More than 100,000 boxes of matzah and 75,000 bottles of grape juice will be distributed this week as part of holiday food packages for Jews in the former Soviet Union (FSU).
The packages will be delivered in a special distribution campaign for the Passover holiday with the assistance of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), under the leadership of Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and in cooperation with the Federation of Jewish Communities of the CIS, headed by Lev Leviev.
One of the matzah shipments arrived in Odessa last week from Ukraine, and was added to the selection of local products in the special food packages for the Jewish community. Each package include products worth $80 (280 NIS), about 30 percent of average local wages. Without these packages, Jews struggling financially would not be able to celebrate Passover properly.
The aid packages have been put together by the IFCJ for more than 10 years and are delivered to many countries, including Ukraine, Russia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Belarus. The purchase of the local products, packaging and distribution of the packages are supervised by local Chabad emissaries, who know the local communities and their financial requirements.
“The food parcels distributed to the Jews of Ukraine with the help of the IFCJ are very much needed in our present situation,” noted Rabbi Pinchas Vishtaki, a rabbi and Chabad emissary from Donetsk. “These packages come to the needy Jewish residents, some of whom live in battle zones, as well as to those who have lost their homes and now live as refugees. Without these packages, the Jews in Ukraine would celebrate the holiday without observing the mitzvah of eating h and without drinking four cups of wine. We are so grateful to Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, who works day and night to help the Jewish community in Ukraine.”
Eckstein, president of the International IFCJ, said: “One of the most beautiful customs of the holiday is the custom of the kimcha depischah (special food drive for the purpose of the Passover holiday). The Passover Haggadah commands us to ensure that everyone who is needy will be able to eat and celebrate Passover properly. We are proud to be able to help Jewish communities in crisis and distress all over the world.”