Macaroni Mitzvah

February 21, 2013

By Julie Lookatch

Get out your groggers – it’s Purim time! A grogger is a noisemaker used during the reading of the Megillat Esther, the scroll read on the holiday of Purim. Every time we hear the name of the villain in the story, Haman (BOO!), we make a raucous noise to blot out his name. Groggers can be made of anything that makes noise when you shake it. But what if your grogger could not only blot out Haman’s (BOO!) name, but also help to blot out hunger in our own community?

For the past four years, this has been the goal of the Gan Ami Early Childhood Macaroni Mitzvah project. Rather than creating groggers that are an art project that gets sent home, Gan Ami families are asked to send a box of macaroni and cheese to school with their child. Each class finds their own way to decorate and enhance the boxes of macaroni and cheese, so the children can shake them and use them during the school’s celebration of Purim.

During the Gan Ami Purim Carnival that was held on Wednesday, February 20, children from both campuses of our school paraded down Main Street waving at the “crowds” that had gathered near the CafA B Data and shaking their groggers in delight. As they reached the end of the hallway, Dorene Paley, JCC Community Services Director, stood along the parade route with a large box for the Jewish Community Food Pantry. All of the fairy princesses, super heroes, and cowboys dropped their groggers in the box and were thanked by Dorene for doing a mitzvah.

“I did a mitzvah!” exclaimed one child to their teacher.

“Me, too!”

“Me, too!”

“It’s for hungry people,” said one of the kindergarteners.

This year, Gan Ami families donated over 200 boxes of macaroni and cheese to the Jewish Community Food Pantry which seeks to provide emergency food to individuals and families in crisis throughout the greater Milwaukee community and is supported by the Emergency Pantry Network of the Hunger Task Force.

Giving to the poor is a mitzvah all year round. However, the mitzvah to do so on Purim is called Matanot La'evyonim (giving to the poor), which is in addition to the general mitzvah of tzedakah (charity). If you need assistance in performing this special mitzvah, you can make a secure donation online, click here or send checks to: Attn: Dorene Paley, 6255 N. Santa Monica Blvd., Whitefish Bay, WI 53217.

Chag Purim Everyone!