Dear Amudim Family,
It’s been three years since Mendy’s Z”L passing, and not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, not because of his picture that sits on my desk, but because of the thoughts I keep thinking whenever there is a difficult situation and I ask myself, “What would Mendy do in this case?” Mendy was truly larger than life. A person who gave himself for other people. And as each year passes, I hear more not just about what he did to help Amudim, but about the personal relationships that he developed with people that Amudim was helping. Who sent in emails that he responded to, that he actually communicated with, with whom he met, had dinner. It was that he cared about each and every person that needed help.
As we are coming up on his third yartzeit, I can’t help but remember a famous board meeting during which I was complaining that we had two thousand clients that needed our help. And Mendy A”H said in front of everybody, “Until you hit ten thousand, you haven’t even scratched the surface.” And I can say now, Mendy, we reached ten thousand clients and you’re right, we haven’t scratched the surface. Mendy was all about heart, passion and soul. The driving force behind Amudim and that’s something we can never forget. As we’re embarking on his third yartzeit, I think of how Mendy is not here to see what has become of Amudim, and not just Amudim as an organization, but what we so beautifully call the Amudim effect or in the words of the millennials, #amudimeffect, how so many people are calling us from so many countries around the world, so many states around the country and telling us that as a result of the work we’re doing, they’re able to get the help they need. I will never forget when Mendy A”H said, “Zvi, just like there’s Hatzalah helping in every major city, we need to do the same with Amudim.”
I daven as always that Mendy A”H should be complaining or crying or screaming or shaking in shamayim that more people should get the help that they need. But I know the reality is that he is doing it because when we look at the numbers and the call volume and the people reaching out since Mendy’s A”H petira three years ago, it shows that he is doing that. It may not be in the way that we wanted, but it certainly is clear. I miss Mendy every single day; I miss the way he pushed me, he pushed me to limits that no one else can, he never accepted failure.
B”H we’re blessed that not only is Amudim growing and thriving and able to help more people since Mendy’s passing, but how his wife Ita, who should live and be well ad120, has become even more involved than she was during Mendy’s lifetime, and she was very involved at that time. All of Mendy’s children have taken this mission upon themselves, and this understanding that this was not just a tzedakah project but this was a dream, a mission, and one that is saving lives every single day. So I end off by saying a big thank you to the entire family and to all of those that help keep Mendy’s A”H legacy alive by helping those who can’t help themselves; my plan is to continue doing what we’re doing as long as G-d gives us the strength to do it so that we can eradicate the Magefah (plague), as Mendy so eloquently called it, of abuse, addiction and the mental health crisis, and at the very least, the stigma associated with it, so that people can feel comfortable to reach out and get the help they need.
If you or someone you know is struggling, contact us anytime.
WEEK ENDING: April 30, 2021
187 New Amudim Cases Opened This Week
187 New Amudim Cases Opened This Week
Each week, Amudim fields calls covering a wide range of crises and addressing various human concerns, including addiction, depression, abuse, health and domestic emergencies and many others. We track the calls and breakdown of issues for many reasons, foremost of which is to consistently improve and strengthen our knowledge and ability to address community’s needs.
Born in Hungary to Holocaust survivor parents, Mendy grew up in New York. Demonstrating his grit and determination at a young age, he launched a successful taxi business when he was just 22. After moving to Cleveland, he ran a produce business for more than a decade, ultimately going into property preservation, a venture that finally gave him the opportunity to realize his dream of being able to give and give and give.
When Mendy was 21 years old, he met his wife Ita, the driving force behind all he accomplished, both professionally and communally. With Ita at his side, Mendy utilized all of the resources at his disposal to help those that who were suffering in any way, always flying below the radar and never taking no for an answer.
Mendy supported communal institutions all across the globe. More than just making financial contributions, he became intimately involved in the many causes he championed– brainstorming ideas, identifying solutions and challenging others to become leaders themselves. Unable to tolerate the idea of anyone suffering in silence, Mendy’s work was hands-on and he spent hours in one on one conversations with at-risk teens at drop-in centers and visiting hangouts frequented by homeless youth, trying to understand what had gone wrong in their lives and how he could help.
Mendy was the driving force behind the creation of Amudim. Because he understood the importance of Amudim’s work, Mendy went out of his comfort zone and accepted the position of Chairman of the Board, rallying others to the cause and doing whatever it took to get them involved. His passion for Amudim was legendary, spending sleepless nights sharing in the pain of others, giving 24/7 to help those who were struggling, and inspiring everyone around him to follow his lead. Having witnessed Amudim’s success in the United States and seeing firsthand that so many were suffering similarly in Israel, Mendy spread his wings even further, this time championing the creation of an Amudim office in Jerusalem.
After Mendy’s untimely and devastating passing in May 2018, Ita proudly accepted the role of Amudim’s Board Chair, continuing Mendy’s legacy and propelling Amudim to even greater heights. Mendy’s sons Nati and Yoni Klein have taken on leading roles on Amudim’s board of directors and his sons-in-law Amir Jaffa and Michael Halpern are both active members of Amudim’s board of governors.Despite his untimely passing, Mendy’s fingerprints continue to remain evident in all that Amudim does. His vision guides Amudim’s staff daily as they carry on his legacy, giving 110 percent to those who are struggling with abuse and addiction and putting shattered lives back together with the utmost sensitivity. Mendy’s trademark passion and unparalleled devotion remain the driving forces at Amudim, pushing the entire team farther than anyone ever dreamed possible.
Amudim will forever serve as Mendy Klein z’tl’s–a giant of a man whose foresight, caring and compassion made him one of our generation’s greatest visionaries– living legacy.