Yad Leah provides support, comfort, and dignity to disadvantaged families in Israel through the distribution of new and gently used clothing. The clothing, collected and packaged by volunteers at the new Bnai Zion Yad Leah center, is distributed through centers in over 30 communities throughout Israel.
Bnai Zion is happy to announce our new partnership with the American Friends of Yad Leah, which offers an extremely valuable opportunity to help people in Israel while still in America. Yad Leah provides support, comfort, and dignity to families in Israel through the distribution of new and gently used clothing. The clothing, collected from throughout America, is sent to the new Bnai Zion Yad Leah Center in New Jersey. There, volunteers can sign up for a 90-minute Pack-For-Israel Experience. After a brief orientation, the volunteers roll up their sleeves and get to work sorting, folding, and packing clothing to be sent to needy families all over Israel.
Once shipped to Israel, the clothing reaches thousands of needy families through a network of 25 warm, inviting thrift shops. Each shop serves the needs of the entire family, providing clothing for school, work, synagogue, and the holidays. Yad Leah also helps young brides set up their homes with linens, towels, and clothing to begin their married lives.
Below are a couple of stories that show how these clothes truly impact young lives:
Tzfat branch coordinator Aviva tells the story of Meirav, who walked into the local Yad Leah thrift shop with her four sons. While the younger children had hand-me- downs to count on, eight-year-old Yonatan, her oldest son, had no warm clothes for the winter. With Aviva’s assistance, Meirav walked out with an entire bag full of warm, beautiful clothing. When Meirav arrived home and began unpacking, she noticed that the clothing must have come from a single source, as each had an iron-on name tag that read “Weissman Family” with an American number. Meirav immediately picked up the phone to call Mrs. Weissman and, in broken English, said, “thank you for keeping my children warm this winter.” The two women are now very close.
Karen Thaler, director of Yad Leah Israel, tells the story of Avi, a ten year old boy who claimed to have a “stomach virus” on the morning of a long-awaited class trip. In truth, he didn’t have a pair of sneakers or a backpack and was ashamed to go on a hike without the necessary gear. Karen invited Avi to the local Yad Leah thrift store. There, the bag and pair of sneakers that Avi found were transformative. Suddenly, he fit in and didn’t feel like he had to hide in shame.
Yad Leah is a volunteer-based organization whose staff and supporters share a collective dream of alleviating poverty in Israel. We do this by collecting new and gently used clothing in the United States and sending that clothing to communities throughout Israel to be distributed to needy families. Started back in 2003 with the goal of serving just one town, today, Yad Leah has expanded into a growing distribution network providing clothing to over 30 communities throughout Israel. Through working with a network of volunteers and cutting costs to a minimum, Yad Leah leverages every dollar to achieve its maximum impact. Thus, for just $70,000 dollars a year, Yad Leah provides upwards of $4 million dollars’ worth of clothing bringing warmth and joy to thousands of people.
FULFILLING OUR MISSION
This ability to transform lives is what makes Yad Leah director Jessica Katz so excited “I am delighted to partner with Bnai Zion to engage the broader Jewish and non-Jewish community in meaningful and impactful volunteer work,” says Ms. Katz. “Every time a warehouse volunteer places a sweater or pair of sneakers in a box, that volunteer is making a difference in a life.
The new Bnai Zion Yad Leah Center in New Jersey threads Bnai Zion’s mission of creating a more inclusive, healthy, vibrant Israel into the very clothing it will now be providing to help change the lives of children across Israel.Donate