The Organization Elevating Yom Tov Tables All Around Crown Heights

Photo: Zaks and Co. via

Keren Anash, directed by Crown Heights activist R’ Yosef Yitzchak Kratz, has taken a cause dear to the Rebbe’s heart and expanded it into a community-wide organization: bringing joy and relief to Anash families every Yom Tov.

By reporter

Yom Tov is a joyous time, but for families struggling financially, it can be a cause of great stress and heartache. The lists of extra expenses can tip an already stretched budget over the limit and throw a family into debt and ruin.

Keren Anash, once called ‘Keren Aniyim,’ was started by the Frierdiker Rebbe in 5700 (1940) to help locals, and the fund was entrusted to the gabboim of 770. Throughout the years, it was managed by 770 gabboim R’ Yochanan Gordon and R’ Shia Pinson. The cause was urgently important to the Rebbe who wrote letters praising the fund and encouraged people to give to the fund’s pushkas before yomim tovim.

Ten years ago, 770 manager R’ Yosef Yitzchak Kratz got involved in expanding the fund, and ever since, the fund has grown tremendously to match the rising needs of our community. The name was changed to Keren Anash, which as the implies, is a fund to help the community support each other and allow others to enter yom tov with joy in their hearts.

“When I started,” explains Rabbi Kratz, “the Keren was supporting thirty families. Now, this Pesach, we will be helping 350 families! Purim we helped 250 Crown Heights families. Our goal is to make every family celebrate yom tov with an abundance of food and beautiful new clothes for all the members that need.”

When people apply for help, they fill out a form with their basic information. But after years of working within the community, the staff at Keren Anash know each family’s personal needs. They distribute coupons for Crown Heights stores selling food, clothes, meat, and wine.

“Because Crown Heights is a great community that offers support in many ways,” explains Rabbi Kratz, “families that are dealing with divorce, widows, or families struggling financially, come live here to be surrounded by fellow Yidden who can pitch in and help them with their situations. Some families have many children and the cost of living is exorbitant. These people we can really help in a dignified manner.”

When Rabbi Kratz is notified of a family that is struggling but is ashamed to get help, he quietly goes to the supermarket they shop at and pays off their outstanding fees without their knowledge. The Rebbe would ask every year to send resources to more and more families to ensure that their yom tov will be a joyful experience.

“Our goal is not that everyone should just have the bare minimum, rather we give so that people can have nice food and beautiful clothing so they feel the joy and harchava,” he says.

This Pesach, Keren Anash will be distributing $150,000 worth of meat, wine, groceries, and clothing to our families in Crown Heights.

To join in this special mitzvah of Ma’os Chitim, click here.

In keeping in line with the Rabbonim's policies for websites, we do not allow comments. However, our Rabbonim have approved of including input on articles of substance (Torah, history, memories etc.)

We appreciate your feedback. If you have any additional information to contribute to this article, it will be added below.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

advertise package