Jews all over the world just completed the week-long celebration of the Passover holiday. Passover commemorates the birth of the Jewish nation through their miraculous exodus from ancient Egypt. Though the holiday is festive in spirit, Jewish law dictates that only unleavened and specially-prepared foods can be eaten throughout the entire holiday. This can be a very expensive endeavor.
For those struggling to make ends meet every day, the challenge to observe the Passover holiday can be a near impossibility. In response, Meir Panim ramped up their efforts to feed Israel’s hungry by providing for the holiday needs of thousands.
“Maintaining Biblical dictates as well as tradition is important,” stated Goldie Sternbuch, Director of Overseas Relations for Meir Panim. “This year, like every year, we held Passover Seder ceremonies in our southern Dimona and northern Or Akiva branches for those who cannot afford a proper meal for Passover or for those who would otherwise be alone.”
Meir Panim also distributed pre-paid food shopping cards and boxes of food staples to ensure that families not attending public Seders would have what they need. “It is important for everyone to experience the feeling of a full and festive holiday table,” continued Sternbuch.
Meir Panim’s loyal volunteers helped distribute food packages, cooked and set up the Seders at Meir Panim’s branches. Said one of the public Seder’s attendees, “the beautifully-set Seder tables made us feel like royalty!”
As Passover is a particularly family-oriented holiday, being alone during this time can be truly heartbreaking. “Therefore,” Sternbuch explained, “we do all that we can to fill not only hungry bellies but also lonely souls.”
Many people have the custom to remove all leavened products from their homes before Passover. This would include items such as pasta, cookies, cakes and breads. Rather than throwing these foods out, Meir Panim enlisted the help of young people from families who receive aid from the organization to collect these foods and repackage them for those who are in need.
“Meir Panim takes a holistic approach to healing poverty,” said Sternbuch. “We do our best to encourage those who take help to also give back. I must add that we are truly grateful to the donors who made all these important projects possible and helped to bring so much Passover joy to so many.”