From Cradle of Love to Passover Mensch

March 24, 2021

From Cradle of Love to Passover Mensch

Allan Tanenbaum’s journey at JF&CS has included helping to build families through Cradle of Love as well as making sure all Jewish families are able to celebrate Passover. This year, he wants your wheat money.

Maos Chitim, or “wheat money,” has its roots in the Haggadah, which reads, “All who are hungry, let them enter and eat. All who are in need, let them come celebrate Pesach.” In preparation for Passover, it is an age-old Jewish tradition to contribute to funds that ensure that everyone who is in need has the necessary provisions to celebrate the holiday.

For over 50 years, members of our community, now led by Allan Tanenbaum, have raised money for the Maos Chitim Fund at Passover. This year’s goal is to continue to support the community, especially during this challenging time. The need has grown significantly this year, with a 30% increase in requests from families.

“Many of the previous givers of Maos Chitim are now asking for help,” said Tanenbaum.

Maos Chitim is not a committee of JF&CS; it is made up of community members who care about helping those in need over the holidays. The other members of the committee include Dr. Steven Leff, Dr. Miles Brett, Fred Glusman, Kim Cohen, and Rabbi Hillel Konigsburg of Congregation B’nai Torah.

In a letter to the community, the committee asks, “How can we sit at our Seder table without having provided for those who truly need assistance so they too can have a Seder? We continue to experience an increase in the number of families needing assistance, and we don’t expect it to improve in the near future. We realize that the economic situation continues to present challenge for many people in our community and the families helped through the Maos Chitim Fund depend on our support.”

To Tanenbaum, Passover means acting to support the local Atlanta community; giving whatever you can spare to support your neighbors. This year, it’s even more important that we step up and give to those who need it.

Tanenbaum has been leading the Maos Chitim campaign for more than 20 years, first learning about the fund after reading a story in the Atlanta Jewish Times. He immediately called and asked what he could do to help. He hopes that his legacy will inspire others to “light the match” and contribute to this important fund, expressing a wish that this tradition will be passed down to many future generations.

Tanenbaum has also been involved in JF&CS as a past board member and officer, donor, corporate sponsor, and notably, the adoption attorney for Cradle of Love, when the adoption program was in full swing. He accompanied social worker Judy Golden, to the hospitals to meet the birth mothers, and make sure all the paperwork was “Kosher.” The baby would then be in foster care with a family for 10 days, and he and Golden would bring the baby to its new parents.

“They called me “Daddy Stork,” he recalled.

“My one requirement is I had to be the one to buy the baby that first outfit. It was the outfit in which the baby would meet its new parents. I learned from my mother-in-law, Rose, you had to do it right. It had to come to come from Neiman’s or Saks,” said Tanenbaum.

“That began my journey with JF&CS. From there, I was on the board for many years, and was an officer. When I rolled off the board, I always did the Maos Chitim appeal which connected me to JF&CS in a different way.”

Tanenbaum feels it is most important to get more of the community involved. He is also hoping someone from the younger generation will see this article, and be inspired to help lead the fund, as he did.

“It’s really critical that the next generation joins in. It’s great to see the names I know on the list, but I need to see their adult children’s names. I am hoping someone will see this, and decide they want to help too,” he said.

“Rather than focusing on a few large sources of funds, we want more people to participate. What gives me a greater sense of accomplishment is the amount of people that give, rather than the amount. This is a community obligation. We want more people to be involved, regardless of the amount. This does not take the place of donations to JF&CS or Federation. Every dollar we collect goes to provide food to people.”

Only 1% of the Jewish Community has contributed this year. We need to get more people to participate. Keeping Passover is more expensive than ever. All it takes to make a difference is $18.

We are helping 600+ families this year. Please join us.