- Karsh Center
While Purim evokes images of costumes, groggers, music, and celebrations, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple congregation also focuses each year on our greater community through mishlo-ach manot, the tradition of giving baskets of food to our friends, neighbors, and those in need and matanot levyonim for our neighbors and those in need.
The few explanations regarding why we give these gifts of a hearty meal on our most festive holiday center around the Jewish thought of everyone being able to celebrate together and equally. What is particularly special about the tradition of mishlo-ach manot and matanot levyonim are that they are never intended to make anyone feel lesser for not having enough to celebrate. Indeed, you should send such gifts to your friends as well as to those in need, so there is no disparity, and we can all celebrate, drink, dance, and be merry as one united people.
At the Karsh Family Social Service Center, our community includes WBT congregants, as well as our broader Koreatown community. We want to make sure that all of our neighbors, friends, and family are taken care of during this festival season—and year-round. In years past, Purim for the Karsh Center has meant: WBT Religious School students in their costumes shoulder to shoulder packing Self Care kits and New Baby bags for our clients as part of Purim with a Purpose; Brawerman students donating their macaroni box “groggers” to our food pantry and assembling hygiene kits; congregant families making matanot levyonim for Karsh Center client families. In fact, these Purim projects were some of the last “normal” activities conducted last year before COVID19 turned everything upside down, and the supplies provided by them helped get us through the first dire months of the pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic, we have managed to double our food pantry distribution and quadruple our diaper distribution to meet the needs of our clients. We know that the families we serve face dire choices, such as weighing the purchase of food versus paying rent.
We are excited that Purim with a Purpose this year is once again partnering with the Karsh Center to provide boxes of essential household items to the Karsh Center’s client community. Being able to furnish cleaning supplies such as dish soap and cleanser, as well as hand sanitizer and face masks, will help keep our community safe. Macaroni groggers, snack bags, and the food items collected as part of the Temple-wide drive will supply nourishment for a growing number of individuals experiencing food insecurity.
On behalf of the Karsh Center, thank you for sharing your time, energy, and commitment to caring for our neighbors as part of your family’s and WBT’s Purim celebrations!