For families struggling each day to put food on the table, Passover is a terrifying prospect. Even on a tight budget, the holiday can tip the family finances into crisis. Did you know that many Israeli families spend thousands of shekels in preparation for this holiday? This is because people turn over their entire homes. New pots and utensils are required. Kosher for Passover food is another necessity. All of the little things add up.
For poor families in Israel, Passover is a dreaded holiday when it should be one of the most enjoyable ones. This past Passover, however, was different for hundreds of Israeli families.
The Cohen Family
The Cohen family resides in Gilo, a Jerusalem suburb. Shoshanna is the main care-giver for not only her 5 grandchildren but also for their mother, and (her daughter-in-law) Leah, who is living with multiple sclerosis and is now wheel-chair bound. The elderly Shoshanna is a widow as is Leah, whose husband succumbed to cancer when their children were small – the youngest just a baby. The family approached us last year before Passover to see if we could help. Although they do receive some state assistance, every penny was accounted for, and due to the additional costs of the Seder and Kosher for Passover food, the family was at breaking point.
Elana Levina is another single parent, but for a different reason. Her husband is serving a lengthy prison sentence in Ramle Prison for the assault and battery on Elana herself. She has three young children and lives in a tiny two-room apartment in Bat Yam, struggling to survive on a welfare check and her cleaning job. She has no extended family as she came alone to Israel as an orphan from the Ukraine when she was just 13. Yad Ezra V’Shulamit was asked to step in and help Elana, relieving the family’s hunger with a weekly food basket and offering the children a hot lunch every day at the local children’s center. But during Passover, the family cannot live on the regular assistance that Yad Ezra V’Shulamit provides.
Thanks to its supporters, Yad Ezra V’Shulamit could step in and offer the Cohens’ a nutritious and plentiful food basket. The entire family was able to sit down at the holiday table with the dignity befitting every Jewish family during Passover. We were also able to provide Elana and her children with the means to have a joyful and fulfilling Seder by giving them a holiday food basket.
This was all thanks to you – our generous donors. Thank you for all of your contributions and for helping the hundreds of Israeli families enjoy a meaningful holiday!