Charity Spotlight: A ‘Light to the Nations’

Organization: Chai Arizona

Leadership: President & co-founder of Ezras Cholim and the Arizona Kosher Pantry — Yecheskel Friedman


Chai Arizona is the umbrella organization for Ezras Cholim, Tomchei Shabbat and the Arizona Kosher Pantry. The organization prides itself on strong relationships within the Jewish, Muslim, Christian and secular communities and serves everyone, regardless of religion or affiliation.  


Chai Arizona is committed to inclusivity, partnerships and Kosher law as it works to support the lives of thousands of Arizonans facing hunger, illness and hardship.

Annual Budget: Approximately $300,000

Fun Fact About the Organization:

A recent community event was a home run for Chai Arizona. “We were very excited to be a part of Jewish Community Day, when the Diamondbacks played at Chase Field,” said Yecheskel Friedman, president of the board of directors. “We were proud to serve Kosher food from our food truck. All of the monies raised were turned back to the pantry to support our programs.”

Program Highlights:

Ezras Cholim serves precooked meals to community members in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes or private residences. It also loans durable medical equipment at no charge.

Tomchei Shabbat distributes Kosher food baskets so the sick and needy can celebrate the Sabbath with dignity.

The Arizona Kosher Pantry is the only certified Kosher food pantry in Arizona. Open five days a week, it distributes over 150,000 pounds of food to the general public each year to combat food insecurity. Individuals and families can access the pantry once a week for fresh food and non-perishables. 

Recent Challenges:

Ezras Cholim, Tomchei Shabbat and the Arizona Kosher Pantry have grown as the needs of the community demanded. And as gas, rent and food prices have increased in the last few years, so has the number of community members needing services. Fortunately, with thoughtful stewardship, Chai Arizona has successfully anticipated needs and continued providing services to the underserved.


The Arizona Kosher Pantry supports a food truck that goes to local parks to provide cooked meals to the unsheltered and undernourished. They hope to continue to deliver those programs, as well as additional services. “We look forward to getting back to the parks and serving breakfast or lunch to the unsheltered. Now that the weather has cooled down, look for us at a park near you,” Friedman said.

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