Jewish nonprofit provides halal meat to Afghan refugees and others


The Hebrew word “masbia” means satisfied. Fittingly, it’s also the name of a Jewish non-profit organization that came to Greenville yesterday to provide filling amounts of free halal meat to newly arrived Afghan immigrants, among others.

Masbia, which describes itself as a “network of soup kitchens and pantries”, in partnership with Welcome to Jersey City, which provides educational, employment and material support to refugees, asylum seekers and asylum seekers in the Jersey City area.

Standing outside the Ocean Live Poultry halal butcher, a Masbia volunteer named Naftali, from Teaneck, explained why he was standing next to the bustling meat market on a harsh winter day. “I am the son of an immigrant who arrived here after World War II. We care about immigrants.

Masbia Executive Director Alexander Rapaport said: “The idea is that we are like-minded people… we try to do good and share with people who are currently under duress”.

Alexander Rapaport with two Afghans

Alexander Rapaport with Ahmad Farid Halimi, center.

The group had previously provided food to Afghans staying at Fort Dix in New Hanover Township, New Jersey. However, Rapaport lamented that they were unable to meet the recipients. “We felt a bit disconnected. We wanted to talk to the recipients themselves and make sure it goes to the right people. So we connected with Welcome Home Jersey City.

Masbia is inspired by a representative sample of the Jewish community. “We’re a mishmash,” Rapaport said. Rappaport is Hasidic while Naftali identifies as “modern Orthodox”.

The event was extended to other refugee communities. Welcome Home program director Kenna Mateos was very complimentary. “I thought it was really generous that they opened it not only to the Afghan and Syrian refugees who had arrived recently, but also to our existing families who are here.” She continued. “When I mentioned that there were other families who are not served by Welcome Home he was very generous and said ‘send them too. “

Manija Mayel, an Afghan-American from Jersey City, whose parents arrived during the first wave of Afghan immigration in the 1990s, lent a hand.

Yesterday, Mayel accompanied several newly arrived Afghans to the event and brought food to several families who were unable to attend.

Chickens at Ocean Live Poultry.  Photo by Stefano

Chickens at Ocean Live Poultry. Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Chef by profession, Mayel had contacted the founder of Welcome Home, Alain Mentha, to get involved. “It’s in my garden now. We must not close our eyes.

Mayel sees symbolism in interfaith food donation. “I thought it was amazing that it came from a Jewish organization because there are so many cultural and religious similarities in some ways. It was symbolic that they understood the importance of having halal meat.

“For Muslims and Jews alike, charity is a great pillar of religion,” she added.

One of Mayel’s charges was Ahmad Farid Halimi, a 33-year-old Afghan journalist who arrived in Jersey City a month ago with his wife and two young children. Said Halimi, “We have nothing. We left everything in Afghanistan. It is humanity, that they may feel our pain.


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