Jewish Troops Prepare for Passover With Help of Aleph Institute
A team of volunteers started the Passover season earlier this month packing goods for delivery to Jewish soldiers around the country and serving overseas. From Afghanistan to Kuwait and Qatar to Germany and Japan, priority mail is delivering boxes assembled at a warehouse in New Jersey that include everything men and women in uniform need for a Passover Seder, including kosher grape juice, special handmade matzah, Haggadahs and a complete Seder plate.
That’s more than 800 bottles of grape juice and 150 pounds of handmade matzah, plus 500 pounds of regular matzah paid for by donation that in the space of a week, travelled through an assembly line before heading to submarines, ships and bases around the globe.
Rabbi Menachem Katz, director of outreach programs for the Aleph Institute, a Chabad-Lubavitch run organization that provides for the spiritual and physical needs of Jewish prisoners and soldiers at home and abroad, detailed the sometimes hard-to-find items that recipients urgently wait for every year.
“There’s hardboiled eggs, karpas with maror, and everything else that comes with it,” he said, using the terms for a vegetable dipped in salt water during a Seder and a bitter herb used to evoke the bitterness of the Jewish people’s bondage in Egypt. “When you’re in Afghanistan, you can’t exactly find all these items kosher, so we take care of it.”
It can take two to three weeks for the boxes to arrive, depending on where they’re headed, so they get started early.
“Aleph is honored to go above and beyond to make sure that soldiers receive exactly what they need to take part in all of the Seder’s traditions without having to cut any corners,” said Katz.
“We’re proud that we’re able to help our fellow Jews out there who are serving our country,” said Katz. “We’re proud to be able to get into the details, to get them the best.”