2020 Annual Teaneck/Bergenfield benefit - Live Stream
As the Nine days approach, the staff and supporters of “Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael” or “Just One Life” are planning their annual Teaneck/Bergenfield benefit. This year, the event will be live streamed for the community on Tuesday evening, July 28. The guest speaker is Rabbi YY Jacobson a world renown lecturer and a friend of Just One Life.
This years' event will once again be hosted by Rachel and Azi Mandel and Sheryl and Aaron Liberman. Jack Forgash, founder and Co-Chairmen, is excited to bring technology to Just One Life and their events. “It has been many years and several events in various communities, but now it’s time to share our wealth of talented speakers and the Just One Life mission and reach more people”.
For many women in Israel suffering from financial and emotional stress, the news of a pregnancy is too much to bear.
That’s where Just One Life USA), or Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael (Israel), steps in.
Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael (Israel Amutah)/Just One Life (USA 501-C-3) was formed in 1988 by concerned individuals who recognized the need to provide support for expectant mothers in Israel, where financial hardship and social and medical issues can lead to difficult pregnancies. The group’s name was derived from the Talmudic passage in Sanhedrin that states that “He who saves a single life in Israel, has saved an entire world.” (Talmud)
In the 31 years since, the non-profit is credited with saving many worlds over. Since its establishment, Just One Life has been instrumental in the births and lives of over 18,500 Israeli children.
The key to the organization’s success is that “we provide stability to families who are experiencing turbulence in their lives,” said Rabbi Martin Katz, who has served as the USA Executive Vice President of Just One Life since its founding.
Through professional counseling, emotional support and financial assistance, Just One Life empowers mothers to bring their pregnancy to full term, thus preserving Israel’s most precious resource - its children.
Veteran social worker Chaya Katzin, the Israel director, typically meets expectant couples at the cozy Just One Life office on Jerusalem’s King George Street where they speak about their anxieties and fears. She urges them to consider their options, as well as the types of assistance that would alleviate their pressures.
Together with her team of social workers, she helps couples navigate the social, emotional and economic issues that can accompany an untimely or at-risk pregnancy.
“Because many couples are not equipped with financial resources or a support system, their ability to raise a family is compromised,” Katzin said about her clients.
“Helping women think about their choices and empowering them to understand their strengths is the goal of our intervention. We try to bring down the crisis level and arm women with the skills they need to more easily manage their lives,” she added.
The social workers at Just One Life aid approximately 500 families every year. The couples come from all over Israel and from a broad range of backgrounds: religious and secular, Ashkenazi and Sephardic and new immigrants as well as longtime Israelis.
But what the women share in common is that all face limited incomes, stressful family situations or health issues. A pregnancy only adds to their long roster of problems.
Women often find their way to the Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael/Just One Life office through referrals from doctors, social workers, nurses and welfare offices. The couples do not encounter any anti-abortion propaganda from the organization. Instead, they are encouraged to talk about what they would need in order to raise a child. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of money. The group also receives referrals from major hospitals across Israel.
Dr. Uri Chen, Director of the ultrasound maternity unit at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, has referred many patients to Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael over the years. In one of his letters of thanks to the organization, he praised the group’s important work. “There is no doubt that your assistance brought about circumstances that were optimal in helping the couples during their difficult predicaments and brought about beneficial outcomes,” he wrote.
The vast majority of the cases are families with limited income. Currently, 1.7 million people in Israel are living below poverty level. Just One Life provides nearly $1800 to each mother for financial and psychological services. The group also offers assistance to those with high-risk pregnancies.
The founders of the organization were Rabbi Solomon J. Sharfman, A”H, Dr. Shimon Glick, who was then the Dean of Ben Gurion University Soroka Hospital, Jack Forgash, a businessman from the USA and a friend of Dr. Glick and Rabbi Sharfman ,and Madelaine Gittleman from Jerusalem who became the Director and Head social workers in 1989 of the Amutah.
Just One Life has earned praise from Israel’s Ambassador Danny Danon, Israel’s representative to the United Nations, who penned a letter recognizing the group’s three decades of success in bringing Jewish life into the world. “Your work for Jewish families is fundamental to the future and well-being of the Jewish people,” he wrote. “Bringing Just One Life to Israel was an important development, and brought the issue of raising Jewish children straight to the heart of the Jewish world.”
The children who have been born in large part because of Just One Life are now taking their rightful places in society. Many have grown up to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, attend Torah institutions and universities and have families of their own.
Among the thousands of mothers who have been helped through the organization was a young Sephardic woman who was pregnant with quadruplets and had additional children at home. Her doctor advised her to the reduce the number of babies, but Nefesh Achat B’Yisrael (Just One Life) took her and her husband under its wing by offering her support, financial aid and the assistance of a high-risk pregnancy expert.
