Every single day of the year, Colel Chabad feeds widows, orphans and poor elderly. But during the Jewish High Holidays, this work becomes evermore important.
As the Jewish year 5779 begins with Rosh Hashanah on the eve of September 9, Colel Chabad set forth a High Holidays plan to do just that – ensure that Israel’s at-risk do not go without basic necessities, including food and clothing.
“Part of the Jewish tradition is that when there comes a holiday, you have to take care and make sure that not only you have all you need, but your neighbors have all they need as well,” Menachem Traxler, director of volunteering for Colel Chabad, told Breaking Israel News.
“Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot are no different,” he said.
This year, Colel Chabad will provide 850 widows with crates of food that are packed in their warehouse in Kiryat Malachi and delivered to their homes, or food vouchers of equivalent value.
“Israel, just like any other healthy economy, has people that are suffering from food insecurity and we are stepping up to the plate to help take care of them,” Traxler said. “Food security is important for any human being.”
Colel Chabad maintains that during the holiday season, a new pair of shoes, a suit or dress can make all the difference in a child’s joy and self-confidence. Thus, vouchers for clothing will also be sent to 2,500 families for the High Holidays, mailed directly to their homes, which can be redeemed in children’s clothing stores throughout Israel.
Additional food cards for 4,000 families will be given to help cover holiday meal expenses. According to Traxler, the family recipients are those who struggle financially for a wide variety of reasons.
“There are many people in Israel who have a job but unfortunately someone is ill in the family and they need extra money, say for medicine, and they are cutting back on food,” he said.
Often, money is given to “someone who lost their job temporarily and is not eating properly – or a single mom that doesn’t have enough to go around,” he explained. “There could be so many reasons why people are suffering from food insecurity and we are here to take care of that, to make sure they are eating properly so they can move on with their lives.”
Colel Chabad will also deliver basic foods, packed in their warehouse, directly to the homes of 4,000 elderly and homebound that, although unable to shop alone, can cook their own meals. For the 1,500 elderly and homebound who are unable to shop, cook and prepare their own meals, Colel Chabad will deliver freshly cooked meals directly to their homes.
Partnering with the Israeli government, Colel Chabad has 23 dedicated soup kitchens throughout Israel that act as the sole source of a hot nutritious meal to about 3,100 lonely and poor individuals. Every day of the year, including holidays, Colel Chabad helps these people enjoy their meals with dignity and respect.
The Israeli government has also partnered with Colel Chabad in its National Project for Food Security – a project in which Colel Chabad loads the credit cards of 10,800 families with money that allows them to purchase food in local supermarkets. During the High Holidays, 4,000 families receive an additional lump sum to help cover their holiday expenses.
For thousands of Israelis, these programs can make all the difference to their holiday season – and to their lives.
To donate to Colel Chabad’s network of social welfare programs, please click here.
Written in collaboration with Colel Chabad.