Colel Chabad. (courtesy) courtesy
Colel Chabad. (courtesy)

The leading aid organization Colel Chabad ensures that needy Israelis are not forgotten during the Jewish New Year period each autumn.

By: Colel Chabad Staff

Every single day of the year, Colel Chabad feeds widows, orphans and poor elderly. But during the Jewish High Holiday season, this work becomes even more 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 ensure that Israel’s marginalized citizens get the necessities they need to feel the festivity of the holidays, including food and clothing.

“Part of Jewish tradition is that when there’s a holiday, you have to take care and make sure that not only do you have all you need, but also your neighbors have all they need,” told Rabbi Menachem Traxler, director of volunteering for Colel Chabad.

“Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot are no different in terms of ensuring that struggling Israelis have all they need to celebrate,” he said.

This year, Colel Chabad will provide 850 widows with crates of food that are packed in the organizations warehouse in Kiryat Malachi and delivered to their homes. In addition, they will distribute thousands of pre-paid food shopping cards.

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.

“Israel, unfortunately, has hundreds of thousands of people that suffer from food insecurity and Colel Chabad, with the help of generous donors, steps up to the plate to help take care of them,” Traxler said. “Food security is important for any human being.”

The Israeli government partners 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.

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 are also given to 2,500 families for the High Holidays. These vouchers allow people to shop at children’s clothing stores throughout Israel.

Additional food cards for 4,000 families will be given to help cover holiday meal expenses for struggling families. According to Traxler, the family recipients are those who struggle for a variety of reasons.

“There are many people in Israel who are the working poor,” he said. “They have a job but, unfortunately, someone may be ill in the family or, even by working, they can’t make ends meet and need assistance, say for medicine. Sometimes, they are even forced to cut back on food.”

Often, Colel Chabad provides aid to “someone who lost their job and is not eating properly – or a single mom that doesn’t have enough to go around,” explained Traxler. “There could be so many reasons why people are suffering from food insecurity and Colel Chabad jumps in to help. We make sure people are eating properly so they can live healthier lives.”

Partnering with the Israeli government, Colel Chabad has 23 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.

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.