This past summer, we rose to the challenge of supporting our brethren in Israel, by not only contributing more than $130,000 to the national Stop the Sirens Campaign and $10,000 to provide backpacks to the soldiers in Maor Mintz’s (our J-Camp Shaliach) Israeli reserve unit in Gaza, but also showing tremendous solidarity during both July’s Interfaith Service for Peace and then the Rhode Island Community Rally.
The crisis in Gaza left our Israel brothers and sisters in a vulnerable state–emotionally and politically. Yet your generosity, along with humanitarian aid through Alliance partner agencies such as the American Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Agency for Israel, ensured the safety and well-being of vulnerable Israelis impacted by the crisis.
To provide some examples of your dollars at work: Emergency phone chains were activated so our partners could provide regulars “check-ins” on the individuals they serve. Hot meals, medicine, and other necessities were distributed to the elderly and those with disabilities rendered home-bound by ongoing rocket fire. The JDC also delivered commodes to those confined to safe rooms and shelters. More than 1,000 activity kits filled with arts and craft supplies, card games, balls, building blocks, and other recreational materials were brought to bomb shelters.
One of the most life affirming stories I encountered was that the JDC distributed more than 300 stuffed dogs named Hibuki (Hebrew for “huggy”). Children are often the first to pay the price of war, so Hibuki dolls are used to treat children traumatized during missile attacks. The plush puppies have a proven positive effect, and thanks to the funds that you provided, these children had a way to help overcome their fears.
This is what we, the greater Rhode Island community, did over the summer. Our unity, support, solidarity, and consideration helped repair the word. This is what tikkun olam is all about. Just think about what we’ll continue to do, not only in Israel, but here across Rhode Island as well!
I am filled with optimism, and I am energized when I envision the future. So, as we commence our 2015 Alliance Annual Campaign, please let me thank each of you for your past, current and future support of all of our fundraising efforts to strengthen Jewish life locally and globally.
Shabbat Shalom and my best wishes as always,