Asking a Jew to eat is, well, preaching to the converted. But asking him or her to eat so that others may do so as well is a different story.
On March 3, WIZO New Jersey is hoping that hungry locals will choose to eat at one of the 25 or so kosher restaurants participating in Eat for Israel, a new program to raise funds for underprivileged children.
Galina Shenfeld, chairwoman of WIZO New Jersey, said that this is the first year that the group is trying the program locally. “Florida did it, and they had a good response,” she said. “We would like to try it here.”
Under this program, participating restaurants — from Teaneck to West Orange to Atlantic City — will donate 10 percent of their profits on that day to WIZO, to be used to provide hot meals to children at the organization’s day care centers in Israel.
“The children are there from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” Dr. Shenfeld said. “They get three hot meals a day. All the money [we collect] will go to meals for these children.”
“The majority of participating restaurants are in Teaneck,” she added, noting that the event, originally scheduled for March 6, was moved to Thursday, March 3, because restaurant owners told her that Sunday was not a good day for the project.
“We’re asking people to look for the posters in restaurant windows” letting them know that the restaurant has enlisted in the venture, Dr. Shenfeld said. WIZO has also created a donations page for the day, for those who would like to contribute but aren’t able — or hungry enough — to go to a restaurant on that day.
“We’re asking people to support Israel during a difficult time,” said the WIZO head. “It’s the middle of winter and some families are struggling to feed their children.”
Jonathan Gellis, owner of the Teaneck Doghouse — which calls itself “the only kosher sports restaurant in town” — said the restaurant has been used as a venue to promote Israeli products “from the beginning. Seventy percent of our wines are Israeli wines, and we’re excited to have found a new beer from Israel.”
Mr. Gellis said that “everyone in this community understands the need to support Israel, and I would hope that every restaurant would join [this project]. We’re not looking to stand out but to participate like everyone should. This is not a marketing event. We’re hoping that it’s communitywide.”
He hopes, he said, that local residents “will choose this night to go out and enjoy themselves, and by going out, help a good cause. We’re not really looking to lead, but to participate, because this is important.”