Thursday, May 3, 2012

Israel Day 10 - First Stop: Yad LaKashish

Our last day in Israel started out with a visit to a unique place Yad LaKashish, also known as Lifeline for the Old.  Founded by Miriam Mendilow in 1962, Yad LaKashish was created of a growing neglect of the elderly.  Located in the Musrara neighborhood of Jerusalem, Yad LaKashish is now a place where an estimated 300 elderly men and women as well as those unable to fully work come and do embroidery, metal working, silk painting, wood work, paper mache, and so much more.  For their efforts, those working at Yad LaKashish, all of whom are at or below the poverty level, receive remuneration for their efforts.  But more than that, they also receive a sense of dignity, self respect, and are able to spend time outside of their apartments interacting with one in other.

Many of the artisans at Yad LaKashish are recent immigrants to Israel.  Many of them came from the Former Soviet Union and North African countries, and do not have any retirement to speak of, let alone to count on.  Many of them also came with minimal skills or with skills that they could not develop in Israel, so they are now developing a wide range of artistic skills.

We received an amazing tour of the facility, which though isn't much from the outside, is an amazing corridor of workshops.  But of course the best part was the gift shop.  Yad LaKashish receives at least twenty percent of its funding from sales from the gift shop.  And lest you think you are performing an act of tzedakah in buying something from it, the art work there is spectacular.  Among other things I bought a tallis that is simply divine.

They receive the rest of their funding from donations and grants.  As even though they help the elderly by not only providing them with at least one hot meal a day and bus passes, and a paycheck, they do not receive any funding from the government.

If you are in Jerusalem or planning a trip, make sure to stop off at Yad LaKashish.  And if you are in charge of making purchases for your gift shop, contact them.  They now have more artwork than they know what to do with, despite our best attempt to buy out the store.  For more information, you can click on the link below.

Special thanks to David for telling us about this amazing place

David with our guide
Yad LaKashish

Or you can read about it in Haaretz

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