Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
Other communities – like Edison, New Jersey and Baltimore – have followed EPI’s lead, opening programs of their own and turning to Rabbi Novoseller’s team for input and advice. Still, the rabbi acknowledged, there’s a long way to go. Communities looking to open an EPI model include Miami, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Toronto, and St. Louis, but as of yet no one has stepped forward to take responsibility and implement the program.
Rabbi Novoseller is confident that a rallying call from the Orthodox Union, with its hundreds of synagogues and nationwide presence, will help Jewish populations beyond the New York metro area can connect for a common cause and replicate EPI’s successful model. To facilitate this, EPI is volunteering its time and expertise.
“The OU has people that are passionate in every community,” said Rabbi Novoseller. “What a wonderful opportunity the OU has to encourage all synagogues to unite under their geographic banner and create an organization to help their own.”
Although not everyone has money to give, Rabbi Novoseller feels many have money to lend. For most of the lenders, however, the best payback is having their money reinvested in new loans, helping new applicants. “They’re not giving someone a fish, they’re teaching many to fish.”
Chana Mayefsky is a freelance writer and editor and a regular contributor to the Orthodox Union and Publishers Weekly. She lives in Hillside, NJ with her husband and two daughters.
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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/feautures-on-jewish-world/teaching-our-community-to-fish/2012/06/07/
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