Locals hand out kosher goodies for Jewish New Year

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She’s proud!: Be Proud Foundation founder Raisa Chernina speaks during the giveaway on Sept. 18.
Helping hands: Councilman Mark Treyger hands Zina Greengause a food-filled basket.
Shana tova!: Rabbi Mark Zarkh hands a neighbor a basket.

They gave out food as sweet as the New Year!

Community members and local politicos lent a hand passing out baskets stuffed with kosher food just in time for Rosh Hashanah — which celebrates the Jewish New Year — during the Be Proud Foundation’s seventh annual food giveaway at Cats on the Bay on Sept. 18.

Oldsters who may not be able to afford the holiday staples — such as apples, honey, and challah — took home baskets filled with those and other kosher goodies, including herring, pomegranates, and chocolate — the perfect treats to usher in the year 5778, said Be Proud’s founder Raisa Chernina.

“It was absolutely great,” she said. “So many sweet stuff for a sweet year — just you name it.”

Chernina, who immigrated to America from Belarus more than 30 years ago, said her main goal in life is to give back as much as she can to the country that welcomed her with open arms.

“This country opened the door for me, they gave me everything and first they gave me freedom. We started to do this seven years ago — but I said I don’t think, until my last breath, it will be enough I give back to this country,” said Chernina.

And if only everyone can give back as much as Chernina and the Be Proud Foundation then the world would be a better, sweeter place, said a Brighton Beach faith leader.

“I wish there more organizations like the Be Proud Foundation and more caring people,” said Rabbi Mark Zarkh. “I wish we could be as sweet as possible to each other in the upcoming year.”

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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