Project Ezra: A Letter from Rabbi Arnowitz

Dear WJC Family,

“Kol dichfin yeitei v’yeichol—let all who are hungry, come and eat.”

This famous phrase from the Ha Lachma Anya section of the Hagadah has become more than a symbolic theme of Passover; it has become a distinctive value of the Jewish people.

Our Westchester Jewish Center family has expressed this value with more than great kiddushes after services (remember those?). For more than two decades, we have been committed to Project Ezra—an amazing organization that depends upon food and funds from synagogues to provide a full box of kosher-for-Passover staples to their approximately 300 elderly, frail, and homebound clients on the Lower East Side.

In years past, we would provide the most hard-to-get Passover foods—as well as funds—to help make the boxes, and we would join the crew of volunteers to hand­ deliver them. All that changed last year when boxes could no longer be assembled or delivered due to current health and safety protocols. Project Ezra, however, found an alternative way to help—instead of food boxes, Project Ezra sent funds directly to their clients. The effort was very successful; the seniors were able to meet their Passover food needs.

At WJC, we are proud to be part of that effort. Last Passover, WJC provided over $3,000 in donations to Project Ezra, an increase over previous years.

In 2021, Ezra once again cannot distribute boxes of food. The Ezra budget is totally funded by donations and grants and has been impacted by the pandemic. Please join us as we participate in this significant mitzvah; our donations will enable Project Ezra to provide many elders with Passover foods.

Our goal this year is to meet or exceed our 2020 Passover donations for Project Ezra, as the need is greater than ever. All checks must be made out ONLY to “Project Ezra” and received at WJC by March 12, Attention: SOJAC. The Social Justice Action Committee will send the checks to Project Ezra in time to issue funds to the seniors for Passover. (If you prefer to mail a check directly to Project Ezra, please mark the memo “Passover­WJC member” and mail to: Project Ezra/ 387 Grand Street- Ground Floor/ NY, NY 10002/ Attn. Gerry. The Project Ezra collection ends March 12.)

The Ha Lachma Anya section concludes, “Now we are here, next year we will be in the Promised Land.” Indeed, may we speedily return to days of public health, personal connection and promise, days when no senior will experience food insecurity on Passover or any day-and until then, let us know we have done everything we can to ensure that this Passover fewer of our treasured seniors will know hunger.

Wishing you a meaningful feast of freedom, 

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