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Try an Old Purim Tradition: Matanot La’Evyonim

Purim will be here on March. The noise level in our temples and synagogues will be deafening as graggers sound and we boo and stomp to drown out Haman’s name. Children young and old will show up in costume. We’ll feast on hamantaschen, and some of us will choose to imbibe until we can no longer distinguish between the cursing and praising Haman (the Hebrew words are “hallel” and “chilel”).

Purim can be a lot of fun, but it also has a serious side.

On the day of Purim, Jewish tradition teaches that one must send matanot la’evyonim, gifts of tzedakah to the poor, to increase love and friendship between Jews, thereby dismissing Haman’s accusations that there is strife and dissension among Jews. This concept has been expanded, and today, we offer help to all those in need.

Each year, the Jewish Community of Louisville’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) invites you to honor this Purim tradition by contributing to YouthBuild, an organization with a chapter in Louisville that capitalizes on the positive energy of young adults by helping them rebuild their communities and their own lives with a commitment to work, education, responsibility and family.

YouthBuild aids unemployed and undereducated young people, ages 16 to 24. Participants help build affordable housing for homeless and low-income families in their own communities. They split their time between the construction site and the classroom, where they earn their GED or high school diploma, learn to be community leaders or prepare for jobs or college.

For more information about YouthBuild, go to www.youthbuildlouisville.org.

To help the JCRC support YouthBuild, send your Purim contributions to the Jewish Community of Louisville, 3600 Dutchmans Ln., Louisville, KY 40205. Please indicate that your contribution is for our 2011 Purim Appeal.
Ayala Golding is the JCRC chair and Matt Goldberg is the JCRC director.

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