Christians and Jews Donate Heating Assistance, Warm Blankets to Israel’s Elderly in Need: ‘Heating Up Their Homes and Hearts’

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CAPTION: Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein's daughter, Yael Eckstein, (right) presents one of the 25,000 warm blankets and quilts on behalf of Christians in North America who have contributed to help needy families and the elderly in Israel during the winter months. On Feb. 16, The Fellowship in Canada launched Operation "Warm Friendship" with volunteers visiting the homes of more than 9,500 elderly in 22 towns and presenting each of them with a voucher to help pay their heating bills. About $1 million in vouchers will be distributed in a single day.

TORONTO (Feb. 16, 2011) — Caring Canadians are reaching out across the globe with donations just over $1 million to help thousands of elderly residents in Israel who are enduring bone-chilling weather and near-freezing temperatures this winter — with limited or no ability to pay for heat in their homes.

Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and Chairman of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews® of Canada, announced the kickoff of Operation "Warm Friendship" to help more than 9,500 elderly Jews in need throughout the Holy Land, many of them Holocaust survivors with no one to help them get through the cold winter months.

The heating subsidies will be distributed to these elderly residents this week. In addition, thousands of new blankets have been distributed to families and individuals of all ages since the start of winter.

"The Fellowship is committed every winter to helping the elderly population desperately in need of heating in order to survive," Rabbi Eckstein said. "In Israel, there are tens of thousands of elderly people, including many Holocaust survivors and immigrants, who cannot exist on the allowances provided by the state. Their plight is made far worse during the winter months, and many of them are forced to face an impossible choice between heating their homes or buying food or medicine."

Today volunteers began making personal visits to 9,500 seniors ages 75 and older who receive social services and giving them a heating voucher for 400 shekels (about $110) to help them pay their heating bills. The vouchers are being delivered by 4,000 volunteers in 22 towns considered by the National Insurance Institute to be the coldest in Israel. The volunteers, who represent dozens of The Fellowship's partner organizations, will each visit two to five families and spend time talking to the residents in addition to presenting them with the heating voucher and a family-size package of soup.

"Our contribution is a message to the elderly and all the citizens of Israel that they are not alone and that there are people standing with them, including tens of thousands of caring Canadians who care deeply about their welfare," Rabbi Eckstein said. "Our goal is to heat up the home and heart of each elderly Israeli today."

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The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews® of Canada was founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein to promote greater understanding between Jews and Christians and to build Christian support for Israel and other shared concerns. For more information about IFCJ Canada programs and projects, visit


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