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(Photo from Flash90)
(Photo from Flash90)

Resources are available to help with rising food bills this Passover
Much of our community is feeling the weight of increased food prices, especially as Passover approaches (“Jewish Pittsburgh braces for costliest Passover in decades,” March 18). Normally, with household finances, the most flexible budget in the home is food. You have to pay your mortgage/rent, utility bills, car payments and phone bills in full, so after all those are paid, when you’re looking to make ends meet, it’s your grocery bill that unfortunately gets cut the most.

With around 16% of Americans currently facing food insecurity and the rising costs of food, that decreased budget for groceries means even less ability to put food on the table for many families, even in our own neighborhood. At one point during the pandemic, food insecurity was estimated to impact about one in every four households — likely people you know or maybe even your own family. And we know that those of us who keep kosher already pay more for many of our groceries.

The financial stress faced by households that observe Passover is adding to existing challenges in our community. Inflation, supply shortages and the end of COVID-19 subsidies means that more families may find themselves unable to afford Passover.

At JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry, we’ve seen the high food costs firsthand as we work to juggle our budget for purchasing food. We’ve also seen how the decrease in resources available to the community at large, and Jewish families in particular, is causing a perfect storm of events which can lead to less food on the table this Passover.

If this season you’re finding yourself wondering whether your family is going to be able to cover all the costs, there are resources available. JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry may be able to help your family with Passover food needs this April. We also have case workers on staff who can help you connect to other resources to help your family maximize its budget and understand what is available to help through this challenging time.

There is also support available through the JFunds network, which can help with outstanding bills or unexpected expenses you might be facing this season. Though COVID subsidies for housing and utilities are ending, our community still has plenty of financial help available, with discretion and compassion for those who are in need.

One of the things that we love most about our community is the camaraderie and support of our neighbors. When we see a need, we come around each other to help. This Passover may be the perfect opportunity for those who have enough to share to invite others to your family’s seder. I encourage you to invite friends or neighbors, not with the preface of them being in need, but with a desire to see familiar faces and a full table — of food and people — this Passover.

Matthew Bolton
Director of JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry

Editorial may ‘mislead’ readers
We are writing to you in relation to the editorial “The enemy of our nemesis,” April 1.

Sadly, the following paragraph may mislead less informed readers, suggesting the Holocaust was a state enterprise of the Polish authorities:

“In our community’s consciousness, Poland, the site of Auschwitz and the Warsaw Ghetto, is the graveyard of the Jews. Like so many other places in Eastern Europe, Jewish life flourished in Poland until it was crushed by antisemitism, unfiltered hate and violence. When World War II broke out, there were 3.3 million Jews in Poland, the second-largest Jewish community in the world. Eighty-five percent were murdered in the Holocaust. The pallor of death and the stories of unimaginable evil haunted our post-war communal perception of the Polish people and their government.”

First of all, it must be remembered that the Holocaust was a state enterprise of the German Reich. Its implementation, course, time, as well as the selection of tools and crime scenes were the result of the decisions issued by state organs of the German Reich. The Republic of Poland never undertook capitulation talks with the Germans, having remained a militant side for the entire period of the war. The Republic of Poland remained a declared enemy of the German Reich — its authorities never even considered participating in any form of collaboration with the national-socialist power. Never did it consent to the genocidal practices of the occupiers.

In the light of the above, these words are misinformation and distortion of historical truth. More facts on Poland under German occupation during WWII can be found here: ipn.gov.pl/en/news/1048,The-criminal-nature-of-the-German-occupation-of-Poland-1939-1945-Standpoint-of-t.html.

Jolanta Nowak
Division of International Relations
Office of International Cooperation
Institute of National Remembrance
Warsaw

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