Company & Culture
August 01, 2016
8 minute read

One of the many Jewish organizations dedicated to helping the Jewish community of Chicago is Maot Chitim. Out organization is based the ancient traditional religious obligation which requires everyone who subscribes to the Jewish religion to help the poor. This often happens prior to Rosh Hashanah and Passover. The sole purpose of Maot Chitim is to cater for the holiday expenses of the less privileged members of the society.

Rosh Hashanah is celebrated to impart everyone with a sense of royalty. However, we cannot have a sense of royalty if the less privileged members of our community lack basic necessities such as food. The essence of the festivities is to ensure that everyone shares in our joy. Efforts by Jewish organizations in Chicago, Illinois to provide food to the needy during this holiday makes this a possibility.

A Historical Recap of Maot Chitim

The exact translation of Maot Chitim is “Wheat Money”. This is an ancient religious obligation. Its traditional form was a response to the insufficiency of kosher, which was used for baking Matzah. During that time, poor families had to rationalize the amount of Matzah eaten, or survive without it altogether. Raising money for the less privileged families thus became an obligation, which has stood the test of time.

In contemporary times, donating flour used in the preparation of Matzah became the norm rather than donating ready made Matzah to the poor families. Scholars argue that this was a way of ensuring that everyone took part in the preparation of the delicacy. In our current age, Maot Chitim has been greatly diversified. In most communities, food and other supplies are often distributed to the poor for free or at highly subsidized prices. Others opt to make direct contributions to Maot Chitim of Greater Chicago.

How Chicago’s Maot Chitim Fund Works

Devarim 15:7-8 states, “If, however, there is a needy person among you…do not harden your heart and shut your hand against your needy kinsman. Rather you must open your hand and lend him sufficient for whatever he needs.”

Maot Chitim of Chicago is among the many Jewish organizations that are helping needy families to experience Rosh Hashanah and Passover just like anyone else. Instead of simply distributing the funds collected among the poor, we buy food on a wholesale basis for distribution. Our system is more effective since more families can be served. The food is often packaged in food boxes and distributed to households. The size of each food box depends on the size of a household.

Owing to the tough economic times and a sharp increase in the number of families in need, we usually call upon volunteers to help us distribute the food boxes. Three weeks before Rosh Hashanah and Passover, we normally ask volunteers to come forth and help us assemble and distribute the food boxes. Those who volunteer ought to be at least twelve years old. They must similarly wear closed shoes for health and safety purposes.

The time has come for us to repent ahead of Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. To lend your support to this noble cause, please call this number: 847-674-3224.

Some of our wonderful volunteers who dedicated their time to volunteer for our Jewish Organization.

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