Breaking the cycle of poverty with awareness and healthy living

Jerusalem hospital hosts seminar on aiding disadvantaged community in living healthfully and consciously.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Child with healthy food (illustrative)
Child with healthy food (illustrative)

A gathering of over 200 women came together at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for a day-long seminar coordinated by the National Food Security Initiative, as part of an ongoing effort to help educate the disadvantaged community about tools and resources to promote healthier and more budget conscious living.

Working in partnership with Israel’s Welfare Ministry, the Initiative implemented by Colel Chabad is designed to provide beneficiaries with specific avenues to build themselves out of poverty.

The seminar at Shaare Zedek featured lectures by senior medical and social work personnel who spoke to the importance of embracing healthier lifestyles as a tool to more structured lives.

“All too much illness in our society is because women have a fear of confronting health problems and wait too long before doing something about them,” said Dr. Revital Arbel, Director of the Urology Gynecology Department at the hospital. “Don’t panic at the thought of going to ask the questions and don’t feel you need to bring someone with you – they might hold you back and say it’s not a big deal but we are our own best doctors so if you feel something is wrong don’t fight that feeling.”

Presenting some practical suggestions for improving family nutrition, Dr. Keren Hershkop, Director of Nutritional Services at the hospital said that people, particularly those who are fighting poverty, tend to prefer packaged and prepared foods over fresh ingredients. But she stressed that the long-term health effects of such a diet will be extremely costly.

“It’s critical that in all aspects of our lifestyles we act as models for our children and this should certainly start with food preparation. Involve your kids in planning and making meals as much as possible and show them the value of physical activity and using sports as a bonding experience,” she explained.

Ravit Zamir, today Shaare Zedek’s Director of Social Work previously worked with the National Food Security Initiative and welcomed the chance to show that a hospital is not only a place for the ill: “We are proud of our role as educators of the community we serve and we are proud to host events that demonstrate how to lead healthier and more satisfied lives. With health comes confidence and ambition, which we know gets people motivated to escape cycles of poverty.”

The Food Security Initiative was first launched in 2016 and now works in close to 50 municipalities around the country. According to Colel Chabad’s Israel Director, Rabbi Mendy Blau, the program has succeeded in changing how people approach their challenges.

“Our message from the beginning is that poverty is a challenge that demands action by the people most affected by it and you can’t just sit back and wait for your luck to change. Programs like today’s seminar stress the understanding that each and every woman in this room has the ability to make changes in their lives that will positively affect them and their families for many years to come,” he concluded.