They began as soft, incoherent moans, but the cries grew stronger every few minutes. When Rabbanit Bracha Kapach heard the faint sobs outside her Jerusalem apartment, she instinctively tossed aside the handkerchief she was embroidering and went quickly to investigate. Will I find a victim of robbery, she wondered nervously, or worse, a target of Arab violence? For a split second, Bracha, a young Yemenite mother, whose two children were playing on the mirpesset (balcony), wished she had brought an embroidery needle for protection. That alien thought, contrary to her gentle nature, vanished like a desert mirage the moment she spied the old woman lying in filth on the ground.
"Keep your hands off me," babbled the woman, as the rabbi's wife lifted her carefully. "Don't touch me," she shrieked. Foul smelling spittle sprayed from the woman's mouth onto Rabbanit Kapach's dress.
Yiheyeh tov-it will be okay," comforted Rabbanit Kapach."You're dehydrated and hungry; let me get you inside."
Rabbanit Bracha Kapach, an octogenarian, has cared for the poor and downtrodden in Israel since this incident, approximately 57 years ago. Her deeds of loving-kindness know no boundaries; racial, economic, or ethnic. Through her untiring efforts, hundreds of people eat chicken each Shabbat; more than 20,000 people receive food packages during Pesach; indigent (poor) brides wear beautiful gowns at their weddings; and underprivileged children play at summer camp. The State of Israel recognized Rabbanit Kapach's contributions to society in 1999, awarding her the Israel Prize.