As Passover quickly approaches, many of us are consumed with thoughts of the food we need to purchase, the meals we need to prepare and the additional carbs we'll be consuming for the next week. How fortunate that, for so many of us, these are the most significant challenges we face. Not all of our Jewish brothers and sisters are so fortunate - and this is why we take purposeful measures to ensure that Jews across the globe have access to the food and services they need to survive.
Marina Bolshova lives in Novosibirsk, Siberia, in southern Russia. For Marina and her family, there is no easy answer to the question "Why is this night different from all other nights?" For them, every day presents the same level of difficulty. She and her husband are having trouble finding work that provides enough money to support their family. They often must choose between food and medicine, winter coats or snow boots. The Bolshova family is one among many who face economic and food challenges.
Through our partnership with the Joint Distribution Committee, the Federation is on the ground in Siberia and many other locations in the Former Soviet Union, delivering food, medicine and a warm hand of friendship to hundreds of struggling Jewish families. When you support the Federation's Annual Campaign, you give the Bolshovas and their children - and many other families in the FSU - a seat at the table this Passover. They receive winter relief that keeps them warm, holiday packages that keep them connected to our global Jewish community, and visits from JDC social workers to remind them they are not alone.
Siberia isn't the only place where Jews face economic and social challenges. In our own community, families are also making hard choices between food and medicine. And just as JDC is on the ground in Siberia, our partner Jewish Family Services is on the ground in Greater Hartford. For example, through the wonderful work of the Anja Rosenberg Kosher Food Pantry, nearly 700 families regularly receive food and support.
That's the good news. The more troubling news is that local demand for food and basic supplies is increasing. JFS distributes over 90,000 pounds of food, toiletries and cleaning supplies each year - and the need is growing. Here in the Community Services Building we're providing additional space to accommodate the pantry, but contributions are always needed. This year, the JFS Passover food appeal will directly help lower-income clients who have difficulty affording kosher for Passover foods.
There is no better expression of our community's Jewish values than the work we do to fight hunger. Anja and Gene Rosenberg decided that hunger in any form and for anyone must not be tolerated, and they decided to act locally. Through the Rosenbergs' generosity, the important work that JFS does every day, and the local and international support you provide through Federation, we demonstrate our commitment to care for the most vulnerable - both in Greater Hartford and around the world.
Shabbat Shalom, and Chag Sameach.
President and CEO
Photo courtesy of JDC