April 17, 2024
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Project Ezrah Continues to Help Amid Exponential Increase in Need

(Courtesy of Project Ezrah) Over the last 22 years Project Ezrah has been the central address in Bergen County for families facing struggles ranging from small, day-to-day concerns to all-encompassing crises. Working in partnership with all local chesed organizations and rabbanim, Project Ezrah has a true finger on the pulse of the significant, but often overlooked, needs within the community. These needs are staggering. Project Ezrah saw a 140% increase in the number of families applying for financial support in 2023 compared to 2022. In this same amount of time, direct financial assistance Project Ezrah provides has increased over 40%. This data demonstrates the significant assistance needed in our community.

“It is urgent to raise awareness of the intense spike in need and turn that awareness into support. While Project Ezrah has never needed to turn a family in need away due to a lack of resources, we need the community to come together now to make sure we can continue to keep up with the accelerated demand,” said Rachel Krich, executive director of Project Ezrah.

Hundreds of families receive some type of support from Project Ezrah. Whether it is coaching and guidance for an individual taking the next step in their career, to providing broader financial support and guidance for monthly expenses or the like, Project Ezrah’s reach is far. They help provide families with things that so many in our community take for granted: a dignified Pesach, day camp for their children, new clothing for Yom Tov, school supplies etc.

At the Project Ezrah dinner this past December 2, honoree Rabbi Elliot Schrier made the following comment during his speech:

“I can tell you that I live in a community where it is intuitively and widely understood that part of being a member of Am Yisrael, part of being a member of a Kehillah Kedoshah, is caring for others in moments of need. When you live in a Jewish community you support the mikvah, because every Jewish community needs a mikvah. When you live in a Jewish community you support the eruv, because every Jewish community needs an eruv. And when you live in Bergen County, you support Project Ezrah. Because every Jewish community needs a Project Ezrah.”

He went on to discuss the importance of maintaining community support for Project Ezrah even during such trying times for the global Jewish community. Many people feel conflicted about where our communal resources should go during this crisis in Eretz Yisrael. “It’s not an easy question to answer,” he said. Rabbi Schrier went on to say:

“Part of the answer is also recognizing that we can’t be a Jewish community that supports Israel if we are not a true Jewish community in the first place. I have not seen anyone suggest that we should stop supporting the eruv because of the war in Eretz Yisrael. I have not seen anyone suggest that we should stop supporting the mikvah because of the war in Eretz Yisrael. And if we are unwilling to let our eruv fall into disrepair, if we are unwilling to let our mikvahs run dry, then we must be willing to support Project Ezrah as well. Without it, we’ve lost our most basic sense of who we are.”

Community members can help make sure Project Ezrah is always able to support their neighbors in many ways. One highlighted message from the dinner was about the incredible impact of recurring donations.

During the program, honoree Yahoo Rabin said, “I like to start my week with a mitzvah,” referring to how he starts every week with an online donation to Project Ezrah, emphasizing what an easy way it is to help a neighbor in need and make an impact.

Setting up a recurring donation is easy and makes a tremendous impact. Be it $18, $180, $1800 or any amount combined with others weaves a true safety net for our community.

Please consider partnering with Project Ezrah and all of your neighbors that we work with. To set up a recurring or one-time donation go to Ezrah.org/donate. With any questions, please reach out to [email protected].

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