Tenufa Bakehila on Righteous Crowd this Week!
Rebuilding Homes for Israel’s Neediest Families
Thank you to our friends at Myisrael in London for suggesting this organization for Sukkot.
Read our interview below with Tenufa Bakehila's Executive Director Gabi Nachmani.
What is the mission of your organization?
Our mission is to wipe out Israel’s most desperate housing situations, one home at a time– family by family, city by city.
Why did you decide to start Tenufa Bakehila?
As a child, I grew up in a dilapidated home in a poverty-stricken neighborhood of Jerusalem. Every child should be nurtured by a healthy environment, rather than a crumbling apartment. I knew I had to create an institution which would provide urgent home repair and help people escape the cycle of poverty. Tenufa Bakehila is the only organization that does this work on a large scale - to date we have helped over 5,000 families in 14 cities throughout Israel!
What’s a story about Tenufa Bakehila's impact that is meaningful to you?
While replacing a kitchen in a home housing a single mother with three children, we learned that one of her children had been expelled from school and would soon appear before a judge for a drug violation. Our social worker and work foreman took charge of the situation. They were able to keep the boy out of jail and provide him a job in our organization to teach him a trade and relieve some monetary stress at home. A year and a half later (and against all odds), the teenager is succeeding! He was drafted to the army as a combat soldier - he is an asset to his country. We currently have four staff members who started off as at-risk youth – we help them to turn their lives around by teaching them the skills of home repair and helping others.
How would you connect your organization to a Jewish teaching?
Our organization is always helping people who live in unstable situations. They often live in homes with leaky roofs and need major repairs. In a similar way, during Sukkot, Jews around the world leave comfortable homes, which can remind them of the suffering many others experience daily. How can we sit in our comfortable homes when those around us are in need? Deuteronomy 15:7-11 describes our responsibility towards the poor, saying that there will never cease to be poor people, and we must constantly be engaged in helping them.
What's the best part of your job and why?
The best part of my job is seeing the happy faces of children whose homes we have fixed. They are so excited that they can now be proud of their homes, and they can invite their friends over without being embarrassed. It is so rewarding to see the relief of parents and elderly people who now feel safe and dignified in their homes. When they are not worried about the condition of their house, they can focus on reaching other goals that will help them escape poverty. Our team works hard to bring this excitement and relief to each of our clients.
Who has inspired you in the work that you are doing?
Rabbanit Bracha Kappach was a simple woman that created an organization that, to this day, helps thousands of poor families with food and clothing. I partnered with her to fix homes for people. I met her when she was in her 80's - the tireless efforts of this elderly woman continue to inspire me. I hope to continue helping people well into my 80's.
To learn more about Tenufa Bakehila click here.