After giving birth to the first naturally born quadruplet boys in Israel, the couple was assisted financially and emotionally through the beginning years. The quadruplets recently celebrated their 21 birthday. Two are learning in Yeshiva, one is working at the police department and the fourth is doing national service. One of them got married before Passover. Rabbi Katz and his wife met with this family in Israel, one month before the wedding.
In the 31 years since the organization has been helping women have their babies, nobody has ever come back to complain, recounts Katz. “But many have returned to give thanks. They say, `I can’t imagine what my life would be like without my children.’”
The community is invited to attend the livestream event on Tuesday July, 28 at 8pm for Just One Life by registering at jol.vsociallive.comFor more information, call 347 766-7751
Jul 14th 2020
Just One Life
Center Left Shira (Therapist) Chaya (Director/Therapist) with 2 Clients
May 7th 2020
Orthodox Jews and Pro-Israel Evangelical Christians Unite to Save ‘Just One Life’
Rabbi Marty Katz has been saving lives in Israel for 30 years – as a part of his work with Israel-based non-profit Just One Life (JOL), he has saved 17,500 babies, including several sets of twins and triplets and even a set of quadruplets who are now 20 years old.
It is this work of saving lives through counseling ambivalent, expectant mothers deciding whether to terminate their pregnancy that Katz has become an ally and personal friend to some of the biggest names in the American Evangelical world, such as Pastor John and Diana Hagee, who he says are “amazing people” with great influence over Washington. Not only do they exchange Shabbat (Jewish sabbath) greetings every week, but Pastor Hagee, founder and national chairman for the largest pro-Israel grassroots organization in the United States, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), has ‘put his money where his mouth is,’ supporting JOL with hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past several years and setting an example for other Evangelical churches who have followed in their wake.
This year, Katz accepted a gift of $100,000 from John Hagee Ministries at his 37th Annual “A Night To Honor Israel” event at the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, with Hagee’s Rabbi and Katz’s good friend Rabbi Aryeh Scheinberg. At the forefront of saving Jewish lives in Israel, JOL has gained respect, receiving its financial assistance from dedicated supporters around the world, and in particular, Evangelical Christians who are invested in creating a flourishing Jewish state and supporting the children of Israel.
Receiving funds from Pastor George and Cheryl Morrison of the Faith Bible Church in Denver, Pastor Sharon Dougherty from Oklahoma, Pastor Ron Lewis from North Carolina, the Grace Covenant Church of Virginia, the Solace Church in Oklahoma and Pastor Reymundo Meneses of the Life Church of Memphis, their support allows the organization to provide their clients with the security to make critical future-focused decisions for themselves and their families. Doing so relieves burdens before and after the baby arrives, and with this clarity and confidence provided to the client, JOL has saved thousands of lives of women and families in crisis – what a cause!
Saving ‘Just One Life’
For the Jewish people, the desire to save lives stems from a central text of rabbinic Judaism. The Talmud states, “Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” JOL and its team of professional social workers who empower women who find themselves in a crisis situation during pregnancy have thus saved thousands of worlds, acting as cause-leaders.
“We are willing to do nearly anything to save just one life,” Katz told Breaking Israel News. “We can help pay a woman’s bills and rent, offer parenting workshops, support and even train spouses who need another job to pay for a baby.” Doing so creates dignity for a family and is not a simple band-aid over a financial issue, but a longer-term investment into the future of the family. “In the absence of the support of others, we are here to reach out with an emotional and loving hand,” said Katz.
By assisting mothers with challenges ranging from mental health issues, medical problems with the pregnancy, abuse, poverty and more, nearly all the women JOL sees – women who were considering abortion – to keep their babies.
Such values and programs have garnered the organization great financial support from both Orthodox Jewish and often right-wing, pro-Israel Christian donors, including Evangelical Christians whose ‘pro-life’ agenda aligns with the Jewish value of saving lives. “The Evangelicals say we are doing holy work. They love us, they love the holy land and they love Israel,” maintained Katz. “We are tied to the Evangelical Christians.”
A Pro-Chance Stance
According to cause-leader and JOL director Bini Maryles, however, Just One Life does not want to be labeled as ‘pro-life’ or ‘pro-choice’ – “We are what we call ‘pro-chance,’” he told Breaking Israel News – “giving every future mother the chance to make great, empowering, knowledgeable, future focused decisions about herself, her children and her family.”
Despite some theological differences regarding the definition of life between Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians, Donna Jollay, co-founder of educational platform Yeshiva for the Nations, which aims to revolutionize Christian thinking about the Torah, maintains that Jews and Christians both value life, treating it with honor and dignity – and this is just one of the shared values that have led to the natural alliance between Christians and Jews in supporting Just one Life.
The children of Israel, both Jews and Christians believe, are at stake and it is up to them to ensure its flourishing. “Certainly, by Christians supporting Just One Life and other organizations that promote life, we are continuing our shared work that is based on our value for life and vision for the future,” said Jollay.
Originally posted on Breaking Israel News
May 6th 2020