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A Rosh HaShana reality check - What is this all about anyways?

by Shalvi Waldman

0 Comments | Tuesday, September 08, 2015 under Shabbat Chicken, Emergency Fund, Holiday Fund

Rosh HaShana is nearly here. I'm stressing about how I'm going to do all of the shopping and cooking. Since the holiday starts on Sunday night I need to have much of the cooking done before Shabbos, and the kids will be home on Sunday... There's a lot to do, so I'm trying to be organized. I've got my shopping lists, my cooking schedule and my menu plan all lined up. Today I went to the market, cooked and baked, and had to rearrange my freezer to make room for everything. As I moved various frozen goods I contemplated the benefits of apple crumble over apple pie.
 
Then I got a reality check.
 
I sat down to check my email and saw on a neighborhood list-serve that someone was collecting money for a family's electric bill so that their electricity will not be cut off before Rosh HaShana.
 
I stepped outside and overheard a conversation: one neighbor noticed that the other neighbor was giving away a crib and asked if she could have it. Her two year old has been sleeping on a blanket folded on the floor since he was born.
 
Then I had a conversation with Chaya. She told me that she is feeling a little better since she started taking iron and drinking more water. Her diet is still not great because there is rarely food at home, but she's feeling better than when we last spoke. My heart sunk as I imagined the stress of raising a family and not having enough nourishment. Trying to keep my voice casual I asked her if she had what she needs for the holiday. She told me that she expected to receive a box of dry goods from social services, but she didn't know when it would come or what it would contain.
 
My freezer is full. Chaya's fridge is unplugged.
 
Rosh HaShana is a few days away. Aside from all of my obsessive balabusta thoughts, Teshuva, Tefilla and Tzedaka are on my mind. My prayers are on my lips, my hopes for change are in my heart. And my pen is on my check. These women are my neighbors, my friends, my sisters in raising the next Jewish generation.
 
I want to help, but how can I know that the small donation that I am capable of will have the maximum impact?
 
The heartbreaking fact is that there are tens of thousands of families like Chaya's living in Israel. There are also thousands of Yad Eliezer volunteers spread throughout Israel, in virtually all of the poor neighborhoods throughout the country. Our network of volunteers helps us to reach out and help the poorest families in each community. Our arrangements with wholesalers, our large bulk purchases, and our connections with large supermarket chains help us to make each dollar worth more than if it had been given to the poor families directly. We particularly try to help families that fall under the radar and don't receive help from other sources, such as divorced mothers who are not eligible for the same benefits as widows, and families dealing with a medical crisis who are too overwhelmed to reach out and ask for help. This year we are also reaching out to IDF soldiers who are living below the poverty line.
 
There is a lot of poverty. And a lot of heartbreak. But with your help, this Rosh HaShana there will also be a lot of joy and celebration. It's not too late to transform someone's holiday experience.
 
Please join me and donate now. 

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