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An Interview with Mitch Chupak, Director of Development for The Jaffa Institute

It is a particularly busy time of the year at The Jaffa Institute in Israel, as it oversees the packing and delivery of Passover food parcels to those in need in some of the most impoverished areas in the country, says Mitch Chupak.

In his role as Director of Development of this 40-year-old multi-service social agency, Chupak is an indefatigable advocate for the underprivileged in Israel and, more specifically, for The Jaffa Institute’s target communities which include Jaffa, South Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, Yehud and Beth Shemesh.

In addition to the many hats he wears at The Jaffa Institute and elsewhere, Chupak is a board member of Canadian Friends of the Jaffa Institute. 

“The Jaffa Institute’s mission is to support the diverse individuals we serve in our catchment area and thereby assist in breaking the cycle of poverty in Israel,” he explained in an interview with Canadian Friends of the Jaffa Institute. “We are able to fulfill this mandate thanks to the generous support of donors and dedicated volunteers in Israel and around the world.”

The poverty challenges in Israel are monumental, says Chupak. “The not-for-profit sector estimates that some 23% of Israeli citizens are in need.” Food insecurity is a huge issue, he adds. It is impossible, he says, “for children to function and study on an empty stomach.”

The Jaffa Institute’s high profile Passover Products Distribution Project, as well as its food drives for other key Jewish holidays, form part of its overall strategy to address food insecurity, he says.

On a regular basis, the organization provides fresh sandwiches and fruit to children in schools for the mid-morning break, says Chupak. In addition, it delivers dry food packages every two weeks to 700 families. These recipients include Holocaust survivors and Ukrainian refugee families.  

For Passover 2023/5783, (which begins on the eve of April 5), The Jaffa Institute is aiming to deliver 3500 to 5000 special Passover food packages to individuals, families, Holocaust survivors and Ukrainian refugees, “so that they too can enjoy this holiday.” 

In mid-March Canadian Friends of the Jaffa Institute launched its complementary  Passover Food Drive. CFJI, is hoping to raise sufficient funds to provide 100 families in Israel with Passover Food Packages, through The Jaffa Institute.


We took a few moments to learn more from Mitch about what goes into this significant undertaking.

Q: What are the logistics on the ground in Israel for the Passover Food Project?

A: The Jaffa Institute staff, with the assistance of volunteers from Israel and abroad, successfully completed the packing of these Passover food products in mid-March, says Chupak. This considerable task was performed in the organization’s well-designed Food Distribution Center, which is part of a conventional office building in Jaffa, that also serves as the organization’s headquarters.

Because Passover food needs to be kosher for the holiday, these products are stored separately in the Food Distribution Center, says Chupak.


Q: What is in these Passover food packages? 

A: Chupak says: “All good things that are the traditional staples for this joyous holiday including oil, matzah, cans of fish (such as tuna and bottles of gefilte fish), canned vegetables, macaroons, cakes and cookies — as well as a bottle wine that is kosher for Passover.” 

Once the food is packed, the next step is for Israeli volunteers to make the deliveries. Despite his busy schedule, Chupak often goes along with the volunteers to deliver the food parcels and visit with the recipients. 

He recently accompanied the Chief Executive Officer of one of Israel’s major insurance companies, on such a delivery. “We climbed four flights of stairs in this dilapidated building and when we reached the apartment and he knocked on the door, we heard a kid cry out through the door: “Mommy, mommy the food has arrived.” At which point, says Chupak, the insurance executive burst into tears.” 


How can you help? 

Learn more about CFJI here

Consider a donation of any size to support food security 


Please consider sharing this article with others who may be inspired to support CFJI’s food distribution projects with The Jaffa Institute.


*This article is based on an interview conducted by Canadian Friends of the Jaffa Institute in mid-March.

Help Give a Child in Tel Aviv-Jaffa a Safe & Happy Summer

Summer is risky for children living in poverty. The lack of a daily framework that keeps them physically active and mentally stimulated often leads to social exclusion, widening academic gaps, and exposure to negative influences — issues that at-risk children already face in their daily lives.


Many of the children and families in our programs rely on us for a daily hot meal, educational enrichment, social stimulation, and therapeutic support. 


That’s why we provide a summer program for hundreds of at-risk youth from disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Greater South Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

With a full program of sport, music, art, STEM activities, and field trips that would normally be inaccessible for these children, our summer program gives them an opportunity for positive growth and exploration in a safe environment, and with staff that they trust.


Your donation of $650.00 will send a child to camp this summer.

Imagine the impact that your gift can have on the life of a child!


Any amount will help support these and other programs that enrich the lives of these children now and throughout the year.


A portion of funds raised may be used to support our operations.

Let’s help them feel the taste of the holiday

Kaleb is a 9-year-old boy from a low-income neighbourhood in South Tel Aviv. His father works day and night, picking up various low-paying jobs to support his family, while his mother takes care of their five younger children.


