Children in West Hempstead enjoy #GivebackSunday


Patients at the North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset enjoyed a special Purim this year due to the efforts of the children of the Young Israel of West Hempstead.

Over 75 children — accompanied by their parents — recently took part in the third annual #GivebackSunday event.

“#GivebackSunday is an event that is designed to do exactly that: give back to the larger Jewish community,” said Ayelet Mottahedeh, a parent who brought her two children to the event.

Kari Levine, one of the founders of the program said that she got the idea when she received her own hospital gift package. “When I walked into the Hospital on Taanit Esther to give birth to my fourth daughter, I was handed a beautiful Purim package at the door. That one package was the inspiration behind this program, which I am proud to say, has now given out over 300 packages to hospital and nursing home patients.”

Part of the appeal of the event is that it provides fun activities for families. As each family arrived, they were greeted by cheerful music playing in the background, along with the scents of fresh coffee and pastries. Families were then directed to tables with craft items such as markers, glittery stickers, washi tape and gems. Lastly, families got to create and pack over 100 boxes to be delivered to patients at North Shore University


“This year, we wanted to connect our chessed to Purim, and so we created boxes to help people who have to be in the hospital over Purim to be able to celebrate the chag with simcha,” said Jen Toplan, one of the event organizers.

Each patient will receive packages that include: a tzedakah box brightly decorated with stickers and shiny gems; a mask adorned with feathers, a homemade gragger, and a copy of Megillat Esther.

“This event is so perfect for me to bring my kids to,” said Deborah Rockoff, another of the chessed doers. “I want to teach my kids to think of others, and this event helps me show that in action.”

Rabbi Dr. Hillel Fox, of the Chaplain of the North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, added, “It warms my heart to see so many families volunteering their time to decorate and provide religious articles for the Jewish patients at Northwell Health’s North Shore University Hospital. Your kindness will bring smiles, comfort and joy to sick patients who are hospitalized over the Purim Holiday.”

More importantly, younger supporters also seemed to enjoy the event. “I really like doing chessed,” said 9-year-old volunteer Meira Levine. “I can’t wait to do it again next year.”

–Submitted by Ann D. Koffsky