On behalf of my wife and myself we would like to express our sincere thanks for your financial assistance for Pesach, it means that we can now have a Seder with my children where we otherwise would not .

Thank you to you and all at JCF for your support and take this opportunity to wish Chag Pesach Sameach.


For 10 year-old "Rachel," the school year is punctuated not by the usual milestones of sports days, and house plays -- but by nursing visits and the painstakingly slow process of learning to "re-feed" herself.

Since being diagnosed with anorexia nervosa late last year, her family has walked a frightening tightrope to try and keep her weight from dipping to life-threatening levels. The ordinary rhythms of family life have been overtaken by an unrelenting cycle of appointments with doctors and psychologists.

Save for a handful of close relatives, family and friends have stopped visiting. Maybe they are afraid to confront the shell Rachel has become: perhaps they no longer know what to say.

At only 10 years of age, "Rachel" is too young to qualify for an inpatient residential program. Already under strain from a marriage breakdown, both parents must share the load to supervise a gruelling roundthe- clock feeding program, taking turns to catch a few hours of rest. Her older siblings regularly take days off school to make sure she is never left alone.

Rachel's father has been forced to give up work to help with the re-feeding task, further stretching the family's already limited financial resources.

Support from the MJCF has helped cover the cost of the family's rent, counselling and therapy services. Perhaps most crucially, it has enabled the family to hire professional carers to help with the re-feeding program that sustains her.

While Rachel still has a long way to go, with MJCF's backing, and the support of a dedicated team of doctors and counsellors, she is making small steps towards recovery. She has returned to school part-time and is starting to participate is some social activities.

Keeping the MJCF updated about her progress, the family says that while Rachel's emotional state remains fragile, her condition is stabilising; they no longer live with the constant, crushing fear that they will lose her. For the first time in months, they say, the fog has lifted to unveil a glimmer of hope.

Sometimes all it takes to turn a life around is a foot in the door, and a helping hand.

For "Daniel," this came in the form of an after-school Israel program, giving him the first opportunity of his life to connect with other Jewish young people, regain self-esteem through volunteering work, and re-discover his roots.

When his Israeli father abandoned him at age 14, Daniel began skipping school, losing touch with his former social network and linking up with a much older, faster crowd.

He no longer attended shule or Friday night dinners, rituals that had anchored him to his extended family and traditions. In his mid teens, Daniel plunged into a spiral of drug-taking and criminal activity, finally ending up in custody. He spent the next few years in and out of jail, unable to complete his schooling or hold down a job. His mother worked full-time to support him on her own.

Over the past year, with the help of counselling and rehabilitation, Daniel has gradually begun to overcome the trauma of his childhood and forge a more positive path. He no longer has clashes with the law and is now entirely drug-free.

With the support of his case-worker, Daniel applied for and received MASA (universal Israeli grant) funding to cover most of the cost of a six-month program in Israel, but his mother is struggling to raise funds for the airfare and living expenses. MJCF has stepped in with financial support for clothing and to cover the gap in costs for the program.

Both Daniel and his mother are anticipating this new phase in his life with excitement.

They say MJCF's assistance and the prospect of his trip to Israel has helped Daniel overcome his feelings of alienation and envisage a brighter, more optimistic future.

For many years, "Sarah" was trapped in the familiar cycle of verbal and physical abuse, countered by insincere attempts at reconciliation, that typify the experience of so many victims of domestic violence.

As her situation became more volatile, and her children increasingly fearful and emotionally withdrawn, she sought counselling and turned to the MJCF for financial support., After many months of therapy, and with the comfort of knowing she had a financial safety net for survival, she was finally able to take the step to leave her violent husband.

Now a single mother with three small children, and little extended family support, she suffers depression and is unable to cope with work or the pressures of re-locating to another home. She struggles to stay afloat with no financial assistance from her abusive husband.

MJCF has provided her with regular supermarket vouchers to cover grocery bills and financial counselling services to enable her to manage her budget in the long term. She has also been provided with rental assistance so that she can remain in her own home. At a time when her emotional health, and that of her children, remains so fragile, the constancy of familiar surroundings is crucial for their wellbeing.

Life is still hard for Sarah, and she continues to suffer the residual trauma of years of threats and violence, but with MJCF's help she and her children are finally beginning to rebuild their lives as a family unit. For the first time in nearly a decade, she says, the pendulum has begun to swing from crippling fear towards the first traces of hope.

As a self-employed small businesswoman and single mother, "Chana" travelled regularly to promote her products in interstate markets. Business had taken a slight downturn in recent years, but with additional support from family, she was still able to provide comfortably for her two children, maintain Jewish day school fee payments and afford food and amenities.

However, as a chronic diabetic, Chana's health had become increasingly unstable. She developed a neuropathy and problems with her eyesight, making her prone to falls. Earlier this year, she was admitted to hospital for an infection in her foot. It was too late to save the limb and the doctors had to amputate to prevent the spread of life-threatening infection.

Chana lost most of her leg below the knee - and with it, her mobility and independence.

She is learning to live with the gruelling daily schedule of physiotherapy, and with the phantom pains that often plague her at night.

But, as someone who has always been fiercely and proudly independent, what she struggles with most is the sheer challenge of even the smallest everyday tasks - getting her children ready for school, standing to address a group of potential buyers, reaching the phone in time to answer a call.

She has been learning to walk with the aid of a basic prosthetic leg. But progress is slow, and her movements remain laboured and stilted. Recently her doctors advised her of a new prosthetic product on the market that would greatly enhance her mobility. It was the key, she hoped, to regaining her much longed-for independence.

