Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

29 Cheshvan 5766 - November 30, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Welfare Ministry Makes Plans to Accommodate Chareidi Sector

by G. Kleiman

Deputy Minister of Welfare MK Rabbi Avrohom Ravitz convened his department and bureau heads to discuss for the first time the issue of handling welfare problems in the chareidi sector. The aim of the meeting was to formulate a plan to make welfare services more available to the chareidi sector and to develop services suited to their way of life.

A team of senior ministry officials headed by Community Labor Services Director Baruch Sugarman led a fruitful discussion with department heads and bureau heads from several chareidi and mixed cities.

Rabbi Ravitz said he believes the welfare system has a great deal to offer the chareidi sector, but that the chareidi public does not seek out these services because of apprehensions regarding some welfare workers and other problems. "The welfare system must work to restore the chareidi public's faith in it," he said. "It must suit itself to this large sector in a state of severe [financial] distress and understand its needs and offer it solutions suited to its values."

Mrs. Goldberg, director of the welfare department at the City of Jerusalem, said she has seen a gradual increase in the use of welfare services by the chareidi sector, attributing the shift to financial difficulties, aliya from Western countries and changes in the services themselves. She said services have become better suited to chareidim, citing cooperation with a rabbinical committee that gives legitimacy to social services. "The rabbonim are involved not just in emergencies. Sometimes they bring cases that were previously unknown to the welfare services. The rabbonim are partners in the plans for handling families and in prevention plans."

Mrs. Mauel, director of the welfare department in Bnei Brak, said she has encountered problems resulting from a lack of male social workers. "Today there are more chareidi women workers and there are training programs for chareidi women, but there is a lack of male social workers."

Mrs. Mevorach, director of social services in Beitar, said large families turn to her with complex problems requiring greater input, both in terms of the social worker's time and budgeting. She noted the Welfare Ministry allocates funds according to the number of families rather the number of individuals, therefore the strain is enormous.

Mrs. Deri, the director of social services in Elad, said chareidi mothers face greater difficulties due to large families, crowded housing and other problems. "The welfare system has built various plans to strengthen women and restore them to proper functioning in the family, but this is not enough."

The director of social services in Tiberius, Menashe Cohen, said in his city there are large concentrations of chareidim that have never turned to the Welfare Bureau despite their dire circumstances.

All of the speakers made favorable remarks about the major change in the area of helping special children in the chareidi sector and the holy work of nonprofit organizations like Aleh, Ezer Mitzion, Alei Siach and Sod Siach. The proposals raised during the meeting included training women who already work with needy families in an unofficial capacity to act as liaisons between the welfare services and the chareidi community, developing child and youth services in the community in coordination with the chareidi educational system, developing cultural services for women, etc.

At the end of the meeting Community Labor Services Director Baruch Sugarman said he had learned much from the meeting and after all of the necessary information has been gathered the department heads in other cities as well would be summoned and together a plan would be formulated to properly handle welfare problems in the chareidi sector.


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