Every year at Purim, The Adams Street Shul joins with fifty-five Boston-area congregations, day schools, and college Hillels to aid needy people through Yad Chessed, a unique charity that provides a safety net for individuals and families in severe economic distress.
Last year, Yad Chessed distributed $92,925 in food assistance through its community-wide Purim program, which builds on the ancient Jewish practice of giving matanot l'evyonim ("gifts to the poor"), as the Book of Esther enjoins us to do on Purim day.
The Shul will collect funds for this purpose at our megillah reading on Saturday evening, February 23. Please bring your check payable to Yad Chessed with you on Purim night, or drop it off in advance at the synagogue office, or click to make a Matanot L'evyonim Donation online right now.
We will tally the collection and inform Yad Chessed of the amount the next morning, so that all of the funds can be distributed on Purim day itself. The need is critical, and each of us can help!
Here are details about the Purim mitzvah of Matanot L'evyonim and about how our Communitywide Matanot Levyonim Program works:
At the end of the Book of Esther (Megilat Esther), when the Jewish community had successfully defended itself against its adversaries we read:
...observe the fourteenth and fifteenth days of Adar, every year – the same days on which the Jews enjoyed relief from their foes and the same month which had been transformed for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy ... observe them as days of feasting and merry making, and as an occasion for sending presents to the poor (Esther 9:20-23)
The Yad Chessed matanot l'evyonim ("gifts to the poor") program allows individuals to fulfill this ancient practice of giving gifts to the poor on Purimday itself. Because many of us don't know any needy people, and even if we did, it would be hard to reach them on Purim day, Yad Chessed has developed a unique communitywide program in support of this custom.
In 2012, fifty-five Boston-area synagogues, minyanim, day schools, and college Hillels contributed an amazing total of $82,446. Because of discounts we receive, Yad Chessed was able to distribute $92,925 in food vouchers to 493 local families.
In keeping with Jewish law all funds collected for matanot l'evyonim are distributed on Purim day.
How this works
- Funds are collected at Megillah-reading on Purim evening or Purim morning at participating congregations and schools. Later that night or Purim morning, the organizations tally their collections and call Yad Chessed with the totals. Individuals can also donate online as long as they complete their transactions by 11:00 a.m. Purim day.
- Yad Chessed gives out vouchers (with no dollar amount) to needy families in advanceof Purim. These vouchers can be used only starting at noon on Purim day. Once Yad Chessed receives all of the calls on Purim morning and determines the total amount collected, Yad Chessed calls the stores where the vouchers can be used and tells them how much each voucher is worth.
For more information, contact Aryeh Cheses, .
Click here to Make a Matanot L'evyonim Donation online right now.