Today I learned of an amazing restaurant soup kitchen in Jeruslame called Carmei Ha’ir. All who enter sit, dine and relax. When leaving those who can pay, pay. Payment is made to a box by the door. Some put notes of thanks and others put sheckels. Only those touching the box at that moment know who is paying with thanks and who with cash. Amazing, isn’t it?
Located on 72 Agrippas in the neighoborhood of Machaneh Yehudah it was begun by Yehuda Azrad, Itzik Levitan, Momi Ben Zruel, Harel Horowitz and David Germiza. Aish reporter Sara Yocheved Rigler writes that they dreamed of creating a soup kitchen “where everyone who enters would receive honor, not just food.” She continues, “Even the name embodies their commitment to preserving the dignity of their indigent patrons. They wanted a name which would not smack of charity. Ze’ev Yekutiel, a restaurant consultant and caterer who volunteered the know-how for establishing the restaurant, came up with “Carmei Ha’Ir.” In Hebrew, it means simply, “the vineyards of the city,” but the inner circle of supporters knows that the word “Carmei” is also an acronym for a line in the prayer of hospitality: “All the hungry will eat from Him.” Read the entire Aish article here.
Other sources on this amazing place include:
A Jerusalem Post article, Love at First Bite.
A Christian Science Monitor article, Chef Cooks Up a Grand Social Experiment
Rabbi Mark Kaiserman quotes the owner in a D’var Torah for Parashat Behar, By Your Side
I learned of Carmit Ha’ir from Jerusalem Gypsy who blogs about a recent meal there.
I hope to eat/donate/volunteer there when I’m in Jerusalem later this summer.
Do you want to help support Carmei Ha’ir? According to Aish, send donations to P.O.B. 6084, Jerusalem 91060, Israel. You can also go to their website (in Hebrew) for more information and donations.