April 22, 2013

Recession Over? Not for Jews Celebrating Passover

NEW YORK — Harriett, a 42-year old mother of two teenage girls living in Brooklyn, wondered how she would celebrate Passover. Last year, her husband recovering from an unspecified disease, still had his job as a manager in a local supermarket and proudly led the traditional Seder. But this year, he is hardly capable of leading the Seder and money is very tight. Harriett, according to officials of the Met Council on Jewish Poverty, was not alone as the ranks of the Jewish-poor and near poor appears to have swelled this year all over the country. 

From Tuesday, March 12 until Thursday, March 21st, Met Council distributed 2.65 million pounds of food and $600,000 in food cards to more than 50,000 families in need this Passover. The 1.5 million pounds of produce, 20,000 pounds of poultry and 1 million pounds of Passover items such as grape juice and matzah were distributed at 115 different sites throughout the five boroughs.

In the New York area, there were still families reeling from the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. But many local Jewish Federations in many parts of the nation also reported an increase in demand for assistance this past Passover. Some of the Federations noticed an uptick of requests from elderly Jews; in other cases it was younger Jewish families still reeling from the recession, particularly amongst the jobless.