In a survey conducted ahead of the Jewish New Year by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews of 300 needy people visiting five soup kitchens in Israel, six out of 10 said they would be facing the start of Rosh Hashana without meat or other provisions for a decent meal. About half of Israel's needy, including many working poor, said their situation has worsened in the last two years.
So with the generous support of its donors, most of whom are Christians from North America, The Fellowship contributed $1 million to help provide Israel's poorest citizens with boxes of food to prepare the special meals associated with the High Holidays, which began at sundown Wednesday evening with the Jewish New Year.
In their food baskets they also received staples such as flour and sugar for preparing additional meals for their families in the months to come.
Today in Israel, one in every three children lives below the poverty line, and more than half (58%) of large families are poor and in need of welfare assistance. The goal for this year's food campaign is to feed more than 90,000 individuals, including needy children and orphans, impoverished families, and elderly without families.
An estimated 20,000 food boxes, each specially prepared with hand-selected food items, will be distributed in preparation for the High Holidays. Items include tea, coffee, rice, pasta, oil, honey, salt, pepper, flour, sugar, and dry beans, plus vouchers for the purchase of fresh meat.
Rosh Hashanah is celebrated by Jews worldwide. The 10-day period between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) — the most significant and widely observed of Jewish holidays — is known as the High Holidays, a time of solemnity, repentance, and self-examination.
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, points out that the repentance called for during the High Holidays is more than just a "change of mind" — rather, it must involve a "change of action." In other words, wanting to change is not the same as actually changing.
It is in this spirit of taking action and effecting change that The Fellowship is embarking on this food distribution project that will not only change the lives of people who cannot afford food during the High Holidays, but also call attention to the need for "food security" for all human beings.
- Follow Ynetnews on Facebook