May 18, 2024
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May 18, 2024
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As Pesach approaches, many of us will be frantically cleaning our homes, making menus (or digging up ones from years past) and shopping for an expansive list of groceries; others amongst us have made flight arrangements to join family in other states, or are eagerly anticipating creating family memories at a stress-free Pesach program. I have personally been blessed with the opportunity to do all of the above at one time or another. This year, I look forward to flying to my parents’ home for the first days and then returning to New Jersey during Chol Hamoed to join my in-laws and family at a Pesach program.

As much as I like to believe that I think about others and do my share of Hachnasas Orchim and charity, I recently became aware of a segment of our global community that I have never considered outside of my daled amos; and I am humbled and gratified to know that there is an amazing group of people who have. Yad Ezrah has been creating emotionally supportive and engaging top notch Pesach programs in Kfar Pines, Israel, for widows and orphans for the past 17 years.

One mother, who spent four Pesachs with the Kfar Pines family, said this: “When you first come to such a place, you have mixed feelings: What am I doing here, was this a good idea? But these mixed feelings are overcome by the unified (supportive?) atmosphere there. The whole time is filled with ongoing activities, entertainment and refreshments for the kids and for the widows. Instead of being alone, we made friends that we keep in touch with. Our kids make friends. We get the feeling: I am not alone!!! We are not alone!!!”

Another mother, who lost her husband while pregnant with their seventh child, shared this: “From the moment I arrived at Kfar Pines I felt as if I was in another place. Pretty, calm… the pain and despair were pushed aside, and a tremendous relief filled my heart. The atmosphere was so pleasant and relaxed, and the fact that I was among other families that were dealing with similar situations also gave me an embracing feeling. When it came time to leave, it was hard to return to reality. However, I felt strengthened physically, emotionally and spiritually, and I came back home with renewed energy. My children and I have already started counting the days until next Pesach. The children talk about their experience throughout the whole year, they ask to see the videos and when Pesach is coming so we can go back to Kfar Pines.

Tragically, since October 7, many new families have become eligible to join the Kfar Pines family for Pesach. Here are the stories of a few families who will be joining Kfar Pines for the first time this year:

Like many, Naomi’s husband had no idea of the magnitude of the terrorist attacks when he rushed to help others on the morning of October 7. As a medic and ambulance driver, he did not hesitate to leave his wife and two young children safely at home so he could help others in need. Tragically, he was murdered by terrorists at point-blank range in his ambulance that day. This year, Naomi will spend her first Pesach as a widow and her young children will be without their Abba at the head of the table leading the Pesach seder.

Sara’s husband learned full-time until he joined the army technology department. On October 7, the community alarm began sounding at 6 a.m. Even though he was a technician and not a soldier, Sara’s husband was called by his commander to immediately come to the army base. When he arrived, he and many others were ambushed and murdered by terrorists. He left behind his wife and five children, ages 1 1/2 to 14.

Three generations were living under one roof in Netivot last Simchas Torah. When a missile hit her parents’ home, Chana’s world was shattered before her eyes with the deaths of her father, her husband and her 12-year-old son. Heartbreakingly, Chana and her mother both became widows that day. Her five remaining children lost their brother, their father and their grandfather. These and many other widows and orphans will soon be commemorating their first Pesach alone, still reeling from their recent grief, without husband and father to share the joys and the burdens of the upcoming chag. Yad Ezrah moves mountains to lighten their load.

Yad Ezrah, the brainchild and life work of the late tzaddik, Rabbi Asher Freund, anticipates hosting 100 widows and their families (approximately 600 people)this year. The cost per person is $1200. They still need to raise funds and I hope you can help.

If it wasn’t for Yad Ezrah, these families would be left alone this Passover. So, each time you swipe or tap your credit card between now and April 22, please think of them. If you haven’t given all your maaser money yet or can otherwise share in this special Pesach opportunity, Yad Ezrah is still seeking to raise approximately $275,000 to enable them to host widows and orphans for a much needed emotional and physical respite. The donation information is below:

Make checks out to:

U.S. Friends of Yad Ezrah

c/o Dr. Harold Weissman

38 Hilltop Place

Monsey, New York 10952

U.S. Tax ID No. 13-3887-075


To send a WIRE:

Bank: Citibank N.A

Branch: 644

Account: U.S Friends of Yad Ezrah Inc.

Account Number: 9947156818

ABA: 021000089

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