View this email in your browser
MARVA - Law, Welfare & Empowerment

Sharing major achievements and challenges in the fight for the legal rights and welfare of older adults, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable Israelis.

Dear Friends,

As Israel takes steps to slowly pull back the restrictions of the latest nationwide shutdown, nonprofits throughout the country, including MARVA, have had to face many difficulties.

In a survey published earlier this year, it was revealed that over 85% of Israeli nonprofits have reported that their work has been negatively impacted by COVID-19, with 38% of smaller nonprofits reported to have already closed their doors.

MARVA is extremely grateful to all of its supporters who have made it possible for us to continue our vital work during this especially challenging time. I am particularly pleased to announce that we will be opening a program hub in northern Israel, in the city of Safed, as of early 2021, thanks to a generous donor directed to us by the Good People Fund, an amazing organization which we profile in this newsletter. This hub, which will be staffed by a part-time attorney, will have the enormous challenge of starting to address the needs of a large, under-served population in the northern periphery. We expect this initiative to be a first step in expanding MARVA’s services to multiple sites in the north as well as in the southern periphery, once funding is raised to do so.

This development could not have come at a better time. I imagine that, like us in Israel, you feel the effects of COVID-19 in every aspect of your personal and professional lives. With a majority of the population confined to their homes, the steep rise in unemployment, as well as the educational system that is largely closed down, the effects the pandemic has had on mental health around the world are deeply distressing. 

Domestic Abuse During COVID-19

In Israel, a huge spike in domestic violence has been seen since the start of the pandemic, with the number of reported cases tripling just during this past lockdown, along with an increase in cases of elder abuse. In this blog post published in the Psychiatric Times, one can see a particularly stark correlation between the pandemic and an increase in ageism and threats to the safety of the elderly in our communities. A recent case shared in the New York Times highlighted the wrenching dilemmas of parents of adult children with mental health challenges that go untreated - and the impact of their abusive behavior on their aging parents. Here in Israel, MARVA is at the forefront of efforts to directly address family crises by employing the law and social welfare frameworks to protect the parents while facilitating therapeutic aid for the abuser/s.

MARVA is fighting daily to protect the rights and safety of vulnerable Israelis, as individual distress and family crises are amplified further by the pandemic. Too often, we encounter cases like that of Avraham, an older man suffering from Alzheimer’s who wanders the streets, endangering himself and others, because he does not understand the need to social distance and wear a mask. And there are numerous cases such as that of Rivka, who cannot leave her home because of the pandemic and is confined to her apartment with her abusive son. In complex cases such as these, MARVA provides expert counsel and legal aid through multi-disciplinary committees at more than 40 municipalities across Israel, working closely with social workers, doctors, and other professionals to extend compassionate assistance and effective legal aid. In addition, MARVA provides individual legal aid for the elderly and their families, and offers training and legal consults for professionals.

With your support, the MARVA team will continue to work tirelessly to make sure people like Avraham and Rivka receive the compassionate care and attention they deserve.

Thank you,

Mickey Schindler, Esq., PhD (Law), BSW

Visit Our Website

MARVA Selected for Emergency COVID-19 Grant

A 100,000 shekel grant was recently awarded to MARVA by the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi) to support MARVA’s work with people in crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant recognizes MARVA’s prominent role in providing legal aid to the elderly who are at risk and their families, including adults suffering from abuse, people with psychiatric disabilities, and seniors experiencing dementia and Alzheimer’s. The grant supports MARVA’s mission to help these individuals whose conditions have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and whose need for legal aid and welfare services has greatly increased during the public health crisis, when people are confined to their homes and the number of cases of abuse within the family continues to rise.

Alternative Guardianship Models for Individuals with Alzheimer’s and Dementia

In Israel, approximately 150,000 older adults live with dementia, a condition of cognitive decline that can continue over a period as long as 15 years. This population is at particular risk of losing their legal rights; in the past, a vast majority of adults diagnosed with dementia were appointed a legal guardian by the state. By imposing a guardian onto the older adult, the State interferes with the individual’s autonomy, impinging on his/her freedom of choice and self-esteem, and even on the motivation to seek rehabilitative support. Despite cognitive decline, the older adult still has capabilities as well as the desire to manage his/her own life and live up to his/her beliefs and values. A growing chorus of criticism for the practice of automatic guardianship contributed to a 2016 legislative amendment, promoted by a coalition that included MARVA’s founders, that introduced new legal strategies contributing to the older adult’s safety and health while defending his/her freedom to manage daily life. These strategies include, among others, tailored guardianship, durable power of attorney and advance directives, and supported decision-making.

