This past Motzei Shabbat/Sat. night, I was privileged to be able to attend the wonderful Project Yechi Annual BBQ at Cong. Keter Torah. Over 800 people came out to support this wonderful and truly unique organization founded and continued in the memory of Chaim Feigenbaum z”l. Their mission is simply to help families struggling with cancer pay their rent or mortgage while undergoing treatment. Project Yechi has helped 200+ families across the US and have paid over 750 monthly rent/mortgage bills and anticipate paying out $500K in rent and mortgage bills in 2017. Project Yechi has literally no overhead and all of the monies raised go directly to the families they are helping.
I didn’t know Chaim Feigenbaum well as we were a few years apart but I have gotten to know Chaim’s special father, Jackie Feigenbaum—who I consider one of the leading members of the greater Teaneck/Bergen County Orthodox community. Jackie and I have worked together on a few community projects over the years. I have developed a tremendous sense of respect and admiration for Jackie’s quiet yet powerful sense of achrayut towards those in our community who need help in different ways. Jackie and his family members are also all people who always try to do the right thing and always do it in an understated, low key, but high-impact way.
Jackie sent me a handwritten letter, dated August 29th, from a current Project Yechi beneficiary and I have decided to publish it in full - with some details changed - and share with the Jewish Link readership here:
Dear Project Yechi,
I wanted to let you know how much your support has helped my healing as well as eased tremendously the strain of our money concerns that I’ve had to deal with. I am a single mother with multiple teenage girls. Most of our worries through these past 3 years since my diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer have been financial. I am beyond grateful for your past assistance, as it took that worry off my shoulders and I have been able to focus on healing.
Stage 4 is quite difficult as many new challenges arise. I am not working today and I am also going into the hospital for a heart operation next week.
I am asking you at Project Yechi to open your hearts again and assist me with my family’s rent so I will be able to continue to help myself with other medical bills that constantly crop up.
It is with extreme gratitude and hakarat hatov that I ask for Project Yechi’s help.
I can say—and will say—over and over again - how much your support has made a big difference in my ongoing recovery.
With Much Love,
How can anyone not be affected by this letter from a stricken mother trying to survive and recover and live her life in as dignified a manner as possible? And how fortunate that Project Yechi is able to help her as they do. They aren’t promising to cure her or provide for her every need, but rather, just simply help her to stay in her home while she and her family are going through this. What they offer families like this is simple, yet powerful, all at the same time.
Project Yechi learns about families in need via referrals from organizations like Chai Lifeline, Chai4ever, local bikur cholims, RCCS, Sharsheret, and sometimes through local rabbis or chaplains. All beneficiaries go through a serious verification process and I feel very confident that anyone being helped by Project Yechi is well deserving.
To Jackie and the Project Yechi family, I wish you all continued health and hatzlacha and the ability to continue helping so many in this way. Keep up all that you are doing!
Although the BBQ is now behind us and the event pictures will be in next week’s paper, you can always support Project Yechi by visiting their website at: www.projectyechi.org or email them at: [email protected]
By Moshe Kinderlehrer
Co-Publisher of the Jewish Link of NJ