I was six years old during the Yom Kippur War. I remember my father sitting on the edge of his bed watching the news and asking him who was winning the war as if he were watching a football game. Millions of dollars were quickly raised by American Jewry to support Israel in her time of need. That generation did what they needed to do and now it is our turn. (Thank you to those of you who wrote checks then and will be writing checks now.)
The stories from Eshkol, our partnership region on the Gaza border, are horrific:
- A girl who visited our community with other teenagers, and whose family hosted our teens in Eshkol is now an orphan.
- One of their teachers who chaperoned that trip is now a hostage.
- The mother-in-law of our partnership director is also a hostage.
- One of our friends is overseeing a group relocated to Eilat.
- Another of our friends is overseeing a group in Ein Gedi.
Israelis are doing their part. My son lives in an apartment in Tel Aviv with four friends, three of whom have been called up for duty. Levi and Isaac have given up their apartment for a displaced family from the border, figuring that it would be easier for the two of them to couch surf than a traumatized family. Food and supplies are being collected. Those who can are picking up extra work hours to make up for the depleted work force.
Locally, we can help in two ways. The first is with public perception. Many news stories demonize Israel and praise the terrorists. Social media posts have been ruthless. Federation has been working with the media and with the school districts to get better information into the public. We’ve formed an emergency ad hoc committee working on the distribution of lawn signs, bracelets, posters, and ribbons. They are working on rallies and other public events.
The second way is through our philanthropy. The case for giving has never been clearer. We have people to resettle and heal. We have orphans. We have lands, crops, and produce which have been decimated. This is our responsibility, and this is our time. Jewish Federations of North America has set a goal of $500 million and tasked us with raising our proportional share of $2.1 million, nearly as much as we raise with our annual campaign (which we still need to raise in order to take care of our other responsibilities.)
We need 100% participation to make this happen. For those who can, we need people to match their annual gifts with an emergency gift, and from those select few, we need even more. This won’t be easy, but I have every confidence that we will get it done. Please visit our resource page for up-to-date information. We’ll stay current with the status of the campaign, local happenings, local interviews, stories from Eshkol, daily briefings from our Israel office, program recordings, the need for funds, and where our funds are going. You will, of course, be able to donate from this page as well.
This is our time! 100% participation! $2.1 million! We can do it!