Josh Rosenbaum, an American student spending his gap year in Israel, has teamed up with Leket Israel, the National Food Bank, to spearhead Shake N’ Donate Israel, a Purim initiative to benefit the needy.
Every year on Purim during the traditional megila reading, Jews all over the world shake noisemakers when Haman’s name is read.
“This tradition is great, but it could be greater.
My goal is to have everyone at every gap year program shake boxes of pasta [or any other boxed food] instead of groggers [Purim noisemakers].”
Rosenbaum told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “Afterwards, all of the boxes will be collected and donated to Leket Israel.”
Shake N’ Donate Israel is an offshoot of the American program of the same name – which aims to benefit needy families in Jewish communities throughout the United States.
The program was initiated by Barry Mueller, a senior at Yeshiva University and Adele Lerner, a National Board member of NCSY – an organization dedicated to empowering Jewish teens through Torah and Tradition.
Rosenbaum, an 18-year-old Providence, Rhode Island, native, is spending a year between high school and college at Yeshivat Lev Hatorah in Ramat Beit Shemesh. He was put in touch with Mueller and decided to spearhead a similar program in Israel.
Through his efforts Rosenbaum has been able to reach out to students and engage some 50 ambassadors in 35 schools throughout Israel to participate in the initiative. In his yeshiva, 67 students donated 315 bags of pasta for the needy.
“I honestly believe that this is an unbelievable opportunity to make a huge difference, and the help and involvement of as many students as possible is essential to its success,” he said.
While the final tally of pasta bags will only be available later in the week, Rosenbaum said he is optimistic and believes the initiative will help raise a few thousand boxes of food for the needy.
Rosenbaum was first introduced to Leket Israel earlier this year when his Yeshiva brought students to volunteer in the Leket fields, picking vegetables for the poor.
“I was picking tomatoes and witnessed firsthand the incredible work Leket Israel does,” he said.
Following that experience Rosenbaum reached out to Leket Israel to see if they would be interested in partnering on this initiative.
“The organization was a perfect fit.”
After Purim, Leket Israel drivers will collect and distribute the dry goods among their network of 180 nonprofit agencies.
“Every single person can make a difference, and collectively, we can change the world.
When people are asked what they wish for the world, the two most common answers are world peace and ending world hunger. If I can prove to people how much of an impact they could have on ending world hunger, my hope is that world peace will follow suit,” said Rosenbaum.
He said he hoped this initiative will encourage people to go out and make a difference and get involved in any of the numerous projects to end hunger in Israel and abroad.
“And of course everyone should volunteer with or donate to Leket Israel,” he said.
Serving as the country’s National Food Bank and its largest food rescue network, Leket Israel, now celebrating 10 years of operation, works to alleviate nutritional insecurity among the growing numbers of Israel’s poor.
In 2013, Leket Israel rescued over 1 million meals and almost 10 million kg. of produce and perishable goods, and supplied more than 1.35 million sandwiches – prepared by volunteers – to poor children (7,800/school day).