In southwestern Nassau County on Long Island, you will find the very special community of West Hempstead, and the Young Israel of West Hempstead, its largest Synagogue. Young Israel of West Hempstead, or for short, the – “YIWH” – was established by a handful of families in 1955 and has grown to be a congregation of over 700 families. It is a community that is proud of its connection to Israel and its people.
The Combined Israel Appeal (CIA) of the YIWH, is an over 45 year tradition supporting tzedakah projects in Israel. Every year, the Yizkor appeal on the eighth day of Pesach raises funds for select CIA projects. This is an amazing model for Jews in the Diaspora to follow as they demonstrate their connection to the Jewish Nation.
In light of the pandemic, the CIA decided to conduct their appeal in order to address the food insecurity many Israelis are facing. Close to one million Israelis have lost their jobs or have been put on furlough. As a result, 1 in 7 Israelis are skipping meals.
Meir Panim was chosen as a beneficiary to provide Meals-on-Wheels to Israelis in Jerusalem and in Or Akiva, a socioeconomically challenged town near Caesarea. The grant from the YIWH enabled Meir Panim to meet its Matching Grant goal of $500,000!
The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down and has had a devastating impact on Israel and its economy. Currently, Meir Panim is meeting the demands of approximately 50% more Meals-on-Wheels for Israelis in need. During the height of the pandemic, Meir Panim rose to the challenge of providing more than 3 times the amount of meals than before. Unfortunately, the number of coronavirus cases are currently increasing and the demand for Meals-on-Wheels is rising again.
Meir Panim’s Meals-On-Wheels program serves the elderly, homebound and disabled out of all five of their Restaurant-Style Soup Kitchens in Israel, including Tzfat, Dimona and Tiberias, in addition to Or Akiva and Jerusalem. Due to COVID-19, the unemployed and homebound populations keep growing and thousands of needy Israelis are relying on Meals-On-Wheels as their only source of food. Meir Panim is committed to making sure that no one goes hungry and its goal is to provide uninterrupted and sustained services for as many people as possible and for as long as it takes.
Meir Panim is very grateful to the Young Israel of West Hempstead for leading the way and hopes their compassion and generosity will serve as a role model and inspire more community groups to follow suit!!