On the eve of Chanukah, Sunday, December 18, Met Council, America’s largest Jewish charity dedicated to fighting poverty, hosted a Chanukah Day of Service to benefit home-bound Holocaust survivors with US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Attendees from throughout New York City gathered at Community Board 12 in Brooklyn to pack food for survivors with Senator Gillibrand and her teenage son.

Joining Met Council CEO David G. Greenfield and Senator Gillibrand were several officials, including NYS Senator Simcha Felder and NYC Councilman Kalman Yeger, as well as Chairman of Community Board 12 Yidel Perlstein, District Manager of Community Board 12 Barry Spitzer, and representatives of the NYC Public Advocate’s Office, the NYC Comptroller’s Office, and the Brooklyn Borough President’s Office.

Greenfield discussed the work his organization does to help Holocaust survivors, noting that the New York City area is home to tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors. Met Council’s Holocaust Survivor Program provides over 3,900 low-income Holocaust survivors with financial assistance, social programming, and case management. In addition, its Holocaust Survivor Kosher Home Food Delivery program facilitates the delivery of fresh food packages directly to the homes of over 2,100 Holocaust survivors each week. 

In her remarks, Senator Gillibrand discussed the recent rise in antisemitism and the need to combat the wanton hatred directed at the Jewish community, invoking the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh and violent attacks against Jews in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

 “We have seen dark times over the past few years, and we have seen a rise in antisemitism like never before, a rise in hate crimes, and a rise in violence,” said Senator Gillibrand. “We as elected leaders have to do everything we can to protect our communities and to make sure that the Jewish community is not targeted and is not having to withstand a constant barrage of antisemitic attacks.”

Senator Gillibrand spoke about the need to secure more resources to fight antisemitism, including her efforts to strengthen the Nonprofit Security Grant Program, which helps nonprofits, synagogues, and other faith-based institutions protect themselves against hate crimes, and her efforts to enhance the U.S. State Department’s role in combating and monitoring antisemitism around the world by elevating the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism to the rank of Ambassador.

“Senator Gillibrand is a longtime partner of Met Council who has consistently spoken out on important issues pertaining to the Jewish community and beyond and undertaken initiatives that benefit the neediest among us,” said Met Council CEO David G. Greenfield. “In addition to her forceful denunciation of antisemitism and her enduring commitment to combating bigotry and hatred, Senator Gillibrand’s work as a key member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry has had a tremendous impact on Met Council’s efforts to fight poverty and food insecurity.”

“Whether it is working to improve the safety and security of at-risk Jewish communities and promoting Holocaust education, or serving as a leader in the fight to protect and expand access to healthy meals for children, families, and seniors, and advocating to have kosher and halal foods included in the national school lunch program, Senator Gillibrand has been a great friend of New York’s Jewish community and a great friend of Met Council,” added Greenfield.