A minor, yet interesting angle this Jerusalem Post article on Israeli soup kitchens misses, is the number of anglos eating at such institutions. As a regular volunteer at a Jerusalem soup kitchen before I left Israel in Feb. 2004, I was constantly shocked by the stream of former Americans, Brits and Australians asking for food. There were students, former lawyers and other professionals with degrees from Ivy League universities, and old-time olim reduced to homelessness. I was even once set up on a date with a perfectly nice professional guy, who a year and a half later wandered into the soup kitchen where I was volunteering -- as a customer.
While everyone knows that "the way to make a small fortune in Israel is to come with a large one," especially in the current economic climate, few realize the true depth of the current Israeli recession. Although the financial professionals keep on telling us that the recession is officially over (typical -- just after I leave), it will probably take years for the benefits to trickle down to those who have been hardest hit.