Instead of having a party, Joseph Ezon found a better way to celebrate his bar mitzvah. The Flatbush youngster traveled with his family and friends to Israel, where the group helped needy families by preparing food packages.
Joseph and his group arrived in the Middle East in late June, just as the simmering tensions between Israel and Hamas in Gaza were coming to a boil.
Undaunted by the escalating tensions, which erupted into a full-fledged conflict in July, the Brooklyn visitors took time out from their hectic schedule of sightseeing to go to the Pantry Packers production facility in Jerusalem to pack food packages for Israel’s poorest families.
Sponsored by Colel Chabad, an Israeli charity organization, the Pantry Packers program is aimed at tourists who wish to give their time to help Israelis in need. During a 90-minute visit, volunteers watch a short training film and then put on gloves, caps, and aprons to begin their work. The volunteers pack rice, beans, and other types of foods in packages to be delivered to families in need.
Colel Chabad was established in 1788 by Rabbi Schneur Zalman, founder of the Chabad Lubavitch movement. The organization provides a wide range of services to the underprivileged, including soup kitchens, pediatric dental clinics and immigration services. The group also sponsors bar mitzvahs for orphans.