Photo Credit: courtesy, Masbia
Rabbi Zvi Nachman and wife Naomi -- Masbia board co-chair -- pack Hanukah gifts for children of widowed and divorced mothers, donated by Rite Lite Judaica and high-end cuts of meat donated by Prairie Street, with all of it delivered by DoorDash. December 2022

A deeply needed Jewish food pantry organization is sounding the alarm about its ability to meet the demand for Hanukah holiday food this month.

Masbia Soup Kitchen Executive Director Alexander Rappaport says his organization is facing a funding crisis after support from the Nourish New York Program ran out last month.


Masbia was among other state food pantries that receive donations from the program, which committed $50 million in April 2022. However, the program’s fund was depleted in November, leaving Masbia and other food pantry groups searching for other resources.

Rappaport said he sent a letter to New York Governor Kathy Hochul and other state officials appealing for emergency funds, but in the meantime is still facing the necessity of supplying poor families with food for the eight-day holiday which starts Sunday night, not to mention serving daily hot meals at Masbia’s locations in Flatbush and Borough Park in Brooklyn, and in Queens.

Alongside a lack of funds, inflation has also eaten its way through the organization’s ability to provide those meals.

“While high-end food prices are starting to come back down, it just so happens to be that ‘poor people’s food,’ or in other words very basic household food staples, are still on the rise,” Rappaport said in an email sent to

“Every mother frying latkes (potato pancakes) this Hanukah will pay 300 percent to 400 percent more for the ingredients than they did last year,” he said. “By ‘basic foods’ I mean eggs, potatoes, oil, etc. It is very hard on us here at Masbia to keep up with the demand.”

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rappaport says, Masbia was able to serve 500 people a day – but now that figure has dropped to just 300 meals a day due to the high price of food.

Alongside the organization’s hot meal program — served in a restaurant-style environment by volunteer waters — Masbia also gives out bags of groceries each week to those in need, through its weekend take-home package program.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.