With the festive holiday of Purim just around the corner (March 24), Colel Chabad is energized to do all that it can to ensure an enjoyable day for all. Their 23 soup kitchens, spread out across Israel, are gearing up to provide an extra-special experience to anyone in need.
“This year, Colel Chabad will directly help about 5,365 poor and lonely senior citizens and 8,640 impoverished families, including young widows and orphaned children, to celebrate Purim and hopefully have a better tomorrow through our charitable Purim programs,” shared Rabbi Moshe Deutsch, CFO of Colel Chabad, with Breaking Israel News.
“With one out of three Israeli children living in poverty, people know that they can count on Colel Chabad to do all that we can to bring joy to the impoverished.”
Tradition requires Jews to celebrate Purim in four key ways, three of which specifically apply to helping those who are often overlooked. Besides listening to the reading of Megillat Esther (the Purim story), the holiday is observed in three key ways which involve giving: First, by sending food packages, called mishloach manot in Hebrew, to neighbors and strangers who most need to feel cared about; second, by giving charity to the needy, called matanot l’evyonim; and third, by partaking in a joyous Purim meal – yes, eating a meal on Purim is fulfilling a holy decree!
“Though concern for the needy is a year-round responsibility, on Purim it is commanded to remember the poor,” noted Rabbi Deutsch to Breaking Israel News. “We do whatever we can to increase the joy and decrease the challenging situations in people’s lives.”
Colel Chabad will be providing all four of the day’s requirements, to those who need it most through their extensive network of well-organized programs, regardless of age, gender, background or degree of religious observance.
Thousands of traditional Purim cookies, called hamantashen, will be given out in the holiday baskets. Hamantashen, triangular treats with a hidden filling in the center, represent the three-cornered hat worn by Haman, the villain of the Purim story.
One of Purim’s themes is that God works in hidden and mysterious ways within this world. In fact, it is a time-honored custom for children to dress in costumes as an allusion to the fact that God is concealed in this world but always present.
“Purim is a special time to offer heartfelt prayers for God to turnover challenging decrees and fill the world with miraculous good,” explained Rabbi Deutsch to Breaking Israel News. “Colel Chabad not only prays that impoverished and suffering people experience positive changes in their lives, we actively strive to be partners with God in bringing revealed good into the world.”