Aryeh Lurie is the founder of Yad Ezra V’Shulamit. He grew up in a poor family in Jerusalem. His mother used to take cucumbers from the market that were about to be thrown away, and pickle them. That was his weekly lunch.
Shabbat was more difficult since it’s supposed to be a time of abundance and meat. And yet, Rabbi Lurie’s mother came through by prepared a hot stew in their cold and damp home. However, charity was always in the family’s blood. The first portion was given to families in need, even though they were the ones in need. Many of the people who received the first portion were lonely people who simply needed a warm meal. This was the primary concern – to give to neighbors who had nothing.
Seeing this difficult life, Rabbi Lurie said to himself that when he grows up, he will act for the benefit of the people of Israel. Dozens of years later, Yad Ezra V’Shulamit provides for thousands of children who receive daily food rations. Over 2,500 families throughout Israel receive help.
Rabbie Lurie built this organization on three things: food baskets, children, and to provide basic food items at a very low cost.
But this wasn’t enough. As the organization expanded in its infancy, they needed a place for the children, now known as the Children’s Center. At the time, space was extremely limited. Rabbi Lurie then moved his entire family out to a small apartment so that there would be room for a soup kitchen in Israel.
Furthermore, we all know that geopolitics impacts the lives of all Israelis, However, this can make it even more difficult for the poor. During the various wars over the past 5-20 years, Rabbie Lurie personally went from bomb shelter to bomb shelter, and delivered over 100 tons of food in 2.5 weeks to Israeli residents in the south of the country.
There were also other unfortunate incidents, like the devastating cold front a few years ago, in which several people died in Israel. These were primarily poor people who didn’t have access to blankets and heaters. Rabbie Lurie took out a loan to purchase 2,500 blankets and hundreds of heaters, and went live on the radio informing poor people of the help that was available. People came by the thousands.
This is just part of the greatness of Aryeh Lurie.