A two-year partnership between MARVA and EMDA, the Alzheimer’s Association of Israel, is demonstrating that the legal interventions noted above are having a significant impact on the quality of life of thousands of older adults. Marva, working in partnership with EMDA, which is supported by the Milwaukee-based Bader Philanthropies, provides ongoing legal aid to older adults and their families who are part of EMDA’s programmatic pipeline and are seeking aid to protect their independence for as long as possible.
MARVA is honored to partner with an incredible team of professionals who work diligently to protect the lives of vulnerable Israelis. In this issue of the MARVA news, we will highlight the important work of Yael Mann Waksman, Esq., PhD., a senior attorney at MARVA. Dr. Mann Waksman coordinates the EMDA-MARVA program partnership.

"Working at MARVA is more than just a job", says Dr. Mann Waksman. "MARVA is a place where I can use my expertise to do good, to help people who suffer from cognitive decline, and to help protect their rights to the fullest so that they may maintain their dignity and autonomy”.
Prior to joining MARVA, Dr. Mann Waksman worked as an attorney at Yad Riva - legal aid for the elderly. She specializes in issues related to guardianship, legal capacity, inheritance law, and other areas of concern regarding at-risk elderly people and people with disabilities.

She received her doctorate from Hebrew University’s Faculty of Law in 2018. In addition to her work at MARVA, Dr. Mann Waksman is a lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Hebrew University and at the Social Work School of the Hadassah College in Jerusalem.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Israel, Dr. Mann Waksman has spearheaded the MARVA initiative to provide emergency legal services for the elderly impacted by the pandemic, a program supported by the National Insurance Institute (Bituach Leumi).
Learn more about the people behind MARVA and their important work fighting for the legal rights of Israel’s elderly, people with disabilities, individuals at risk of abuse, and people with psychiatric illnesses:

Dr. Mickey Schindler, Dr. Michal Wosner, Dr. Yael Mann Waksman, Shlomit Baranes, Rivka Ben Zvi Pizam, Pnina Frits
MARVA is enormously grateful to all of our supporters and donors, whose decision to support our mission has positively impacted countless members of Israeli society in dire need of legal aid and therapeutic support. On behalf of all of our clients and staff, we thank you for supporting MARVA at a time where our expertise is needed more than ever. In this newsletter, we profile The Good People Fund, a US-based foundation that has been doing good for countless numbers of people in need and is a generous supporter of MARVA. The Executive Director of The Good People Fund, Naomi Eisenberger, shared these thoughts with us about the Fund’s interest in MARVA’s work:

Naomi Eisenberger
“For nearly 13 years the Good People Fund ( has focused on identifying and supporting small Israel and US-based programs run by inspiring and compassionate individuals who have found creative and impactful ways to resolve our world’s problems. Our goal is to provide funding and mentoring with the hope that their work will grow and become more visible so that others will step forward to help. When we met Dr. Michal Wosner and Dr. Mickey Schindler we knew that we had found two more Good People… individuals who have taken their professional expertise and directed it to aiding some of Israel’s most vulnerable citizens—elders and disabled people who are often abused or have their rights trampled upon. By joining together expertise in both social welfare and law, MARVA’s clients, often hidden and forgotten, regain safety and a better quality of life. Mickey and Michal and their staff, together with their holistic approach, should be a model available to people throughout the country.”
MARVA is grateful to all of our funders, who make it possible for us to do our important work on behalf of vulnerable Israelis. Thank you!
Anonymous Foundation, Bader Philanthropy, David Berg Foundation, Good People Fund, Laszlo N. Tauber Family Foundation, Tel Aviv Foundation, the Israel National Insurance Institute, and all of our other generous supporters.
MARVA relies on the support of generous individuals and funders in order to extend urgent legal and social welfare aid to thousands of vulnerable Israelis in need.
Please donate today. Thank you!

Copyright © 2020 Marva, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp