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Attendance for community services and yom tov meals may be limited or altogether non-existent this year, but that’s not stopping shluchim from bringing the mitzvos and spirit of the day to their communities. Over 120,000 High Holiday kits were distributed to families worldwide, enabling them to celebrate yom tov at home.
Selected prayers, observance instructions, yizkor cards and candles, conversation-starters, a kiddush cup, and traditional foods prepared by the local shluchim were all included in the kits. Children received their own guides with games and activities for the whole family and a plush shofar.
“The boxes encourage people to properly observe Rosh Hashanah and understand its significance if they can’t come to shul,” says Rabbi Mendy Kotlarsky, director of Merkos Suite 302. “Many of them wouldn’t be celebrating otherwise.”
Positive and grateful feedback from shluchim have been pouring in. “It’s so nice to have something so full and beautifully designed all ready to go and give out,” says Mrs. Henny Brandman of Buckhurst Hill, UK. “The stress of trying to reach every family at their own homes over yom tov was really eased.”
“There’s actually a value to doing things differently this year,” says Rabbi Mendy Ceitlin, director of the Chabad Mitzvah Society. “For some, Judaism was mostly centered around their local Chabad House or synagogue, but lately, people are experiencing it in their own homes and celebrating it individually and more inwardly. With their own unique contributions. It can create a much deeper impression.”
The kits follow on the heels of the successful Pesach and Shavuot children’s toolbox distribution at the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns. “The resources Merkos 302 provides have really elevated this bizarre situation,” says Rabbi Mendy Teldon of Commack, NY. “So many local synagogues, children’s and teens’ groups, schools, and camps have completely shut down. But Chabad remains active as ever. We are lucky to be able to continue reaching our community with quality programs and boxes without compromising on content. And we don’t have to do the heavy lifting.”
They’re not done yet. CKids has already prepared similar toolboxes for Sukkos and Simchas Torah among their other socially-distant, virtual or individualized programming. Find out more at shluchim.ckids.net/sukkotbox.