How One Organization is Setting their Sights on Providing a Rosh Hashana Meal for Everyone in Need

September 8, 2014

3 min read

In the upcoming weeks, families all over Israel will gather and celebrate the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashana. Mothers will beseech God as they light the candles signaling the start of the holiday that their family be written in the book of life. Fathers will sway over their prayer books asking for divine protection over their family for the year.

Sitting down to celebrate the New Year over a meal, families recite blessings over the traditional foods representing health, happiness and blessing. Smiles break out as apple is dipped in sweet, sticky honey. You can hear the crunching of the pomegranate, whose multitude of sweet and sour seeds symbolize blessings of abundance. The head of a fish, which has a place of honor on the table, reminds all to ask God to bless us that we should “be like the head and not the tail.”

However, as many families in Israel joyously celebrate the New Year, there are also those whose celebrations are a more somber affair. Imagine a mother and father have to look their children in the eyes and tell them that this year, there will be no apple dipped in honey. Imagine the shame these parents must feel to not be able to provide such a simple joy to their children, all because they cannot afford it.

One organization in Israel has set out on an ambitious goal to make sure that families in Israel can celebrate Rosh Hashana in dignity. Be’er Sova, which has been operating for 15 years in the southern city of Be’er Sheva, provides food for people who are in need. For the upcoming High Holidays, Be’er Sova has set their sight on distributing 600 family food packages to the surrounding community.

“For Rosh Hashana, we took it upon ourselves, together with our partners, to provide a meal to everyone in need,” Elizabeth Homans, a spokesperson for Be’er Sova told Breaking Israel News.

“We have a goal that people who are in need should be able to celebrate like anyone else. Over the last four years, we have been trying to provide for as many as possible,” she explained.

Working with social workers in the field, Be’er Sova has been able to identify those individuals and family who need additional assistance. “Not always will people voice the fact that they need help. We’ve had neighbor’s call us and tell us about local families who need help. We make the connection with social welfare so that we can provide for as many as possible,” Elizabeth said.


With the High Holidays approaching, Elizabeth explained that Be’er Sova has been flooded with requests to provide holiday family food packages. Providing for the largest number of people in Be’er Sheva, the organization has teamed up with local suppliers to guarantee that no family goes without during the holidays.

In one instance, Elizabeth shared how high-school and university students from Ben Gurion University in Be’er Sheva who volunteer for the organization stationed themselves outside local supermarkets, handing out a list of supplies to shoppers. On the list were food items that were desperately needed which the shoppers could easily pick up and donate on their way out the store.

“With the list of supplies on what to buy, local shoppers were able to fill up their shopping carts and ours. We were able to make 800 food packages with all the items they donated,” Elizabeth said.

Be’er Sova has become a lifeline to the community of Be’er Sheva. Outside of providing food packages, the organization runs a community restaurant free of charge, educational enhancement programs for children and seniors, as well as various other community activities.

As Rosh Hashana quickly approaches, Be’er Sova seeks to bring much needed sweetness to the many impoverished families in Be’er Sheva. After a very difficult summer of war, welcoming the High Holidays with joy is the main priority of Be’er Sova.

“Parents who cannot provide for their families, and particularly on a holiday, they lose their own dignity,” Elizabeth explained. “We want to help give them that back. The situations they happen to be in can’t be avoided sometimes but at least we can help them stand tall in the eyes of their children.”

To learn how you can sponsor a family food package, click here.

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