Synopsis: Mr. Perlman had come to visit his parents, who had
settled in Jerusalem. He was very shaken up by the poverty he
saw, especially among Sefardi immigrants in maabarot.
He was determined to help them in some substantial way.
All the way back to his family in Baltimore, my father prayed
for Hashem's blessing and help. He remembered the struggle of
his fellow Jews in the land of our dreams: how hard it was to
earn enough to feed one's family. He prayed with all his
might for success in establishing a charity fund and had
already named it in his mind: Tzedoko Vochessed
My father felt Hashem's kind help every step of the way. The
rules for establishing such a tax-free charity organization
were clear and simple. He knew that we, his children, would
be happy to do all the necessary work to get it started.
After all, it was he who had instilled in us the love for
My parents were finally ready to make aliya in 1962 —
by boat. Most of their children and grandchildren traveled to
New York harbor to see them off. Many photos were taken and
hugs and kisses exchanged. After a pleasant trip, they
arrived in Israel and were greeted by their good friends, the
Kursteins, who had made aliya before them.
Back in Baltimore, we had begun a mailing campaign to all the
religious Jews listed in the "Erev Book." The response was
Now my parents had money to help those in need. I've already
told about my mother's chessed activities and now I
would like to focus on my father's good deeds.
A young girl, a social worker in Jerusalem, visited my
parents occasionally, and once told them that a teacher had
complained about three children in school who smelled so bad
that no one would go near them. My father urged his visitor
to go and see what was doing in their house.
"The mother is a widow," she came back and reported. "She
earns very little and now that their hot water boiler is
broken, they cannot wash themselves. The children refuse to
bathe in cold water."
"Aha!" was all my father said. He put on his coat and went
off to a neighbor who was a plumber, a kind man who never
refused my father's request for donations. When he saw my
father at the door, he took out some money to give him, but
my father would not accept it.
"I need your help this time, not your money. I have the money
to buy a new boiler for a widow. I want you to take me to a
place that sells them and to install it for her."
A short while later, two men knocked on the widow's door.
When she opened it and saw the new boiler, she said in alarm,
"That's not for me." My father reassured her that it was paid
for and that his neighbor would install it for her for free .
"I have the money," was a phrase that my father was happy to
say frequently. In those days, not too many homes had hot
water boilers but there were public bathhouses with certain
days for men and other days for women. But these places were
not very sanitary and the hot water was in short supply.
My father decided to speak to the mayor about it. The mayor
was well aware of the problem and even had figures to match.
"I know exactly how much it should cost to keep those
bathhouses clean and the water hot. Here are the figures."
My father was taken aback and stared at the numbers. "If you
can donate half that amount, the city can manage to scrape
together the rest," the mayor said. Without another word, my
father took the paper, mumbled a good-bye and left, very
dejected. But his feeling of helplessness lasted only a short
time, for shortly after he left the mayor's office, his head
bent low, he met a friend from Baltimore.
As always, this man was pleased to see him. He always said he
trusted Azriel Pheterson completely and when my father told
him about the bathhouses, he listened carefully to every
word. My father ended by stating the mayor's offer and
telling what "Charity with Kindness" could contribute.
"It's not enough," he said sadly.
Thereupon, the friend promised to supply the needed funds to
clean and maintain the bathhouses.
One day, my father went out on an errand. Outside, he noticed
a young man sitting on the steps. He was eating, but not
enjoying it. "Why do you look so unhappy?" he asked the
"My teeth hurt, but I can't afford to go to a dentist,"
replied the young man. "Actually, I went to one but he said I
had to pull out all my teeth. However will I get a
shidduch without teeth?"
"I know a good dentist," said my father. "I'll take you to
him and I'll help you pay for the treatment."
Once, when my father got sick, he got a prescription and went
to the pharmacist to have it filled. "Are there other people
in this area who can't afford to buy such medicine?" my
father asked him.
The pharmacist answered, "Yes!"
"Well, if anyone comes and doesn't have the money to pay for
his prescription, please call me. I'll pay whatever is
"Charity with Kindness" continues to be active and helpful.
We bless the wonderful memories of our dear parents who
taught us the joy of helping our fellow Jews in Israel."