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Boston Philanthropist Todd Patkin Joins Forces with William Shatner Works to Help Disabled Community in Israel

Contact: Sharon Freedman • JNF New England Zone Director• 617-423-0999 •

August 2, 2006 -- Boston,MA-- Boston entrepreneur and philanthropist Todd Patkin;has proudly joined;the board of directors of the William and Elizabeth Shatner/Jewish National Fund Therapeutic Riding Consortium Endowment for Israel.

“I’m extremely excited to be working with Bill Shatner and others on this great Jewish National Fund project that will help those mentally and physically challenged in Israel,” said Patkin,;a World Chairman Council and JNF Executive Board member.“I believe these therapeutic riding centers can also play a role in easing tensions within the Middle East as we welcome children from Israel;as well as;its neighboring countries.”

Long involved with a few of the therapeutic riding centers that exist in Israel, wanted to do more than just fund one or two centers. The William and Elizabeth Shatner/Jewish National Fund Therapeutic Riding Consortium Endowment for Israel will fund the many therapeutic horseback riding programs that exist throughout the country;The goal is to raise $10 million to support these unique programs, and provide scholarships so that no one who would benefit from therapeutic horseback riding is denied that opportunity because of the cost.

Through the endowment, scholarships will be provided for children of all religious and ethnic backgrounds and from all walks of life. It is an ideal way to facilitate cooperation between Israelis of all backgrounds, Jordanians and Palestinians. The endowment will be overseen by a board of directors who will evaluate expenditures and provide hands-on guidance for the programs. Patkin sits on that board.

Therapeutic riding has been widely used since the early 1950s as a tool for improving the lives of individuals with disabilities.

Individuals with almost any cognitive, physical and/or emotional disability can benefit from therapeutic riding, driving, vaulting, competition or other purposeful, safe and supervised interaction with horses. Because horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner similar to a human gait, riders with physical disabilities often show improvement in verbalization, flexibility, balance, muscle tone, strength, posture, coordination, motor development and emotional well-being. For individuals with mental or emotional disabilities, the unique relationship formed with the horse can lead to increased confidence, patience and self-esteem. The sense of independence and acceptance found through these activities with the horse benefits all.

After meeting with Shatner last week, Patkin said: “Meeting Bill was very special. Not only of course because of who he is but more so because of the incredible warmth and time he gave to me while we toured the set of Boston Legal. Also, he moved me as he explained through countless examples the incredible differences these horses make in these young children’s lives.”

Todd is going to be instrumental in completing the solicitations of national committee members,; said Los Angeles resident Marvin Markowitz, national chair of the consortium. ;I look forward to working with him.;

Captions: Top: William Shatner teams up with Todd Patkin as they discuss therapeutic horseback riding.Bottom: Bill and Elizabeth at one of; the riding centers they visited in Israel.

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JEWISH NATIONAL FUND (JNF) began in 1901 as a dream and vision to reestablish a homeland in Israel for Jewish people everywhere. Jews the world over collected coins in iconic JNF Blue Boxes, purchasing land and planting trees until ultimately, their dream of a Jewish homeland was a reality. JNF gives all generations of Jews a unique voice in building a prosperous future for the land of Israel and its people.

JNF embodies both heart and action; our work is varied in scope but singular in benefit. We strive to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s residents, and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is greening the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid-agriculture techniques, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

JNF is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and United Nations NGO, which continuously earns top ratings from charity overseers.

For more information on JNF, call 888-JNF-0099 or visit


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