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Smart Chesed

Lema'an Achai strives to help our neighbors the way we would want to be helped: as equals, 
with the aim of getting us back on our feet. 

Receiving a handout—even when asked for—can often feel belittling. In contrast, when financial support is complemented with education, supportive guidance, and training it conveys a palpable message of appreciation, esteem, and commitment: 'You are going to make it!' We call this Smart Chesed.

Money is undoubtedly a serious part of the problem of poverty, but typically it is only a small part of the solution. While not having enough funds to provide for the basics in life is certainly excruciating and worthy of alleviating—it is critical to offer rehabilitative assistance as well. We believe this is not only more respectful, and more effective in the long run, but also the Jewish way, in accordance with the 8th and highest level of charity found in our rabbinic literature (Rambam: "The greatest level, above which there is no greater, is to endow him with a gift or loan, or enter into a partnership with him, or find employment for him, in order to strengthen his hand until he need no longer be dependent upon others").