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Keeping Passover Amid a Modern Plague

ICEJ meeting dual challenges of Passover and Corona crisis

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Posted on: 
13 Apr 2020
Keeping Passover Amid a Modern Plague

As the Passover week nears an end, we want to say a big “Thank You” to everyone who has stood with the ICEJ as we have reached out to help so many in Israel impacted by the Coronavirus during this truly unique holiday season.

This was a most difficult Passover in Israel, as life and work were totally disrupted by the Corona health crisis. The elderly could not leave their homes. Unemployment in Israel suddenly jumped to over 25 percent. In Ashdod alone, over half the families applied to city social workers for Passover assistance.

As dozens of urgent requests for help came flooding into our offices from across Israel, our staff rose to the occasion, Christians from around the world responded to the need, and we have been able to help thousands of Holocaust survivors, other elderly citizens, new immigrants, needy families and many others all around Israel desperately in need of assistance this Passover season.

So thank you so much for your support, and bless you for showing that you care when our Israeli friends needed us the most!

Here is a sampling of all we have been able to accomplish together to make the Passover season brighter for thousands of individuals and families under added distress due to the Corona crisis. As you can see, we have been aiding Holocaust survivors and other elderly Israelis, new immigrants and children, along with emergency relief teams and community workers in need of special medical equipment to stay on the job.



Care for Elderly and Holocaust Survivors

The ICEJ team at our Haifa Home for Holocaust Survivors have been designated the primary caregivers for the 75 residents confined to their apartments during the duration of the current Corona crisis. This includes delivering meals, giving them medical checkups, and paying daily visits to break their sense of isolation. The Christian volunteers under the direction of veteran ICEJ staffers Yudit and Will Setz also have helped pack and deliver meals to hundreds of other Holocaust survivors and senior citizens all around Haifa.

The ICEJ Home Care team in Jerusalem also has packed and delivered food and gift packages for the patients under the care of our head nurse Corrie van Maanen.

ICEJ staff also have volunteered with a Jerusalem soup kitchen to pack and deliver hundreds of hot meals to elderly residents of the city.


Passover Assistance

The ICEJ began its annual Passover holiday distributions this week by delivering Pessach packages for dozens of needy families in Netanya. The gift baskets included food vouchers for the holiday season, along with kitchenware, pans and towels.

The ICEJ also is funding the distribution of Passover gift boxes, including food and hygienic products, as well as daily meals to hundreds of elderly and needy Soviet Jewish immigrants, including many Holocaust survivors, who live in the Jerusalem suburbs of Pisgat Ze’ev and Maale Adumim.

Meantime, we normally sponsor community Passover seders for hundreds of newly-arrived Jewish immigrants, but since large gatherings are not allowed right now, the ICEJ will be providing holiday assistance to more individual immigrant families this year. This includes 269 Ethiopian newcomers who will be celebrating their first Passover in the Land of Israel. We also are assisting these families with extra absorption assistance while they are in a mandated two-week quarantine.

Elsewhere, we are working with the Jewish Agency to assist 50 other newly-arrived families from other countries who made the trip to Israel despite the Corona threat and are now in quarantine. This extra absorption aid includes vouchers to buy food and other basics as they start a new life in Israel under difficult circumstances.

In addition, ICEJ funds will make it possible for the Jewish Agency to run day camps for children of new immigrant families in quarantine. This project includes providing games and toys for the kids to play at home or in small supervised groups. Finally, the ICEJ will furnish games, art supplies and help with online learning for 95 at-risk youths in a special children’s home during the Passover season.


Emergency workers

For families living in southern Israel under the constant threat of rockets from Gaza, life has become even harder due to the threat of COVID-19. The ICEJ has provided local medical and emergency teams there with sterile gloves, filtration masks, protective clothing and other gear to allow them to continue making home visits to treat and care for children traumatized by years of rocket fire. They are arranging food and medicine to those in isolation or unable to shop, while also working with Magen David Adom to administer blood tests for Coronavirus.

Meantime, first responders in the Gaza border area have repurposed special ATV firefighting equipment recently donated by the ICEJ to clean and sanitize public areas, including playgrounds, schools and parks.


ICEJ Branches worldwide battling Coronavirus

Also worth noting, several ICEJ national branches worldwide are working in their own nations in the battle against the Coronavirus.

In Russia, our St. Petersburg office purchased 1,000 face masks and 2,000 pairs of medical gloves for use by volunteers delivering daily meals to thousands of Holocaust survivors and other elderly Jews confined to their homes by the virus threat.

In Liberia, ICEJ national director John Aaron Wright, Sr. and his nationwide network of pro-Israel Christian volunteers were tasked by the Monrovia government with leading the national effort to educate the public about the Coronavirus threat.

And in Italy, ICEJ national director Tony Rozzini – who lives in the heart of the hardest hit region of Lombardy – had a chance to go on national radio to urge repentance, especially for the mistreatment of Jews during the Fascist period.

Please give to our ‘Israel in Crisis’ fund to assist with these urgent aid projects!


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