Eviatar Baksis is the Director of Partnerships and Resource Development for Lehitiv, an organization that empowers families who are caught in the intergenerational cycle of poverty and accompanies them towards a life of independence. JFMD is proud to be a partner of this most impressive organization. 

 Eviatar and his wife Liraz have been connected for almost two decades to the Jewish community of Detroit, firstly through many years as participants and then leaders at  Tamarack Camps and Federation’s Teen Mission, followed by three years as shlichim (emissaries from Israel) representing the Hillel Student organization.   

During the difficult crisis of COVID-19, about a million Israelis became unemployed and were thrust into a time of uncertainty, many of them unsure if they would be able to pay their bills by the end of the month. Many families suddenly needed to choose between a roof over their heads or providing food for their children. In order to help the struggling families, Lehetiv began to operate a hotline offering emotional support and financial advice. Lehetiv was able to recruit 269 volunteers and has helped distribute food baskets and computers to families in need. Lehetiv has made 1000 outreach calls to senior citizens and answered over 530 calls in Hebrew, English, and Arabic.  

One example of someone who Lehetiv has helped is Sara, a single mother with four daughters. When we first met Sara, she was divorced for the second time and had been in a battered women’s shelter, working four jobs. Sara’s dream was for her daughters to no longer be ashamed of her, wearing old, torn clothing and receiving cans of food. Just like every poor family, Sara struggled to navigate the different departments and organizations, creating a feeling of frustration and abandonment by the system. Lehetiv helped Sara by using their unique holistic approach that puts the family in the center and creates an ecosystem to break the cycle of poverty. Two years later, Sara is a Quality Control Manager in a catering factory that provides more than 4,000 meals a day. In addition, she owns a small business and sells unique Ethiopian crackers. She has managed to purchase an apartment from government housing. Sara’s daughters participate in enrichment classes and help their mother shop for food and clothing.  

With the commitment and support of the JFMD, we can help women like Sara and her daughters.  

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