No matter who you are or where in the world you live, one thing is clear: This year’s Pesach is unique.
In typical years, Jews from around the world fly in to Israel to spend the holiday in the Holy Land. Conversely, young Anglos living in Israel fly home in droves to spend the holiday with family. Now thanks to the deadly virus COVID-19, the airports are closed, and so are all non-essential businesses. What was once the most traditionally social gathering of the year, the Pesach seder, is now a quiet affair. Many will be ‘making Pesach’ for the first time, and are busily preparing.
The social restrictions enforced to prevent the virus’s spread and the consequential economic crash has had a particularly devastating impact on Israel’s poor. Unemployment rates are soaring, and to add insult to injury, the most expensive holiday of the year comes in just one week.
Many families in Israel are at a loss as to how to pay their rent and tuition fees when they have lost their income. With just days remaining until the holiday, they have been unable to shop for supplies. Many cannot even afford meat for seder night.
Kupat Ha’Ir’s Kimcha Depischa campaign is a time-honored tradition which helps provide these families with the essentials they need: chickens, potatoes, plastic goods, and more. This has always been necessary but this year it is more desperately needed than ever.
Donors to the fund receive a blessing from Rav Chaim Kanievsky to “merit celebrating Pesach with abundance and ease in ruchniyus and gashmiyus.” An ‘easy Pesach’ is what many of us need most now, juggling children at home amid our own preparations.
There is perhaps no better way to take one’s mind off of the global crisis and one’s own struggles than to focus instead on healing the suffering of others. In one week, we will all sit, isolated with our immediate family, in small Pesach seders. The pleasure of hosting remains impossible. Those who donate here, however, can rest assured that somewhere, on the other side of the world, a poor child is eating a delicious meal thanks to them.