“For the poor shall never cease out of the land; therefore I command thee, saying: ‘Thou shalt surely open thy hand unto thy poor and needy brother, in thy land.’” Deuteronomy 15:11 (The Israel Bible™)
Jews all over the world just completed the week-long celebration of the holiday of Passover, which 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 on a regular basis, the challenge to fulfill God’s Biblical commandments to observe the holiday can be a near impossibility. Therefore, Meir Panim, a charity organization in Israel, increased their already active daily efforts to feed the Holy Land’s poor by providing for the holiday needs of thousands.
“Maintaining Biblical dictates as well as tradition is important,” Goldie Sternbuch, Director of Overseas Relations for Meir Panim, told Breaking Israel News. “This year, as we do every year, we held Passover seder ceremonies (traditional meal) 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 their 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 vouchers, food packages, and cooked and set up the seders at Meir Panim’s branches. “The beautifully set seder tables made us feel like royalty!” happily stated many who attended the public seder.
“Passover is a particularly family-oriented holiday,” noted Sternbuch to Breaking Israel News. “Being alone for this holiday can be truly heartbreaking. Therefore, 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.”
To donate to Meir Panim, please visit here.