’s children.
The unique setup of the Kol Yisrael Areivim plan offers members nothing to lose:
- No enrollment fee.
- No monthly dues.
- No credit card payments without prior notification.
- No organizational profits. 100 percent of your money goes to widows and orphans.
- No appointments or lines. Arrange everything by phone.
- No loss of dignity for recipients. They are members receiving their dues.
The Compelling Benefits of Kol Yisrael Areivim
· The power to make a difference with just $6.
· The opportunity to take part in establishing a viable Keren Yetomim.
· The satisfaction of helping to provide nearly $100,000 per orphaned child.
· The knowledge that participation in the program is endorsed by rabbisof the community.
· The security of knowing that in the event of tragedy, your children will be provided for.
To secure a slot in the Kol Yisrael Areivim group forming now in the area, call 1-877-527-3484 or visit kolyisraelareivim.org.