$45,000 grant for FREE

June 7, 2013 by J-Wire Staff
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More than 200 guests, mainly young adults from Sydney’s Russian Jewish community in Sydney have attended the 2013 FREE Gala Dinner.

Rabbi Yehoram Ulman and the $45,000 cheque

Rabbi Yehoram Ulman and the $45,000 cheque

FREE [Friends of Refugees from Eastern Europe]  was started 30 years ago to initiate an organisation to allow Sydney Jewish youth to  change their way of giving to the community.

Encouraging and motivating today’s sound-bite wise & witty youth was no simple task… it takes a whole lot of 21st century intervention such as facebook twitter instagram linkedin and pintrest. poking tagging pinning and hash-tagging…..

FREE soup kitchen was created and designed as a modern front and rebrand for the good old Mitzva of Tzedaka – charity started one year ago.

On one of our visits to the inner cities housing commission we met a 97 year old man who lived alone in a tiny unit He was hard of hearing and seeing he had difficulty understanding what we wanted from him. after I asked him to speak with me in yiddish his tone quickly changed and he welcomed us in. during our visit we spoke about his life in russia and of his family that perished my in the holocaust.  Hirsh put on teffilin for the first time in decades perhaps the first time since his bar mitzva, and with tears in his eyes he sang the old yiddish song of Ofein Priperchik. as our visit came to an end, hirshel could not stop thanking us for bringing him back to his pure and youthful days – from the shtettle.
A few weeks went by and by pure divine providence we found ourselves handing out soup in the very same spot. as we approached hirshels unit we were saddened by the site of a removal company removing reb hirshls last household items.

Gabrielle Upton and

Gabrielle Upton and Rebbetzin Shternie Ulman

“I believe with perfect faith that the timing of hirshels passing was no coincidence, rather, after years of pain and suffering he was waiting to do that last mitzvah of putting on teffilin and making a blessing over the delicious soup we had together. only then was he at peace with his completed mission in this world. friends, hirshel is my hero, hirshel is the hero of free soup kitchen”  said rabbi schlanger

Ladies and gentlemen it was at that point that I knew and felt it in my heart that FSK needs to be shared with the rest of the community.

Eli with the plan

Rabbi Eli Schlanger with the plan

FREE received $45,000 from the NSW State Government to assist in maintaining their building. Member for Vaucluse Gabrielle Upton presented the cheque at the function.

Inspired by this story more then 15 young members of our community rapidly became a solid unit of volunteers who now email and whatsapp daily with fresh ideas and strategies to perfect their baby, the, free soup kitchen.

FSK takes the responsibility to find and hunt out those in need. we will not wait for them to come to us – If there is someone out there hungry for physical or spiritual soup, we will make it our life mission to find them.

An inspiring video of  the work of  FSK was shown to the crowd with reb hirshel at the end singing oifen priperchik..

A special Thank you for a few of the many volunteers and staff at FSK Eli Rice, Shmully Ulman, Tanya Keyser, Milli Shegan & Stephanie Knafelman.

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