Shai Graucher, a young Hasidic rabbi, is perhaps best-known for the flatbed trucks full of washing machines, dryers and ironing boards he brings to army bases so that soldiers can launder their grimy clothing onsite.
But Graucher does so much more. He has been assisting soldiers and terror victims and their families since 2017. The current war sent his efforts into overdrive.
Since October 7, he has raised $7.4 million (as of January 3) through his charitable foundation toward dozens of one-time and ongoing projects and a fund for war victims.
Graucher’s current Standing Together initiative has, among other things, opened a logistics and distribution center for items requested by police and soldiers; opened a fulltime kitchen preparing meals for soldiers and displaced families; delivered thousands of care packages to displaced families and families of soldiers; delivered 45,000 items of clothing to displaced families; brought gifts to children wounded in the Hamas attacks and children released from captivity in Gaza; sent Shabbat kits to war widows; distributed tens of thousands of religious items to soldiers; distributed 5,000 Chanukah packages to families of soldiers and displaced families; and opened a rejuvenation center in Ofakim for combat soldiers.
Graucher also runs memorial ceremonies, visits the bereaved and injured, arranges weddings for soldiers and events for children of war victims, organizes concerts by popular singers at army bases, and spearheaded a Torah dedication to a fallen soldier.
Graucher, son of Hasidic singer Dedi Graucher, who died in September, told eJewish Philanthropy that after the war he will focus his efforts on children orphaned by the October 7 Hamas attacks.
“This is going to be the main project after this war, taking care of those children who lost their parents. We need to take care of them and give them support, love, bar mitzvahs, get them psychologists, take care of their schools. This is my main goal,” he said.