She turned to the MJCF for help, and was provided with funds to cover the full cost of the new device. She is still coming to terms with the loss of her limb, but is now able to look forward to slowly resuming her work, and caring for her children. Chana is hopeful her new prosthesis, made possible with MJCF's support, will give her a new lease on life.

Names and some details have been changed to protect identities.
Dear MJCF committee,

I cannot thank you enough for your support during an incredibly difficult time for our family.

The financial assistance you gave us to help cover nursing and feeding program costs for our daughter battling anorexia helped pave the way for her recovery.We are so grateful to be able to let you know that our daughter is now completely recovered and back at school, where she is excelling in her studies.

Please accept our heartfelt thank you for your support - it literally saved our daughter's life.

"Sharon" has struggled with a drug addiction for almost as long as she can remember, leading to a spiral of chronic illness, unemployment and homelessness. MJCF was able to assist her with temporary hostel accommodation and contribute towards the costs of a drug rehabilitation program.

She recently sent the following letter:

What I can say is thank you so much for helping me and giving me this opportunity to get my life back. I am all of a sudden seeing colours, smelling the flowers, seeing the beautiful sky and the sea-things I never would have paid attention to. I am not just drug free; I am medicine-free as well. I have never felt better in my entire life. It is due to your special hearts that reached out to me and helped me pay for the treatment I needed so badly, and I cannot thank you enough.

The biggest appreciation I can show is to continue to inspire others and make my parents happy once again. I knew I always had it in me, but to know I have support and the warmth and kindness of all of you who donated to my cause is so heart-warming and touching. It motivates me to keep going, to keep fighting and keep the life that I was destined for.

Stricken by a rare disease that causes morbid obesity, at aged 2 Maxi was growing so rapidly that he could no longer fit in a regular car seat or pram. Without a diagnosis, Maxi was not eligible for government funding or grants to provide equipment for children with disabilities. After months of anguish and desperation, Yael approached the MJCF for help. Without delay, after liason with manufacturers to expedite delivery, she was provided with a special wheelchair for Maxi. Yael was also unable to drive her manual car, having damaged her back while attempting to lift her child. The MJCF provided Yael with an automatic vehicle, to enable her to drive with ease.

She recently forwarded this letter of appreciation:
Dear committee members,

I recently had reason to utilise the services of the Melbourne Jewish Charitable Fund for the first time. Over the past 14 years I have dealt with many other agencies. I found the service and support provided by the MJCF to be unparalleled. Their depth of sensitivity and understanding of our situation was unique. Their response to our request was both incredibly speedy and overwhelmingly appropriate.

After approaching the organisation with a letter about our issues, I was contacted immediately by their social worker, who talked through the most pressing issues at the time with me. From these discussions, ideas were born, advice was given and action was taken.

The value in having a practical perspective is immeasurable. When you are so emotional and traumatised it can be hard to really know what is the best path, logical approach or realistic priorities.

Dealing with our son's mystery illness we can never plan ahead, as we really don't know what the future will hold. Our landscape is ever-changing, as are our needs and priorities. It has been crucial to have an understanding, committed, flexible organisation that offers not only short-term assistance, but longterm solutions, enabling us to set goals and encouraging us to look forward.

MJCF offered us a practical, multi-lateral approach and, most importantly, did so assertively, happily and without judgement.

Melbourne can indeed be proud of such an organisation. I urge your readers to support the wonderful work the MJCF does and understand donations can be made through their website www.mjcf.com.au
Dear MJCF,

We would like to join our parents, in thanking you most sincerely for the prompt and generous assistance you have given them in their time of need. Your kind consideration and warm, nonintrusive manner in handling their situation during a time of immense stress is greatly appreciated.

Although my father has been unable to secure another permanent employment position to date, he has managed to find a small amount of casual work. They have also just received their Australian permanent residency, which will hopefully provide them with a few more options.

Thank you once again for your support.
To the MJCF Board

I just wanted to express my thanks to you all for helping us with the health insurance. My husband was readmitted to hospital a few days after he was discharged, due to a wound infection but thank g-d he only had to stay a week and is now home again.

I cannot express how much we appreciate your assistance during this time. This year has just been completely overwhelming, with my husband being in hospital for mare than six weeks this year so far, and your monthly support and the help with the insurance was a great source of help for us.

Many Thanks,
Dear MJCF,

I wish to express my deepest appreciation for the kindness and generosity the MJCF showed me while I was going through a very difficult time.

Your non-judgmental attitude, sensitivity and concern for me was without doubt something I will never forget. You provide such a wonderful and needed service to the Jewish community and the help you offer is immeasurable.

When someone needs help, the repercussions are often stressful along with many other anxieties. These are also relieved by your help which goes much deeper than the initial help itself.

If there is anything I can do to help the MJCF perhaps with donations for gifts or to raffle, please don't hesitate to contact me as I would be delighted to assist in anyway that I can. Once again, thank you so much.

Warm regards
PS Just to let you know, I got another job!
Dear MJCF;

Just a short note to say thank you for the wonderful gift of a cheque and the vouchers for shoes for my children. We really appreciate this kind and generous gesture for Pesach more than words can say.

The kids were so excited to get a new pair of shores to wear to Synagogue for Peach. Your generosity is greatly appreciated and certainly helps ease the burden of everyday living under these trying times.

We would like to take this opportunity of wishing you and your loved one a Happy and Kosher Pesach.

Thanking you once again
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