The Emergency Social Justice Hotline in the Shadow of the Covid-19 Crisis

Many places around the world are in various stages of dealing with horrific consequences of the Covid-19 health crisis. Far too many people got sick and far too many people died. Our hearts go out to those who lost their fight and we mourn with the families.

We are in awe of the people who were and are on the front line of this terrible struggle: Health care workers, public transportation workers, sanitation workers, the people who delivered food when it was possible and of course the numerous volunteers who made sure that people who could not leave their homes were able to get food or medicine. The volunteers who, despite being laid off or put on furlough themselves, gave of themselves to answer questions and solve problems for people thrust into an almost impossible situation of, on massive scales, going from employed to unemployed overnight. People lost incomes, lost their ability to provide for their families and of course lost far more than that.

Rabbis for Human Rights, from the beginning of this crisis took decisive action. Although we were forced to shutter our rights centre we moved swiftly to open a hot line to help people, to help our base clients, already living with poverty and food insecurity, to those facing those issues after being forced from what they thought was stability.

As Israel begins to move back to ‘normalcy’ we continue to work for the benefit of Israelis, Jewish, Arab, immigrants and long-time citizens, in order to seek justice for them in this time of crisis.

The Emergency Hotline: Thanks to our donors and volunteers we, with Zazim and the Forum Against Poverty, were able to get the hotline up and running. But it still needs your help.

Thanks to 24 Social Work Students, 8 Law Students, 12 other volunteers the Emergency Social Justice Hotline was able to field over 225 calls and resolved close to 100 issues thus far.

  • We took dozens of calls about submitting documents to the National Insurance offices as well as dealing with exceptional cases.
  • Over 30 calls were about sorting through the requirements of applying for national insurance relief, including grants for the self-employed and income tax issues.
  • No less important were the calls about employee rights during the Corona crisis.
  • 12 calls came in about child entitlements and entitlements for handicapped citizens.
  • 10 calls required that we directly work with clients regarding severance pay issues, furlough issues and salary issues.
  • We also fielded calls from people looking for mental health support and were able to make the necessary referrals and to deal with other issues as well.

The issues we dealt with were varied and included debt collection, alimony payments, public housing, rental assistance, banking issues, debt issues and more. Beyond dealing with the “issues” at hand we were able to talk to people in crisis and to act as a sympathetic shoulder for people to lean upon. We were able to help people understand the complexities of the system, sort out their issues so that they can move forward on their own and so on.

As our society transitions to a new normal the old normal of poverty and food insecurity continues and is exasperated by the crisis. Work with us to continue to fight for Economic Justice.

If you would like to donate to BFRHR, find more information on the Donations page