The current Erev Pesach season has been far from anything that we’ve ever seen before. With the novel Coronavirus sweeping through our communities, millions of lives have become disrupted by the confusion, anxiety, and quarantine.
In the streets of Eretz Yisrael, the crisis has brought severe economic distress in its wake. Breadwinners have lost their means of livelihood, and the lack of Parnassah has further heightened the rampant starvation across the country.
The universal question for many was how? How would Pesach come into play, when there was no food to be brought on the table. How would the Yom Tov be the same, when Seders could not be set and families would not be fed?
Driving Pesach into their Homes
Rabbi Ephraim Stern, the founder of Oneg Shabbos V’Yom Tov set out to answer those questions. A leading figure in providing food and sustenance to those in need, Rabbi Ephraim runs weekly Erev Shabbos Chalikahs, and large Yom Tov K’imcha D’Pischa campaigns for more than 15,000 Jewish families.
This time, Rabbi Ephraim coordinated with the Ministry of Health and the Israel Police Department, in order to gain the necessary clearance for a Kimcha D’Pischa to take place. Adhering to the strict guidelines of social distancing and laws, the organization came up with an elaborate drive-thru system that would allow each recipient to receive their share from the safety of their vehicles.
Booking a massive parking lot in the Malcha neighborhood of Jerusalem, the location will be able to accommodate the vast amounts of people that are expected to arrive. With several entry points and organized signage, the strategically-developed system will allow the Chalikah to run as smoothly as possible.
Division is pertinent when seeking to stop the spread. Therefore, each vehicle will be allowed to have only two passengers (including the driver) and up to 3 boxes will be distributed per family.
As the car will move down the assembly line, protected and sanitized workers will be distributing food and drinks from their various different pick-up points. Strictly adhering to the mandated guidelines, the system will enable thousands to efficiently pick up their share, and bring Pesach into their homes.
Corona can’t defeat us.
From across the entire Eretz Yisrael, Oneg Shabbos V’Yom Tov will be the only Erev Pesach Chalikah, allowed to take place this year.
Taking into consideration the ongoing economic crisis, as well as the rise of poverty that it has incurred, the organization is projecting thousands more than their yearly 15,000 recipients.
Hundreds of volunteers have started setting up the drive-thru system, and trucks and vendors have already been delivering countless pallets of high-quality Matzos, grape juice, vegetables, beef, and fish.
Abiding to the rules of safety, families will have their Seders back and a sense of royalty will be restored.
A Pledge of Honor
At first, the regular families that rely on Oneg’s largesse, were devastated to think that Chalikah would not be taking place this year. “I couldn’t sleep for days.” Shalom D. a father of 11 said. “All I kept thinking was how on earth I was going to bring food to our table this Yom Tov.”
“When we found out that Rabbi Ephraim was running his Chalikah this year,” another grateful parent expressed, “There was such a Simchah in my home, I will never forget the sight of my family dancing around the table, and thanking Hashem for the miracle.”
Indeed, with his promise remaining strong, Rabbi Ephraim Stern and his team of volunteers will be redefining the meaning of “Yetzei V’Yeichal” for all.
“I will not let any child, man, or woman go hungry. This is a time of royalty, a time of feasting, a time of celebration. I hope that this Chalikah will combat the Atzvus and the disastrous effects of the pandemic, and in turn bring the true beauty and joy of Pesach into every Yiddishe home.”-Rabbi Ephraim Stern
To donate your share and feed a family in Eretz Yisroel, please go to donateabox.org