Rank and File

Plant a Grapevine, Donate Meals to Needy Families Under Lockdown

Plus, honoring the founder of Beit Issie Shapiro, a nonprofit for disabled children and adults, and FIDF distributes care packages to soldiers in quarantine

Grapes for the Feldstein Winery growing in Givat Nili in northern Israel, 2016.
Avi Feldstein

STATE RECOGNITION: The founder of Beit Issie Shapiro, Naomi Stuchiner, has been named a 2020 Israel Prize winner for lifetime achievement, the Education Ministry announced last week. Stuchiner, who was born in South Africa and immigrated to Israel in 1970, founded Beit Issie Shapiro to advance the rights of children with disabilities and improve the quality of life of them and their families. The nonprofit organization says that it develops and provides “innovative therapies and state-of-the-art services for children and adults across the entire range of disabilities.” Stuchiner named it for her late father in 1980, inspired by his dedication to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

“Within 40 years Beit Issie Shapiro has become a positive influence on the lives of over half a million Israelis annually,” the Israel Prize jury wrote. “Under Naomi’s leadership, Beit Issie Shapiro has become an instrument of social change for people with disabilities.”

SOLDIERING ON: In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces has implemented programs to address the emergency needs of soldiers quarantined on bases or at home. FIDF staff members in Israel have distributed care packages of snacks as well as hygiene kits, yoga mats, gym equipment and more to the IDF soldiers, and is working closely with the IDF to support the soldiers’ increasing well-being needs as the situation progresses. “I think there’s no denying that it’s a scary time right now and that the ultimate source of comfort is being with family,’ said Juliana, a private from Los Angeles, who serves in the IDF Foreign Relations Unit. “While it’s tough to be so far away from my family right now, I’m grateful for my amazing community of friends here in Israel and for all the support I receive from FIDF as a lone soldier.”

A FIDF care package for quarantined soldiers
Courtesy of FIDF

SWEET CHARITY: Since 2018, Wine on the Vine has provided an opportunity to plant grapevines in Israel while supporting charities. With the coronavirus crisis, some of those charities have become particularly relevant, namely United Hatzalah of Israel and Leket Israel, The National Food Bank. “Anyone can plant a grapevine for United Hatzlaha and for every six vines we buy a coronavirus package to protect their volunteers,” Wine on the Vine founder and CEO Adam Scott Bellos told Haaretz. “Every vine is also one meal for Leket,” which provides and delivers meals to families, especially critical during the lockdown. Bellos, who is originally from Cincinnati,” said the grapes will be planted in the summer. “Planting grapevines in Israel is a mitzvah,” he added. “We have to keep doing good deeds even while we are locked up in our homes.” To support a charity, visit wineonthevine.org.

Rank and File was compiled by Steven Klein.

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