Monday, March 19, 2007

Yemenite rabbi's wife helps Jerusalem poor

Heartening pre-Pesah story about the Yemenite Rabbi's wife who helps the poor of Jerusalem:

JERUSALEM (JTA) — On a quiet, little-known street in one of Jerusalem's poorer neighborhoods, the line on Fridays begins to form as early as 6 a.m. outside the home of Bracha Kapach.

They come from all over Jerusalem, particularly in the weeks before Passover: men down on their luck,elderly women with meager pensions, street kids living from fix to fix, mothers with too many mouths to feed.

Kapach treats them all the same. She hands them challahs or clothing or cash, wishes them a "Shabbat shalom" and sends them on their way.

This is how Kapach, a diminutive Yemenite octogenarian known all over Israel for her good works, has become a lifeline for some of Jerusalem's neediest, delivering hope in the form of food packages and small kindnesses.

Kapach says it's not charity; it's her responsibility. (...)

Born in Yemen's capital city of Sanaa to a prestigious Jewish family, Kapach married her first cousin at age 11 and had her first child at 14. She had two more children before she made aliyah with her husband in 1943.

Kapach's late husband, Rabbi Yosef Kapach, was a scholar and extraordinary person in his own right. The rabbi's research and commentary on Maimonides won him the venerated Israel Prize in 1969. His wife's charitable work won her the prize three decades later, in 1999.


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