This article was first published here on May 3rd 2018.
'Twas the night before the
Passover humanitarian aid distribution day, a decade ago, when I found
myself in a predicament: we had not had sufficient manpower to prepare
nearly enough food baskets for the number of families that were coming the
next day! We had packed 160, and we needed 120 more. Our humanitarian aid
center contained the items but we had not had enough "hands" to accomplish
So I found myself packing 120 baskets all by myself until midnight while
trying to not leave out any item from any basket. Even though it was
springtime, I remember sweating profusely. It was a big relief to finish,
and I promised myself that this would not happen again.
Avi Tekle Leader of Tents of Mercy Congregation
Every year since then we have continued to diligently reach out to nearby
communities at Passover, but we have also learned to work equally hard at
mobilizing people to help with the packing. As they come and volunteer,
added value is gained. More and more individuals get to experience the pure
joy of simply serving. This year both the packing and the distribution
reached new heights. We had prepared to give aid to 800 needy families
initially, which grew to 890. On the packing end, we had requests from
different groups both local and international, to come and partner with us
in Many hands - young adults and soldiers from our community, workers
from the local municipality welfare office, as well as believing friends
from Ireland and Maine (USA) - finished the packing very successfully. In
addition to those that physically did the packing, many open hands were
extended to this same outreach effort symbolically, spiritually and
financially - from Taiwan, Kenya, USA, Japan, Canada and around the world.
All these hands were joined together in successfully touching many
hundreds of families all over our Krayot Haifa Bay region, and we want to
send out a big thanks to you all!
"Then he said to them, 'Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet,
and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared. For this day is
holy to the Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your
strength'" (Nehemiah 8:10).
What a joy to come together as one body of messiah to reach our people here
in the land with the message of hope and of God's redemption, at
Counting and Harvest
Now that Passover is finished, we are counting the 50 days leading up to
the harvest holy day of Pentecost/Shavuot. Seeds have been sown, and we are
looking forward expectantly toward the harvest to see what God will bring
forth in the coming days.
Contents of Passover aid basket
Recipients of aid baskets
congregational Passover Meal
The joy of serving
Lines and Numbers in Israel
In the early years of humanitarian aid distribution, people from
the neighborhood simply came, stood in line and took baskets.
However, as some of you who have visited Israel may have noticed,
standing in line here is a rather fluid thing. It is viewed
culturally as just a suggestion. So, in recent years, many places
around the country (such as banks, post offices etc.) have
implemented order and fairness by having each person take a number
and wait to be called. We also had to deal with this kind of lack
of order, and we also have implemented the number system with our
orange "ticket" number dispenser.
to support the work and vision of Ohalei Rachamim.
There have been comments to this article ...
9:18pm 03May18, Rose Rapp: I just read your article about Passover and I said to Craig,
"Wouldn't it be awesome to go help pack all those baskets?" and
before I could say my next thought Craig said, "Yes, but to help
serve. To see their faces would be great." My husband took my
next thought right out of my head! My heart desires to be back in
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