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Giving mishloach manot, the gifts of food people share on Purim, is one of the most delicious Jewish traditions. Derived from the Book of Esther and literally translated as “sending of portions,” people bundle up hamantaschen and other edible goodies (brownies, granola bars, raisins, juice boxes) and deliver them to friends and family.
But get this: giving mishloach manot have an underlying message of social change. Each person is required to deliver at least one Purim basket to someone else. The reason? To ensure that everybody, wealthy or not, has enough food to enjoy their Purim celebration. In other words, it’s a bit of food justice built right into the holiday!
This year, bring your mishloach manot giving to the next level by delivering them to both friends and family – and to people in need. Here are our top 5 unexpected places to spread Purim’s joy and infuse the holiday with the spirit of service:
Assisted Living Home. One of the best things about mishloach manot is they offer an opportunity to make an impromptu visit. Bring gifts of food to residents of a local assisted living home, and then stay and hang out a while.
Veterans Hospital. Bring joy to veterans by delivering mishloach manot to a VA hospital in your area. While there, take a moment to thank them for their service to our country!
Homeless Shelter. In addition to hamantaschen and other food items, add useful items like sleeping eye masks, batteries, mini soaps, toothpaste, and other toiletries to these mishloach manot.
Children’s Hospital. Deliver fun, kid-centered mishloach manot to a local Children’s Hospital, or volunteer to spend an afternoon making mishloach manot with the patients. Bring cookies, boxes of raisins, bags, stickers, markers, and ribbon and help the kids make their own mishloach manot to give out to other patients, or to their families.
Friends Who Need a Pick-Me-Up. Make sure to deliver a food basket to any friend in need, whether it is someone who recently lost a family member, lost a job, has been feeling down, or has gone through another trying experience.
Purim Giving Bonus: Share the Purim joy by becoming a Chai Sponsor for the New York-based kosher soup kitchen, Masbia, and donating to provide a Purim dinner for those in need.