Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rosh Hashana and Poverty


Rosh Hashana is starting next week and the holiday will cost us lots of money. Not everyone is being invited and most Jews are going to prepare their own food for the Chag (holiday, yom tov). 

Once a week I am doing my shopping. Most groceries at the Shuk (market) but also many things from "Shufersal", a known Israeli supermarket chain. Not very cheap but cheaper than the AM:PM (7 11) around the corner. However, last Thursday, I started askeing myself how families are able to afford the upcoming Chag. 

A while ago I made advertising and wrote about a Chesed institution in Mea Shearim called "Linat HaChesed". But not only half of Mea Shearim families depend on Chesed, you will find many more signs and posters in Bnei Brak. 

Bnei Brak is the poorest city in Israel and countless haredi families depend on religious organizations providing food for Shabbat. Supermarkets and vendors on the local markets just wait for a holiday to come up and thus raise the prices. The line - ups in front of Chesed organization branches are getting longer and longer. Not only religious Jews but thousands of seculars want to celebrate the holiday but cannot afford it. Who can pay for all that wine, the Simanim for the Seder and the honey. Even the simplest honey is expensive. 

Furthermore, in Israel, Rosh Hashana has become the day of presents. People don't want to show up anymore without bringing a present. I don't care about any presents but think that the holiday is about much much more than buying an expensive gift for no reason. 

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