Passover (Pesach) is widely considered one of the most exciting Jewish holidays of the year. It’s a time to reflect and give thanks to our freedom. It’s a time when families get together with their relatives over a 7-8 day stretch. Here in Israel especially, you will find people from all backgrounds of religious sects enjoying the Passover holiday touring the country, hiking, and partaking in other fun-filled activities.
Outside of this though, the leadup to Passover and the holiday itself can be quite stressful to many due to the prohibition of certain foods. This is why you will find every supermarket across the country packed to the max, buying up any ‘Kosher for Passover’ labeled product they can get their hands on. Seriously, just walking into the supermarket and seeing the lines can cause a mini heart attack. On top of that and adding to this stress is the fact that you know you’re about to empty half of your bank account on food. Many people spend what they would spend over the course of a month for food on this week-long holiday. It’s common to hear people joking that if a family of five walks away from the supermarket with a $750 – $1,000 food bill for Passover, they have gotten off easy. Except, this is no joking matter. For families struggling each day to put food on the table, Passover is a terrifying prospect. On a tight budget, the holiday can tip the family finances into crisis.
This was the case last year for the Cohen family of Gilo, a Jerusalem suburb. Shoshanna is the main care-giver for not only her 5 grandchildren, but also for their mother and 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 Yad Ezra V’Shulamit 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.
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 this beautiful holiday. In addition to this, yad Ezra V’Shulamit then offered more help to the family for the coming year. Each week, a Shabbat food basket is delivered, laden with fish, chicken, fruit, vegetables and more. David, the youngest, who was only a baby when his father passed away, attends one of our after-school daily Children Center where he receives warmth, love, emotional and psychological support, hot food, homework help and more.
Of course, this is a huge success and one that everyone involved should be proud of. Your assistance has enabled thousands of Jews in Israel to not only enjoy the various holidays throughout the year, but live a dignified life every day of the year. To continue helping more families in Israel like the Cohen’s enjoy Passover as every family should, please consider making a donation today.
Photo Credit: Flickr