Wednesday, November 21st | 13 Kislev 5779

December 1, 2011 9:59 am

Israeli Scoffs Donuts for Charity

avatar by Judy Lash Balint

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In Israel sufganiyot (donuts) appear in bakeries shortly after the end of Sukkot. No matter that Chanukah is months away, everyone likes to get a sweet taste of the doughy, filled and fried donuts once or twice during the season to get into the Chanukah mood.

But one immigrant from Baltimore has taken the art of sufganiyot tasting to new heights. Elie Klein, 31, an account executive at a Jerusalem PR firm, is on his third annual donut binge for charity.

What started as a gentlemens bet two years ago over which one of Klein’s neighbors could pack in more sufganiyot between the beginning of the Hebrew month of Kislev and the end of Chanukah, has turned into an annual fundraising campaign. Friends, family and complete strangers have been pledging generous dollar and shekel amounts to their favorite Jewish causes/charities for every sufganiya that the Beit Shemesh resident consumes.

Last year, Klein downed 70 donuts and raised NIS 32,788.60 (roughly $9,100) for 44 causes and charities around the world. Klein emphasizes that he does not dictate which causes donors should give to. “‘Dough for Donuts’ works because it’s unusual and entertaining,” Klein says.  “It catches and holds your attention for a full 31 days. Last year, several sponsors (complete strangers) commented that they felt compelled to join the ranks because they “just had to get in on the fun.” And there is no one, defined charity or cause: sponsors can choose where the money goes. Everyone has a cause or charity they believe in. This initiative is about giving them “an excuse” to finally open their wallets and support those causes,” he adds.

This year, Klein has made a pledge to eat no less than 100 sufganiyot during the campaign. He expects to raise NIS 45,000 NIS by the end of Chanukah for dozens of worthwhile causes.

Of course there’s also a Facebook event page for this year’s campaign.

And for anyone concerned about his health after consuming thousands of calories, gobs of trans fat and countless amounts of cholesterol, Klein, who is one of those tall thin people who can eat anything, swears that he actually lost two pounds during last years’ Dough for Donuts binge.

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