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April 3, 2012 6:56 pm

Debit Cards Provided to Thousands of Needy Jewish Families Before Passover

avatar by Lakkana Nanayakkara

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Met Council food distributions on Passover. Photo. MetCouncil.com

Pre-paid American Express debit cards are being provided to needy Jewish families by the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty (MCJP) prior to Passover. This assistance is reportedly needed by many Jewish families in New York to “properly observe Passover.” The value of the cards handed out, which range from $50 to $300, will depend on family size and could be issued to approximately 15,000 homes.

The New York Daily News reports that “religious law requires that people scrub their homes clean before Passover” to remove signs of starchy foods, avoid leavened foods and replace kitchen utensils that have touched prohibited food. According to MCJP CEO Willie Rapfogel, the eight-day Passover holiday can cost a family of four up to $1,000 for groceries and replacing kitchen utensils.

This is the first time the MCJP has issued the special debit cards, which will be accepted at 60 sites, “including their 25 satellite neighborhood Jewish Community Councils”. In previous years, the MCJP “allowed people to use paper vouchers at kosher grocery shops across the city” but they were deemed “too complicated” due to language difficulties.

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