Beyond Sustenance: Meir Panim brings joy in times of turmoil

Beyond Sustenance: Meir Panim brings joy in times of turmoil

Soldiers receive Purim gift baskets from Meir Panim.
Soldiers receive Purim gift baskets from Meir Panim.

Despite — or because of — the challenging situation in Israel with the ongoing war, Meir Panim has chosen this year to double down on its mission of spreading joy and support during Purim and Passover. Their efforts are not just about assistance; they aim to infuse a sense of normalcy and celebration into the lives of those who have been most affected during this difficult period.

For Purim, Meir Panim fulfilled its name with efforts to “brighten the faces” of regular patrons: needy families, Holocaust survivors, and the elderly, in addition to troops and displaced families. “We distributed over 4,000 traditional Purim gift baskets and as many festive Purim meals,” said Mimi Rozmaryn, Meir Panim’s director of Global Development. Meir Panim branches also distributed costumes to ensure that the children would experience the joy of Purim to the fullest.

In line with its commitment to assist in the war effort and ensure the safety and preparedness of vulnerable populations, Meir Panim continued distribution of special tactical equipment to local groups of volunteer first responders. During one recent week, said Rozmaryn, “we distributed to 20 more communities, totaling 112 of the 134 communities in the northern border who are truly in harm’s way.”

And at the close of Purim, while the country was making the rapid turnaround toward Passover preparations, Rozmaryn described how Meir Panim staff members returned speedily to their normal routine of caring for those in need — “jumping into our free shuk days and preparing for Shabbat — while simultaneously making up lists of people who had requested help for Passover.”

The workers at Meir Panim’s five branches across Israel — in Tzfat, Tiberias, Or Akiva, Jerusalem, and Dimona — do an amazing job every year providing necessities for the Passover holiday, including cooked seder meals, pantry baskets, and grocery shopping cards. While the other branches are closed for the holiday week, the branches in Tzfat and Dimona open their doors for a beautiful communal seder for people from the community and beyond.

While we all pray that the war will be over by Passover, Meir Panim is prepared to deliver thousands of seder meals to frontline troops and displaced families. “Through our work we don’t only address immediate needs,” said Rozmaryn. “We weave a stronger social fabric, bringing individuals together and providing hope, support, and shared joy.”

Support Meir Panim by donating at, by phone at 877-736-6283, or by mail: American Friends of Meir Panim, 88 Walton St., Suite B1, Brooklyn, NY 11206. All donations made in the U.S. are tax-deductible under EIN #20-1582478.

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