Last year, a program coordinator at the Jaffa Daled After-School Center noticed a young boy who he had never seen before, standing on his own behind all the other children outside the Center. The boy was wearing formal black oversized loafers and worn-out clothing. Staff welcomed him and offered him a hot meal, which he immediately inhaled, as if he had not eaten in days.

Staff members were concerned for his well-being and notified the director of the Center, who then located the boy’s mother. She explained that her family fled from the conflict in Ethiopia to Israel with no money and has been struggling to make ends meet. She said Kaleb’s shoes were his father’s that he borrowed because they could not afford another pair. She tearfully admitted, “my children often go to sleep at night with an empty stomach.”

It was clear to the staff that we had to help this family. They wrote down the mother’s contact information and, that same week, the family received their first food package. Afterward, Kaleb’s family continued to receive bi-monthly food packages from the Jaffa Institute’s Food Distribution Center and Kaleb became a regular participant at the Jaffa Daled After-School Center.

“In each and every generation a person must see himself as if he had personally left Egypt…”

-The Haggadah


Please join us in making Passover a joyous one for all those in need. Chag Pesach Sameach and thank you!


A portion of funds raised may be used to support our operations.

Help Us Feed Those in Need During This Festival of Freedom

Dear Friends,

With Passover fast approaching, Canadian Friends of the Jaffa Institute’s food drive to provide a package of traditional products to those in need in Israel is in full swing.

Our food packages are designed to enable families, individuals and Holocaust survivors in the low-income areas of South Tel Aviv and its environs, to celebrate Passover more meaningfully.

This year, we are extending this mitzvah to Ukrainian refugees, who are seeking to make their home in Israel.

Each food package costs $118.


A gift of $118 or more today, will help to fulfill this. The Passover food parcel deliveries bring so much joy to the recipients. It reassures them that they are part of the community and that there are people who care. 

Please join us in making their Passover a joyous one.

Chag Pesach Sameach and thank you!


A portion of funds raised may be used to support our operations.



Dear Friends,

Passover, a festival during which freedom, family and hospitality are celebrated, takes on a particular significance this year, given the plight of Jews in war torn Ukraine.

Many Ukrainian Jews have fled to Israel and Canadian Friends of the Jaffa Institute (CFJI) will be extending food support to them for this Passover. This is in addition to the ongoing food assistance, we provide to many living in South Tel Aviv and its environs.

Our Passover food packages contain the traditional staples, associated with this festival of renewal. Each package costs: $118.


Together let us make our presence felt in Israel, during this Passover!

How do you find hope, when you sit down to an empty table, night after night and recognize that you lack the basic necessities for a meaningful Passover meal?


This is the sad reality of Hannah, a Holocaust survivor originally from Bulgaria, who lives alone in a studio apartment in Jaffa. A widow for more than 10 years, Hannah has nevertheless managed to maintain an active social life, with her neighbours, and friends. CFJI admires her resilience and seeks to reinforce her sense of community and belonging. 

We are hoping, with your generous and caring support of $118 or more, to enhance Hannah’s celebration of Passover, as well as enhance the celebration of many others, who like Hannah, are in need.

Please join us in this important mitzvah.

Please join us in this important mitzvah.



A portion of funds raised may be used to support our operations.


Let’s Help Them Celebrate Passover!

Help at-risk families celebrate Passover

Yasmin is 10 years old. Like other children, she attends school every day, enjoys playing outside with her friends at recess, and has big dreams for her future – to be a teacher. The only difference between Yasmin and her peers is that when the other students go outside to eat their lunches, Yasmin does not always have a sandwich to eat. And when she returns home from school, she does not always have her next meal waiting for her. When she goes to sleep at night, she is often hungry.


Before the pandemic, Yasmin’s mother worked at a low-wage job. Her father picked up sporadic shifts in the construction industry, but this wasn’t enough to support their family. The COVID-19 pandemic left the family with no income or food. Her mother lost her job because the hotel closed. When the Jaffa Institute saw the family’s suffering last March, following a report from the Tel Aviv municipality, they were able to receive a food package for Passover. 


A year later, the family has lost everything. Yasmin’s father passed away, her mother still has not been able to find a job and is fighting to get support from welfare services to no avail. 


Yasmin and other families need our help now. 

As Passover nears, this family, and the many others who have lost their primary sources of income this year, cannot afford to feed their loved ones or celebrate Passover traditions.


Nutritional security is critical to helping impoverished individuals, like Yasmin, escape the cycle of intergenerational poverty and achieve their dreams.


Hundreds of thousands of families across Israel are unable to afford basic needs, including food, healthcare, education, and housing.

Your donation can bring hope to

the more than 3,500 families and elderly individuals,

many of whom are Holocaust survivors,

without food for the holidays.

Each package costs just $118 CAD. 

Click the link below to donate today!

A portion of funds raised may be used to support our operations.

