Jewish family help fund faces possible closure

THE United Sisterhood is in serious need of financial assistance to avoid closing its Jewish Family Assistance Fund.The United Sisterhood, which will celebrate 75 years of helping the underprivileged in August this year, may have to cut down on supporting projects and people it has assisted for many years, and may have to close the Jewish Family Assistance Fund.

The reason for the lack of funds is varied, but neither the Jewish Family Assistance Fund nor the United Sisterhood have suffered from any maladministration or from any misuse or misappropriation of funds. Neither fund has any outstanding creditors.

The economic situation in South Africa has hit Jewish community, and many former regular donors are finding it more and more difficult to cope themselves with inflation. In addition, the Johannesburg Jewish community has become an aging community. Even though interest rates have risen, possibly giving our senior members more income from investments, the cost of living has increased way beyond this income. Their contributions to our Tikkun Olam programmes have either stopped or have been drastically reduced.

Another spin-off of the rising cost of living has been that the number of people in need has risen. Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) has also meant that more and more older white South Africans have been retrenched and cannot find employment.

The United Sisterhood is unique in that it does not ask what colour people in need are, nor does it ask the gender of these people, nor does it ask them what religion they follow. It asks merely what the need is, and how best to address that need.

Should the United Sisterhood not raise the required amount, the results will be as follows:

  • For the first time in 62 years, we will not be able to give the educators at MC Weiler School an end-of-year “thank you” party;
  • For the first time in 62 years, we will not be able to give the learners at MC Weiler School an end-of-year party pack;
  • For the first time in 62 years, we will not be able to give the outstanding achievers at MC Weiler School a prize (which is normally part of their school uniform for the coming year);
  • For the first time in 62 years, we will have to stop helping the many orphaned learners at the MC Weiler School with the provision of uniforms;
  • For the first time in 22 years, we will not be able to give a prize to an outstanding achiever at the Mitzvah School;
  • For the first time in 12 years, we will not be able to give the learners of the New Nation School an end-of-year party pack;
  • For the first time in decades, we will have to reduce the special (and very expensive) food we give to the HIV/AIDS sufferers at the MC Weiler and New Nation Schools.

In addition to the above, the United Sisterhood render the following services:

  • We provide 150 street people with a meal every weekend;
  • We feed 2 500 learners every day;
  • We provide a number of learners and educators at both the MC Weiler and New Nation Schools with weekly food parcels;
  • We give specially formulated, highly nutritional breakfasts to hundreds of ill learners at both the MC Weiler and New Nation Schools;
  • We provide a minimum of 36 Jewish families with food parcels and food vouchers every week;
  • We pay for rental, utilities, food, education, transport and other essential needs for a minimum of 15 Jewish families every month;
  • We help with the tertiary education of a minimum of five learners;
  • We provide casual employment for a minimum of four single, unemployed mothers;
  • We provide a monthly lunch for approximately 60 elderly Jewish folk;
  • We provide monthly entertainment for the patients at Tara hospital;
  • We provide monthly “goody” bags for the HIV/AIDS babies at Sizwe hospital;
  • We provide magazines, playing cards and craft materials for the adult TB patients at Sizwe hospital;
  • We provide transport to and from hospital for the aged Jews living in Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville so that they can obtain their monthly life-giving medication.

We have provided these humanitarian services for many decades. We will have to stop doing all of this unless we raise sufficient funds to do so. Please help us to help all these people!

ABOVE: Ellen Appleton, past chairperson of the United Sisterhood, with children at the New Nation school.LEFT: Children at the MC Weiler School on prize-giving day

UNITED SISTERHOOD OFFICESInside the grounds of Temple Emanuel, corner Oxford Road and Third Avenue, Parktown.

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ACC NO: 1916 004 172


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