Kesser Israel's Purim gifts take on extra meaning

PHOTO: Nurit Kahana of Congregation Kesser Israel prepares a batch of mishloach manot packages for delivery to Israeli families in the Portland area Thursday, Mar. 21. (Courtesy Congregation Kesser Israel) 

The Jewish Review
Congregation Kesser Israel’s mishloach manot baskets are a major production each Purim; a thematically prepared box of joy given out to the congregation’s members and others in fulfillment of one of Purim’s mitzvot. 
With this being the first Purim since the Oct. 7 attacks, the congregation settled on a fitting theme for this year’s packages: Am Yisrael Chai.
To that end, not only are the baskets filled with Israeli products, but the congregation took the extra step of preparing additional mishloach manot packages to share with Israeli families in the area who have been affected by the attacks and ongoing war. 
Kesser Israel’s Rabbi Sholom Skolnik said when the idea came up, it seemed like a natural fit. The execution came down to Nurit Kahana, who is well connected to the area’s Israeli community. 
“She went out and delivered them to the families that she knows here,” Rabbi Skolnik said. “She really took care of contacting the families and making sure it happened.”
Rabbi Skolnik had not seen the baskets as of press time, as the contents of the packages are a surprise to the Kesser Israel members who receive them, but said that the contents not only came from Israel, but were in the blue and white of the Israeli flag. 
“We try and make them high quality and it should be something that people will value,” the Rabbi said of Kesser Israel’s mishloach manot packages. “It’s really nice to be able to extend it out to bring some relief and some comfort to families that have been affected.”
While mishloach manot are certainly appreciated by their recipients, and Kesser Israel took to the extra step to spread cheer to those who have been most directly affected by the situation in Israel in recent months, the packages are not a form of tzedakah. Instead, Rabbi Skolnik explained, the mitzvah of mishloach manot has another important purpose. 
“The whole mitzvah is designed for the purpose of creating unity and camaraderie,” he said. 


Add Comment