London Jews who spent Sunday in community centre JW3 packing gifts for homeless shelters for the Jewish festival of Purim have said their aim is to spread some festive cheer to the city’s needy.

The ‘Bring Purim Cheer’ initiative is a joint project between Mitzvah Day and Mishkan, which is co-led by Boston-born Rabbi Naftali Brawer, formerly of Borehamwood and Elstree shul, who was once tipped as a possible replace Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks. He now runs Mishkan with his wife, Dina, who is currently studying to become an orthodox rabbi at Yeshivat Maharat in New York. 

“It’s very simple,” said Naftali. “We give lots of goodies and gifts to our friends and neighbours, like hamantaschen (filled cookies or pastries), then each group is designated a shelter that they will go and visit, and we’re going to bring some joy.”

More than 30 volunteers, led Rabbi Naftali and Dina Brawer, took part in a joint Mishkan and Mitzvah Day project for Purim - packing 150 parcels of goodies which were then taken to St Mungo's homeless shelters and a Catholic Church soup kitchen around London.

More than 30 volunteers, led Rabbi Naftali and Dina Brawer, took part in a joint Mishkan and Mitzvah Day project for Purim – packing 150 parcels of goodies which were then taken to St Mungo’s homeless shelters and a Catholic Church soup kitchen around London.

Jacob Forman, project co-ordinator for Mitzvah Day, said the packed mishloach manot (gift packages) would be going to homeless shelters like St. Mungo’s, with whom the Jewish community has worked for years.

“It’s really nice to be able to continue that relationship that we’ve built up and to go back throughout the year to spend time with them,” he said.