Rubin Margules, President of the Brooklyn Region of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) recently completed the group’s Eighth Annual Mishloach Manot Project for Israeli soldiers. This year over 2,500 Mishloach Manot were personally distributed to soldiers at Army bases throughout Israel. Each Mishloach Manot was accompanied by a personal letter from a Yeshiva student or donor “expressing the writer’s concern and support of these young soldiers and the dangerous jobs they are performing to insure the safety of Eretz Yisroel,” said Mr. Margules. This year, among the participating schools helping to raise money and write letters were: Shulamith School, Yeshiva of South Shore, Magen David High School, Yeshiva High School for Girls Central, Yeshiva of Manhattan Beach, Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School, and Kinneret Day School.
The soldiers were overwhelmed in their appreciation that Jews from New York took the time to remember them. “It brought the Purim spirit to soldiers and created a bond between us, demonstrating the tangible feeling and connection between Jews. These soldiers were fighting not only for the Jews of Israel but for all Jews the world over,” said Mr. Margules.
This year, thanks to Col. (Res.) Moshe Biton, 200 Mishloach Manot were delivered to the students at the Yeshiva Mercaz Ha Rav Cook. We had the privilege to meet the Rav and the young man who shot the terrorist. Another 150 Mishloach Manot were brought to patients at Tel Hashomer Hospital.
In addition, the Brooklyn Region of the ZOA wanted to do “something special for Sderot” said Margules, and in response to requests from Alon Davidi and Motti Itzaak, Sderot town leaders, sponsored the town’s Purim party. Over a thousand people attended, including hundreds of children. A full buffet plus band, singing, balloons, jugglers and story telling highlighted a festive Purim party that brought Semeach to a town in which “joy” is in short supply. The party was featured on Channel 10 in Israel.
Together with Assemblyman Dov Hikind, the ZOA arranged for the distribution of 5,000 Mishloach Manot to nearly all the 5,000 residents of Sderot. The contents of each package were bought and assembled in Sderot, helping some of the store owners whose businesses have been impacted by a decline in shoppers due to the Kassam rockets.
ZOA President Morton A. Klein said, “This was a Purim that will long be remembered — mostly for the people, their resiliency, commitment and love of the land, and for the joy and happiness that we brought them albeit for a little while. As long as Jews are targets simply because they are Jews, we must continue to be there to show our commitment and support of Eretz Yisroel.”