More Akbar than Akbar?
Majadara ( Ketchri ) to the Needy
There was once a great Mogul king in India
by the name of Akbar. He had no children and desperately
wanted a son, so he went to a holy place called the Darga
where he swore that if a son was born to him he would distribute
rice for the poor. A son was born and two large pots of
rice were provided, and this became a tradition, which continues
to our day.
Mr. Naim Dangoor who decided to feed the poor of Jerusalem
with rice – he outdid Akbar by adding lentils to the
In this project they distribute 3 times a week : Monday,
Wednesday and Friday noon, 400 ( now 600 ) bags of cooked
rice and lentils to everyone who need and ask for it.
They make and give them with Hazon Yeshaya institutions.
In rice and lentils there are many vitamins claims Ilana
Avissar ( who oversees this project ), and even if not all
the vitamins. This project is a great beginning. Whether
Akbar or a guardian angel, many people are able to survive
in these hard times by eating this basic food, rice and
Maybe soon people will see better days when men, women and
children in this country will not have to walk hungry to
line up for a bag of rice and lentils. And the guardian
angels of Jerusalem will be able to smile.
“A GUARDIAN ANGEL of JERUSALEM”
From Press Release by: Ilana Avissar
1,500,000 PEOPLE LIVE UNDER THE POVERTY LEVEL
26.9% OF THE POPULATION
600,000 CHILDREN ARE STARVING
And this in the 21st century in Israel.
As reported by the government agencies and media, the number
of people falling under the poverty level in Israel is constantly
increasing, many are ashamed to admit their situation and
do not register for social security, preferring to hide
Mr. Naim Dangoor heard that Saddam was paying $ 10,000 to
the family of each suicide bomber, and decided that he would
pay 10,000 Shekel to the family of each victim. When he
learned that the families of the victims are well looked
after by the Israel Government, he decided to launch instead
the “rice and lentil” program to help needy
citizens in Jerusalem.
It began about six months ago. Six hundred bags of rice
and lentils cooked with onion in oil “ Ketchri “,
700 grams each are distributed by volunteers in soup kitchens
in different centres in Jerusalem in co-operation with a
non profit organisation Hazon Yeshaya , three times a week,
and the recipients put some money into a box according to
their ability so that they do not feel they are receiving
charity. For many of them it is the only food they have
In the role as supervisor of the rice and lentil project
of the Exilarch Foundation of Mr. Naim Dangoor. I went one
Friday morning at 11 o’clock to see that everything
was under control. The needy were lining up outside the
kitchen. All received with dignity a bag of rice and lentils;
sometimes putting five, ten, twenty agorot, a shekel into
the box to keep their self respect, but always hoping in
their hearts that things would change tomorrow.
But tomorrow only brings more people, new people to stand
in the line, the line of poverty. I stood there for a while
looking at the people waiting patiently for their bag of
rice and lentils. About 600 bags lay on the tables waiting
An old woman approached me. She looked as if she had stepped
out of Shai Agnon’s book “Tehila”.
Smiling kindly she said :” If you are hungry you can
get a portion of rice and lentils too. You don’t need
a permit . Just put a few coins in this box ( she pointed
at the box at the entrance ) so you don’t feel you
are receiving charity. But if you don’t have any money,
never mind. You can put something another time. They don’t
ask questions.” Then, sensing my confusion or embarrassment,
she went on, “ One of the guardian angels of Jerusalem
is paying for this food, it is clean and good.” “
Who is paying?” I asked, astonished at the term “guardian
angel” / “I heard it is someone beyond the sea,
very far away”, she replied. “God bless him”.
I looked at her and said :” Maybe he is not quite
so far away. Maybe he can see you with his heart”.
“Yes” she replied, happy at the thought. “Some
people here have money and eyes but cannot see. He can see
us with his heart”. Then she went on :” for
days I hesitated about taking something which was not mine.
I was ashamed at myself till finally I had the courage and
few coins to help myself to the rice. I don’t want
free food, I want to put something in the box, it’s
not only myself, I have a divorced daughter with two children.
I take it to her and we all eat.
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