Sderot’s Kids are Smiling
Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 • firstname.lastname@example.org
August 2008 -- Through Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) “Moms for Israel” Campaign, several hundred children from the town of Sderot, Israel and its neighboring communities are being given respite from rocket attacks from Gaza. They are being brought to the Nes Harim Field Center outside of Jerusalem for five days of summer fun. And it is most appreciated.
“Life back at home is not so simple," said 15-year-old Sapir. "We worry the whole day about when the next bomb will land and who will be injured. It is a hard situation, especially for us kids. I am having the time of my life here and so grateful to those who gave us this vacation.”
Said 10-year-old Itzik: “My mother was wounded by a Kassam missile that fell right on our house. She got shrapnel in her head and legs, and one of her legs still hurts her. Nothing happened to me, because I was at Boy Scouts at the time.”
Ma’ayan, a 9-year-old, chimed in. “My house also got hit by a Kassam! I live just three houses away from Itzik. Our neighborhood is one of Gaza’s favorite targets, because it’s shaped like a banana, the houses are close to each other, so they have a good chance of scoring a bulls-eye. Even though it’s been quiet for a while, it’s really great to get away."
Ten-year old Ron said he would love to come back again: “At home in Sderot, we were told that Jewish communities from the United States invited us here so that we could have a break from the Kassams. It’s really great but I wish we could come here for other reasons!”
Perched up in a tree, his friend Liron summed it up: “I’ve just been enjoying every minute of this!”
“You know, you really never get used to living with missiles being fired at you every day,” said 15-year old Ravit Shoshani, “but Sderot is our home and we’re not going anywhere."
JNF’s "Moms for Israel" campaign, is a collaborative effort that includes One Israel Fund, UJA-Federation of New York and Connecticut, Northern New Jersey Federation, One Family Fund, Jewish Agency for Israel, and Art for Israel. To date, JNF has raised nearly $275,000 for the children of Sderot.
And though the summer may be ending, JNF’s commitment has not. To continue to directly impact the lives of the children of Sderot and provide them with the chance to simply be kids, JNF has embarked on a massive project: building the largest indoor playground in Israel.
The all-inclusive Indoor Recreational Center, similar to New York City's Chelsea Piers, will provide Sderot's youth with a place to have fun, connect with friends, enjoy stimulating classes, and be children, beyond the conflict. A place to feel strong and free, away from their daily helplessness and anxiety. And parents will have peace of mind knowing that their children are playing and learning in an environment that is safe and secure.
The 21,000 square-foot state-of-the-art indoor playground, a $5 million project, will be located in an industrial zone and feature recreational and exercise facilities for children ages 16 and under, including jungle gym equipment, a soccer field and volleyball court, a rock climbing wall, a snack area and gift shop, a movie and television area, a disco, swing sets, a merry-go-round, and more. The facility will be under the supervision of the Israeli Army Engineers for Security Clearances and the educational arm of the IDF will provide after-school tutoring services. There will also be three therapy rooms to help children suffering from trauma.
For more information, please visit www.jnf.org/sderotplayground
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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.
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