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Main  >  The Needy  >  One mother and four girls

The Needy

One mother and four girls

One mother and four girls.
She has four daughters. Four girls who can go out together and return home together, who play and have a good time together and act as company for one another. Four girls who can be dressed alike in matching clothing and look so cute when they walk together. Four girls in a row – isn’t that just so nice?
But when the family broke up and the father took off and disappeared, the rosy glow turned a dismal gray. Soon a month passed, and then half a year and then a full year – and the situation remained hopelessly bleak.
A mother raising girls on her own encounters many difficulties. Her loneliness is intense. She bears the burden of responsibility for the children completely on her own. Her family suffers: there is no father figure to offer guidance; there is no kiddush or havdalah or the sound of Torah study. The home is not complete.
But harder than anything else, the mother says, is managing the budget. All she has is a government allotment for each child – a total of approximately one thousand shekels each month. That’s all! It’s not enough to meet even the most basic necessities of water, property taxes, gas, telephone service (almost exclusively for incoming calls) and tuition.
What about food? Shoes, clothing, an electric tea kettle (NIS 49) to replace the one that broke, a new mezuzah to replace the one that got wet when she was cleaning for Pesach and became pasul? How can she purchase a nosh for her child to distribute when it’s her turn to be the Shabbos Mommy in gan? How can she pay for dental treatment – two fillings for one child and a root canal for another?
You can’t do any of that with a thousand shekels a month, not even if you really, really try. You just can’t do it!
She goes downstairs to the grocery in the morning while her girls are still asleep and buys bread (how long will it last?) and a bag of milk (crucial for children’s growth). At more than six shekels, a container of cheese is out of the question. The girls have been begging for chocolate spread for the past two weeks. If she can’t buy cheese, she must spread something else on their bread. Otherwise the teacher might figure out what’s going on. But there’s no money!
She looks longingly at the cans of tuna spread. Delicious and nutritious. Impossible. In the meantime, it begins raining outside and her stomach knots with tension. One umbrella broke a few days ago and there’s only one left. One umbrella for four girls. There’s no way she can afford another umbrella. She averts her eyes from the rain and calculates how much the bread and milk combined will cost. She knows the price of each item by heart, but still, her breath catches in her throat when she arrives at the total. At this rate, there won’t be any money left at all during the last week of the month. They’ll have to have a week-long fast!
And so it goes, day after day, month after month.
Kupat Ha’ir knows that the request is legitimate. It’s impossible to live this way. It’s hard enough for a woman to raise children on her own; she can’t waste all her energy on scrimping down to the last penny only to find that she still doesn’t have enough.
The request can be found in the stack of requests prepared for the Zos Chanukah meeting of the Rabbanim. Will they approve the request? That depends on you.
 
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