Preparing for Purim by Giving Back

100 Yeshiva University Students Volunteer at Soup Kitchen in Memory of Alumnus and Friend

On Sunday, March 4, 100 students and alumni of Yeshiva University gathered at the Masbia soup kitchen in Brooklyn to help prepare meals and Purim food packages for more than 500 needy people as part of the Center for the Jewish Future’s First Annual Day of Service in memory of Ilan Tokayer z”l.

YU at Masbia
YU student volunteers prepared meals and food packages at the Masbia soup kitchen as part of CJF's Day of Service.

Tokayer, a YU graduate, passed away a year ago at the age of 25. As a student at Yeshiva College, he had been very involved in volunteer work—participating in numerous charitable initiatives and CJF programs, including Jewish Life Coast to Coast and a humanitarian mission to Nicaragua.

“Ilan was always quick to volunteer and was always the first to roll up his sleeves and help whenever it was needed,” said Aliza Abrams, assistant director of CJF’s Department of Service Learning and Experiential Education. “We chose to volunteer at Masbia because we recognized that the week of Purim is a wonderful time to involve ourselves in the mitzvah of Matanot L’evyonim, giving gifts to the poor, and Masbia does just that. This was a great way to involve ourselves in that mitzvah and to honor Ilan’s memory.”


Noam Tokayer, Ilan’s brother, took part in the Day of Service and said that volunteering at Masbia was a “very appropriate” tribute. He recalled that as a graduate student studying viticulture and enology at UC Davis, Ilan would regularly invite guests over to his home for skillfully prepared Shabbat meals.

“He was able to tie his passion for chessed and community service with his passion for food,” said Noam, a Yeshiva College junior. “I think the programs offered by the CJF help provide students with a sense of perspective. It’s not just about good grades and academics—it’s about being a quality person.”

Check out the Day of Service photo gallery. Read the article in the New York Daily News.

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