Order Your Passover Cards to Help Feed Families

More than A Thoughtful Card 


Did you know that when you order our beautiful Passover cards you are helping to feed families in Israel? 

Each card purchased goes towards providing a healthy food box to a family or Holocaust survivor living below the poverty line in Israel.

This year, with your support, the Jaffa Institute will help to provide 3500 food boxes to those in need. 

It’s simple and easy to send a meaningful message to your loved ones with our customized Passover Cards. 


Style 1 

Style 2

Cards will include your personal note and will be mailed in time for Passover, which begins Friday, April 15th.



Cards can be sent internationally

There are two beautiful styles to choose from. 

Please be sure to indicate Style 1 or Style 2 when ordering.

Place your order by email to or contact Jennifer at (647) 402-8032 

Please place your order by Wednesday, April 13th to ensure delivery


How to pay:

Payments can be handled by credit card online on our website: or over the phone by Visa, MC, Amex, e-transfer sent to or cheques mailed to us at our address below:

Canadian Friends of the Jaffa Institute

3080 Yonge Street, Suite 6060, Toronto, Ontario, M4N 3N


Wishing you and your family a Chag Pesach Sameach!


Lighting Up Lives: The Science Mobile Program

The Canadian Friends of The Jaffa Institute  is proud to support the Science Mobile Program, which aims to introduce disadvantaged children to the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Delivered on our behalf by The Jaffa Institute in Israel, this innovative program provides children from diverse backgrounds in Jaffa, South Tel-Aviv, Bat Yam and Yehud, with state-of-the-art learning tools in these disciplines. 

Recreational vehicle trailers are out-fitted with cutting-edge technologies and these vehicles travel on a rotating schedule to the After-School Educational Enrichment Centers for at-risk youth, as well as to underserved local public schools.

There are three types of these traveling laboratories: The Science Mobile; The Space Mobile; and a Mobile Cooking laboratory. The aim of the latter is to provide participants with opportunities to discover the wonders of science, through cooking. 

Each Science Mobile vehicle accommodates 10 students, allowing the instructor to provide this small group with individualized support.

Click here to learn more about this program.

Lighting Up Lives: Esther’s Story


Esther, a 15-year-old girl in the ninth grade, is in her second year at Stepping Stone

Her parents emigrated to Israel from a country in Africa about 15 years ago. Esther’s father works in security for long hours and is hardly at home. Her mother works mainly in cleaning. She has two brothers aged 6 and 3. 

Last year, Esther came to Stepping Stone and her behavior was characterized by extreme shyness, minimal social interaction and low participation in the Centre’s activities. The Stepping Stone team worked diligently to get closer to Esther, and slowly she opened up. Yet she continued to stay quiet in group forums. 

At the beginning of this year, Esther shared with a Stepping Stone social worker that she experienced violence at home, both physically and mentally. She began to give an open account of the past several years and the difficulty that the violent responses, especially from her mother, posed to her. Despite these challenges Esther is an outstanding student at a reputed school in Tel Aviv, and she takes great responsibility in helping her brothers grow up, making sure to help foster a warm home environment for them. 

Thanks to this safe environment at Stepping Stone, Esther’s willingness to share her story has allowed her to be more open and expressive with her feelings, something she had not been able to do for a long time. According to Esther, she had never, until her time at Stepping Stone, told anyone about the violence she experienced at home. Just being able to open up made her feel more safe and secure. 

Today, several months after she shared her story, the Centre’s staff are seeing positive changes in Esther, both emotionally and socially. She now makes connections with her peers, laughs more frequently and is more at ease. Esther continues to share her feelings with the social worker in the Centre and has agreed to ask for help or to consult with the staff when she needs to. According to her, the violence at home has stopped, following a police investigation. 

Today, Esther is more expressive, enjoys personal hobbies such as writing and playing, and allows herself to strive to develop and advance. Stepping Stone has enabled her to open up about a painful secret and to receive protection and security from caring professionals. She also enjoys the ongoing encouragement to develop her own path and to be uniquely herself.


This multifaceted program addresses the specific and serious needs of at-risk teenage girls, ages 13-15. Participants in the program are referred to Stepping Stone by municipal social welfare authorities in the areas where the program is offered. The majority of these teenage girls come from homes with parents, who for various reasons, cannot provide them with either financial or emotional support. The Stepping Stone program’s unique structure ensures that staff members are able to provide each teenage girl with individual attention and substantial academic and emotional support. 

Click here to learn more about this program.

*Names and photos have been changed to protect the privacy of these individuals.

Women in the Desert Trip October 31-November 4

Women in the Desert – Embark on a life-changing experience in the Arava

Join us for a journey of renewal, recharging and reflecting in Israel. Discover how to live each day with more mindfulness, lightness and ease.

New dates will be shared in 2022.




Our regular emails keep you informed about the CFJI programs to support those in need in Israel and the impact of your giving on their lives.