(Yad Ezra V'Shulamit) (Yad Ezra V'Shulamit)

How do you decide who will have food on the table this Jewish New Year and who will go without? That is the dilemma faced by emergency food service Yad Ezra V’Shulamit. Together we can make the decision easier.

In Israel, the Jewish New Year is a time when people partake in special foods, prayer, and ritual. In fact, meals play an important role in the symbolism of the day. Dipping apples in honey symbolizes wishes for a sweet New Year. But will this Jewish New Year be a sour one for Israel’s poor and for all those who are struggling during the pandemic?

When supplies run short and the economic impact of Israel’s lockdowns hits home, many families are hurled into an unprecedented struggle of getting food on the table. Job loss and tough economic times are suddenly impacting on everyday people who were managing just fine at the start of the year. This category of ‘new poor’ is in addition to the almost two million poor that already existed in Israel before the worldwide pandemic.

Yad Ezra V’Shulamit, a non profit delivering food to the poor in 47 cities in Israel, is experiencing an over-30% increase in calls for help. Ahead of Rosh Hashana, as the holiday and the second major lockdown come into play, they’re aiming to deliver at least 45,000 food baskets.

But the need is even greater, and that is where the dilemma lies: How do you decide who receives the packages and who misses out? The demand is so high that this dilemma is something all emergency services are now facing.

“I don’t know how to decide who gets and who doesn’t. Do we turn away the widow with orphans? Or the disabled women with kids? And what about the family man who worked hard all his life to provide for his family and can’t now because of the virus? No one should have to decide such a thing. Everyone who applies needs help, and we want to help everyone,” says Aryeh Lurie, founder and director of Yad Ezra V’Shulamit.

With spirits so low this year, many are feeling hopeless and helpless. We, as a community and as part of humanity at large, have the power and responsibility to give to those who can no longer provide for themselves. We have the power to turn around the struggles of thousands of families across Israel, restoring their joy and creating hope for the New Year.

The sound of the ram’s horn blown throughout the streets of Israel during the Jewish New Year serves as a reminder to reflect on our deeds, to practice introspection, and to examine how we can be better givers. How much do we have already? How little do others have? There has never been a better time to give generously to those in need.

“I turn to my brothers and sisters to ask for help in feeding Israel’s poor for the holidays. If everyone gives something, we will be able to feed everyone in need,” says Lurie.

Visit www.yadezra.net to donate now.

May you have a sweet and happy New Year!