Philanthropist Bracha Kapach dies at 90

Israel Prize winner, community philanthropist and businesswoman Rabbanit Bracha Kapach died on Tuesday in Jerusalem.

Rabbanit Bracha Kapach 521 (photo credit: Adam Ross)
Rabbanit Bracha Kapach 521
(photo credit: Adam Ross)
Israel Prize winner, community philanthropist and businesswoman Rabbanit Bracha Kapach died on Tuesday in Jerusalem at the age of 90.
A longtime resident of the capital’s Nahlaot neighborhood, Kapach was awarded the Israel Prize for her remarkable acts of charity. She was the wife of the late, great Rabbi Yosef Kapach, after whom the street is now named and also an Israel Prize recipient for his work in the field of Torah study. They are the only couple to both be recipients of the prestigious award.
Bracha was born in Yemen in 1923 and married Yosef when she was just 11. The Kapachs immigrated from Yemen in 1941 to then-Palestine, where Yosef served as a judge on the Supreme Rabbinical Court. Bracha opened an embroidery business, employing some 50 Yemenite women who had also immigrated, starting her on a trend of helping people in need.
For 52 years Kapach ran a private charity out of her home, distributing care packages to the needy on holidays and before Shabbat. At her peak, Kapach would organize delivery of 7,000 food packages. In the last few years the packages dropped to 2,000 to 3,000, but included matza, wine, oil, sugar, rice, dates, raisins, coffee, cocoa, chocolate powder and tea. The project would run around NIS 150,000, and was supplemented by student volunteers or anyone who asked.
Her charitable organization started from humble beginnings, when a woman reached out to Bracha on the street, screaming that she had nothing to eat. As told by her son, Arieh, in an interview in March, “She went to her home and brought her food, and saw the state she was living in and cleaned her house. That led to one and then another, and then people heard they could come to us for help, and it grew from there.”
Arieh also spoke of his mother’s frankness when it came to charity.
“I remember, we’ve had all kinds of people here in need of help. One day a drug addict came to the door; he was in a terrible state. My mother stood there and screamed at him to stop taking drugs, to go get a haircut and get his life in order... I met him years later and he was a taxi driver. He told me that my mother had helped him turn his life around,” said Arieh.
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