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“From grief to joy & from mourning to a festive day…”

Perfect Megilla phrasing applies to our Matanot L’evyonim campaign: replacing sadness with celebration

Sunday, March 03, 2024

The day after Tu B’shvat is always the kickoff to a season of stress for Miriam B. That’s when Israeli stores start to bring out their Purim merchandise. With each day that passes in the lead up to the holiday, the vibrant displays grow larger, with ever expanding choices of costumes, noisemakers, hamantaschen and other assorted holiday-themed items spilling out into the aisles and exhibited on sidewalks outside.

Anxiety for Purim

Like so many other parents of needy families, the displays cause her anxiety. They taunt her, teasingly reminding her of her inability to provide for her family on Purim. Miriam knows that her children will not be among those who will pick out new sparkly costumes or choose colorfully wrapped mishlochei manot for their friends this year. She worries about how to afford a few special items for a seuda, maybe some chicken or for a real treat, some meat. She worries about how to create a fun, festive environment at home, one that still “feels” like Purim despite her inability to provide very much. 

A single mother of 5, earning a cashier’s salary in Jerusalem (and working at odd jobs when she can find them), every shekel must be accounted for if there is going to be food on Miriam’s table every day. The climbing bimonthly electric bill always looms over her, not to mention the dental bills, tutor’s fees, costs of clothes and shoes (though she usually buys those second hand) and all the other necessities for her family. Miriam’s oldest son will be a bar mitzvah after Lag B’omer. She can’t even think about that yet.
Right now her thoughts are focused on Purim:

Small things that are big for a child

“For us, Purim time is actually really, really hard. The sights and sounds of ‘marbim b’simcha’ are all around and of course, my kids notice. They want to do everything their friends are doing- like exchanging pretty packages for mishlochei manot, for example. It seems like a small thing but it's big for a child. You’d be surprised at how much pressure it puts on them, how embarrassing it is when friends at school are trading beautiful items and my kids give a couple of little snacks. I do my best but I have to be realistic-I just can’t afford to send them with more than that. Another "small thing" that is big for children are the excited conversations revolving around new costumes-conversations that they can listen in on but never participate in.

Purim seudas -no different from a weekday meal

And then there are the larger things like the Purim seuda - my kids hear descriptions of big get togethers with extended family and friends and fancy foods and desserts. I wish I could make that for them. But they know that ours will be something small and basic. Their father is not in contact so it's just the six of us and a meal that, honestly, won't be very different from what we eat on a regular weeknight. 

Purim is a beautiful, kadosh yom tov with so much meaning, and thank G-d we will hear the megilla just like everybody else. But it’s the compilation of all these things that make Purim really feel like a chag, like a celebration. So when some of them are missing because I can’t provide, it takes away. My older kids see why it’s hard. 
They notice my worry over prices at the store, they see me struggling, often putting things back on the shelf because I don't have the money. But my younger ones don’t understand why I’m always saying 'no'."

Matanot L'evyonim will change Purim for the needy

American Friends of Yad Eliezer/B'ezri’s annual Matanot L’evyonim campaign aims “to v’nahafoch hu” and help parents like Miriam say “yes” for Purim instead of her usual “no”.
We plan to allocate support to more than 5,000 homes including 1000 families of grushot and other needy households.
The 900 Almanos in our Keren will be receiving extra support for Purim, too. 

Donations will help them fulfill their Purim mitzvot with dignity, enabling parents and children to sit down to a full, festive seuda table. And just as 14/15 Adar was נֶהְפַּ֨ךְ לָהֶ֤ם מִיָּגוֹן֙ לְשִׂמְחָ֔ה וּמֵאֵ֖בֶל לְי֣וֹם ט֑וֹב, (“reversed from grief to joy, and mourning to a festive day”) the atmosphere in their homes will be transformed from one of shame and disappointment to simcha as they celebrate Purim like the yom tov it is. Donors' tzedaka, low overhead, thorough planning and effective procedures are what make us one of the widest reaching Jewish charities in Israel, helping families throughout the country.

With costs of living only rising, our help is desperately needed.
Please join us as we once again make a transformation for needy families this Purim!


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