A Fifty-Pound Hamantash at Masbia’s Annual Chop ‘n Pack Event

By Jewish Link Staff

(Courtesy of Masbia) This weekend marked a significant moment of unity and service as members of Mayor Eric Adams’ Jewish Advisory Council gathered at the historic Congregation Orach Chaim for Masbia’s annual Chop ‘n Pack event. The event, under the spiritual leadership of Rabbi Benjamin Skydell, the venerable rabbi of Orach Chaim, and Rabbi Alexander Rapaport, the dynamic ED of Masbia, saw a diverse turnout from across the city’s Jewish community and beyond, all converging to support Masbia’s noble cause of addressing food insecurity in New York City.

Masbia, known for its dedication to fighting hunger with dignity and compassion, welcomed volunteers to prepare and pack containers of fruits and vegetables, along with DIY hamantash ingredient kits for its pantry clients. The Chop ‘n Pack event serves not just as a campaign against hunger, but as a vibrant example of community solidarity and the collective effort to make a tangible difference in the lives of New Yorkers.

In the spirit of unity and tradition, Masbia’s annual Chop ‘n Pack event took a remarkable turn with the display of a special 50-pound hamantash, graciously baked by Strauss Bakery. This unique gesture served as a powerful symbol in the fight against hunger, especially poignant as the event took place just three weeks shy of Purim.

The inclusion of hamantashen at the event was not only a nod to the upcoming Purim holiday but also a profound reminder of the Purim miracle and the importance of community support and generosity.

Purim, a time of joy and feasting, commemorates the Jewish people’s survival against a decree of destruction in ancient Persia, as recounted in the Book of Esther. It is traditionally celebrated with the giving of food gifts to friends (mishloach manot) and donations to the poor (matanot la’evyonim), embodying the spirit of kindness and sharing.

By incorporating hamantashen, a quintessential Purim treat, into the Chop ‘n Pack event, Masbia and its supporters underscored the importance of ensuring that all members of the community can partake in the Purim feast, regardless of their financial circumstances. This act of kindness mirrors the very essence of the Purim celebration, highlighting the themes of unity, survival and the triumph of good over evil.

The giant hamantash against hunger thus became more than just a symbol; with the hamantash ingredient kits that were prepared by the volunteers, it also represented a call to action for the community to come together, not only in celebration but also in the service of those in need. It served as a reminder that the joy of Purim is magnified when shared with others, especially those who are less fortunate.

This Hamantashen for Hunger initiative by Masbia, supported by the Mayor’s Jewish Advisory Council and symbolized by the hamantash from Strauss Bakery, which supports Masbia throughout the year, reinforces the message that our collective efforts can make a significant difference in the lives of many. As the community prepares to celebrate Purim, this event leaves a lasting impact, inspiring acts of generosity and kindness that embody the true spirit of the holiday.

Rabbi Skydell, alongside Rabbi Rapaport, led the volunteers by example, donning Masbia aprons and engaging directly in the food preparation efforts. Their hands-on participation and enthusiasm served as an inspiration, demonstrating the profound impact of tzedakah and the value of personal involvement in communal assistance. The event was sponsored by Naomi and Steve Wolinksky, in loving memory of Naomi’s father, Rabbi Morris Friedman. Rabbi Friedman, remembered for his spirit, legacy and passion for uniting people through acts of kindness, would have been heartened to see the community come together in such a meaningful way.

Reflecting on the event, Naomi Wolinksky said, “This gathering truly encapsulated the spirit and legacy of my saintly father. He cherished events that united people and brought them together as a mitzvah in helping others. To see such a diverse group come together to support Masbia’s sacred mission, especially as we approach Purim, would have made him incredibly proud.”

The Mayor’s Jewish Advisory Council’s involvement aimed to raise awareness of food insecurity and spotlight Masbia’s crucial role not only in hunger alleviation but also as a unifying force within the community. By bringing together individuals from various backgrounds for a shared purpose, the event highlighted the importance of collective action and mutual understanding in addressing societal issues.

The Chop ‘n Pack event underscored a critical message: everyone has the capacity to contribute to making the world a better place. Through simple acts of kindness and service, such as chopping vegetables and packing the DIY hamantash ingredient kits, individuals can become more attuned to the needs of others, fostering a sense of communal responsibility and forging meaningful connections with people from all walks of life.

As the event concluded, participants left with a renewed sense of purpose and the knowledge that their efforts had not only provided essential food supplies to those in need but had also contributed to the broader goal of transforming New York City into a more compassionate and inclusive community for all its residents.