JNF Dedicates First Secure Indoor Recreation Center in Sderot
Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 • email@example.com
March 10, 2009 -- Sderot, Israel -- On Tuesday, March 10, the festive Purim holiday ushered in a new era for the 5,000 children of Sderot and neighboring communities. A new $5-million recreational facility, wholly funded by Jewish National Fund (www.jnf.org), formally opened in the Israeli town of Sderot which has taken hits from thousands of Gaza-launched missiles for the past eight years.
A special dedication attended by Sderot Mayor David Bouskila, JNF-U.S. Chairman of the Board Ronald Lauder, President Stanley Chesley, CEO Russell Robinson and many area children and their parents took place amid Sderot kids enjoying their first experience in the recreation center.
The children were thrilled with the opening of the safe play center. Sivan, 10, exclaimed, “The only time I felt safe for years was when I went to play with my cousins in Kiryat Gat. Starting today, I feel safe playing here near my home in Sderot.” Shirlee, 7, said, “School and home, school and home. That's all I ever went to, just sometimes the supermarket. Starting now, my mother says I can come here all the time to play.” Eyal, 15, gushed, “I can't believe it! A football [soccer] field inside. This is fantastic.”
The unique facility, nearly 2,000 sq.m. (21,000 sq.ft.) in size, was created in a former textile factory. It can accommodate up to 500 people at a time and will realize the vision of the JNF Board of Directors in the USA.
Mayor Bouskila presented Chesley with a key to the city and joked that Chesley could now enter any home in Sderot.
Chesley pointed out that Sderot is an important symbol for Israel and the entire world and that the area’s children have the right to play free from fears of attack. “The city has not evacuated and the residents continue to live their lives,” said Chesley. “During waves of rocket attacks, there is nowhere for kids to go, except to school and then immediately back home. JNF-U.S. has answered the call in its own way by completing this vitally needed project – the country’s safest building – for the children of Sderot.”
The indoor site is divided into two areas – part intended for infants and toddlers with another section designed for children in elementary and high school. It will also be used by seniors during the morning hours. The site will boast a media and computer center (that doubles as a disco in the evening), climbing wall, mock “shopping mall” for dolls, teddy bears and action figures, birthday party area and a cafeteria as well an enclosed mini-soccer field. Psychologists will be on-site for intervention with children and families in need of their services. A medical station will also be available.
The secure play structure exceeds Israel Defense Forces building standards and regulations, and is constructed with 100% Israeli materials. Since it would be unfeasible to protect the entire building against incoming rocket attacks with a heavy concrete roof, the structure is designed with multiple reinforced shelters that also serve as functional interior areas. The compartmentalized shelters, made up of 300 tons of iron, provide instant protection when alarms alerting an imminent attack give a 15-second advance warning.
An additional shelter outside the site for children and their families waiting to enter has also been built. Supporting plans call for a free hourly shuttle bus that will transport families to and from the secure play center.
For more information, contact Jodi Bodner at 212-879-9305 ext. 221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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 www.jnf.org.