How One Woman Raised 16 Children … Alone

[COMMUNICATED] Rabbi Tzvi Kofman of Tzfat was a beloved and respected figure: A rosh kollel, a talmid chacham, a lawyer, a baal chesed, and the father of many children, he seemed to many to have the perfect life. Perfect until the fateful day when he was diagnosed with cancer. What followed was the painful struggle against disease and debt which has become all too common in today’s world. When Rav Kofman passed away, he left behind a widow and 16 children.

Rebbetzin Kofman’s journey to raise 16 kids on her own was not a simple one: She once dedicated her entire life to managing the ins and outs of their needs. Now, she was tasked with the impossibility of supporting them financially as well. Due to health issues, she has survived solely on a modest pension from the national health insurance. The family was torn apart, as her children went to spend extended periods of time with relatives. The Kofman family would truly never be the same again.

In the midst of their darkness, however, a thread of hope sparkles: daughter Brachi is now engaged to be married. Her experience of being a kallah, of course, is not like that of her peers. Plagued by poverty, every step of wedding preparation has been a struggle. In an act of love and selfishness, her siblings have joined together to pool their money. Unfortunately, their need is still dire.
In a video on her hachnasas kallah fund page, Brachi remembers her father with awe: “He learned Torah diligently, it was important to him.” Brachi’s dream is to continue her father’s legacy of tzidkus, and her mother’s legacy of strength in the face of adversity, by building a home of her own full of Torah mitzvos and chesed. In order to make that dream a reality, and to survive the steps in between, she is desperately hoping for the help of strangers.
“I bless you that G-d should fulfill all your desires for the good, and you should have a lot of success and nachas from your children,” Brachi continues, addressing the camera with an expression of hope and embarrassment.
It is always a shock when those in our communities who seem to ‘have it all’ are struck by tragedy. The best we can do is to lift up those who have been struck down, and to hope that if we ourselves were to fall, others would do the same for us.
Brachi’s wedding is in two weeks. Donations are being accepted here for a limited time.
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