Hands of Mercy was founded in 1992 by Vietnam war veteran Yeshi Reinhardt as a humanitarian outreach organization, for the purpose of providing comfort and support to the many injured soldiers and victims of terror living throughout Israel. For legal purposes, Hands of Mercy is registered in Israel as a humanitarian organization, the same in Norway, and in America as a non-profit, 501-C3 organization. The initial home of Hands of Mercy was in Jerusalem for nearly two decades. We were assisting victim families throughout the country during events of suicide terrorism and war, including the horrific events of the "Second Intifada".
In 2009, during operation 'Cast Lead Shield', we have moved the main thrust of our work and office to the small war-torn community of Sde’rot, where over 10,000 rockets had ’rained down’ from Gaza in over a decade and a half long campaign of 'rocket terror'. We rented a small building in the city center that would enable us to assist many families who were struggling with trauma and poverty. We soon outgrew the old, 70-square-meter daycare facility, and began adding various tent structures to better serve the people... thus establishing the 'Tents of Victory' outreach center, which had been assisting the most vulnerable residents of S'derot for over a decade.
Due to the steady decrease of rocket terror from Gaza and the increase in the number of charities doing humanitarian work in S’derot, the decision was made by Yeshi and his successor Yariv in 2019 to close the outreach center and relocate the ministry's headquarters to Jerusalem. 'Tents of Victory' continued its operations assisting impoverished families, new immigrants and elderly Holocaust survivors, throughout the subsequent Covid-19 pandemic. It has eventually closed its doors to the public in March 2021, bringing an important chapter in Hands of Mercy's history to an end.
In 2019, the Hands of Mercy team was struck with grief when Yeshi, the charity's founder, had unexpectedly passed away from a heart attack at the beginning of a summer speaking tour in the US. Due to the daily pressures of leading a compassion ministry on Israel's front lines, and decades of work with trauma victims, Yeshi was planning to retire, and he appointed Yariv Goldman as his successor and Hands of Mercy's director shortly before he passed away. Prior to becoming Hands of Mercy's director, Yariv was a well-known musician and the leader of a successful street outreach that has existed for many years.
Yariv and the rest of the Hands of Mercy team are determined to uphold and continue Yeshi's legacy of caring for Israel's needy and traumatised. Under Yariv's leadership Hands of Mercy has been actively "enlarging the place of our tent" by finding new expressions of G-D's compassion towards the most broken and traumatised individuals among the "lost sheep of Israel". Building on the foundations of years of successful street outreach work by Yariv and his family, Hands of Mercy has started to be involved in street outreach in order to reach "the lost, the last and the least" in Israel. Also, in the autumn of 2019, Hands of Mercy has moved its headquarters back to Jerusalem, and opened the Adullam outreach center to provide a safe haven for young people at risk. The Adullam outreach center was closed in September 2021, but the Hands of Mercy team continues its outreach activities, providing much needed comfort and support to young people at risk, both individually and in group settings.
In 2022, Yariv and the 'Mercy team' were moved with G-D's compassion to continue Hands of Mercy's tradition of reaching out to victims of war through international humanitarian work on the frontlines of the war between Russia and Ukraine. Using our connections in Israel and our background in assisting people affected by war and terrorism, Hands of Mercy is actively assisting the German charity 'House of Hope' with their efforts of rescuing civilians from the most dangerous areas on the font lines of the conflict, as well as other vital humanitarian work.