Putting Shabbat in a Box to Help Others

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A hundred children and adults gathered at the Friendship Circle recently for the launch of a new initiative, “Shabbat in a Box.”  For nearly an hour, the youngsters noshed on pizza and snacks, talked with friends, colored pictures and filled boxes for Shabbat, which will go to those in need.

“I wanted to help people,” said 10-year-old Dara Seidman, in explaining why she came to the “Snack and Pack” launch event with her mom, Marci. Packing up the boxes, Dara added, means others “can celebrate and have a happy Shabbat.”

The enthusiasm was infectious as kids rushed from table to table eager to stuff the boxes — that is once they got the hang of making the boxes with a little help from mom.

In less than 30 minutes, 100 boxes were filled, each containing a Kiddush cup, a bottle of grape juice, battery-powered Shabbat candles with batteries included, a list of candle-lighting times for the area and more.

Five-year-old Seth Perlstein eagerly showed off the box he filled with supplies and said his favorite part of making the box was putting in the “cup and the grape juice.” His friend Lucas Shultz, 4, enjoyed pasting a sticker on the top of the box.

But it wasn’t just about fun, the afternoon event allowed families to come together to do a mitzvah, a good deed to benefit others.

“It’s important t to give back and participate in this kind of thing,” said Debbie Minsky, who attended the program with her daughters Maya, 12, Ellie, 9, and Ava, 5.  The Snack and Pack event, which was co-sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest’s Center for Volunteerism, was particularly appealing, Minsky said, because it was “something for all us to do together.”

For the organizers of the event, the day turned out better than they could have imagined as they watched the joy on people’s faces as they completed their boxes and even the happy disappointment when they realized there were no more boxes to fill.

“We are so pleased by this turnout and how many members of our community came out to help launch Shabbat in a Box. This is a wonderful way to start,” said organizer Dara Orbach. “We hope that the joy that went into making these packages will be felt by the recipients who could use some joy to help bring in Shabbat.”

For more information on Shabbat in a Box, call 973-251-0200.

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