JNF Harnesses the Power of Women to Help Sderot’s Children
Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 • email@example.com
May 4, 2009 -- New York, NY -- After achieving great success in the May 2008 “Moms for Israel” campaign that sent more than 500 families away from rocket fire in Sderot for five days of respite, Jewish National Fund (JNF) is again harnessing the vast capacity and heart women have for their counterparts in Israel.
Launching in time for Mother’s Day (May 10), this year’s "Mom for Israel" campaign will again center around women gathering in homes across the country and will again raise money for the children of Sderot but with a twist: the 2009 campaign is also designed to keep them in Sderot. In addition to sending children to camp, the monies raised will also go to purchase new equipment and support sports, arts, dance and educational programs at the brand new Sderot Indoor Recreation Center built by JNF.
In 10 months, JNF did what no one though could be done: built a 21,000-square-foot secure indoor recreation center for the families of Sderot. Dedicated last month on Purim (the next day JNF gave the town its first Purim carnival in eight years), the $5 million project, located in an industrial zone in an old textile warehouse, features recreational and exercise facilities for children ages 16 and under, jungle gym equipment, a soccer field and volleyball court, rock climbing wall, snack area and gift shop, movie and television area, computer labs and more. There are three therapy rooms to help children suffering from trauma.
“During waves of rocket attacks, there was nowhere for kids to go, except to school and then immediately back home,” said JNF President Stanley Chesley. “JNF answered the call by completing this vitally needed project for these families.”
“The ‘Moms for Israel’ campaign is designed to appeal to women,” said Elisa Schindler, JNF’s National Director of Women's Campaign for Israel & Special Campaigns. “Women -- mothers, grandmothers, and aunts -- can relate when they hear that the mothers in Sderot are keeping their children inside, depriving them of normal childhood activities in the hopes that they will be safe from the barrage of rocket attacks.”
Sderot first came under rocket fire from Palestinians in 2001, but since Israel withdrew from Gaza the number of rockets attacks has risen significantly. Even during quieter times, rockets continue to fall.
Studies have shown that at least 75 percent of children ages 4-18 in Sderot suffer from post-traumatic stress, including sleep disorders and severe anxiety. They suffer nightmares, loss of appetite and problems in school. Some 120 children are currently undergoing long-term mental health therapy.
“I went to a Moms event last year,” recalls Judi Elovitz Greenberg, a Newton, MA resident who is scheduled to host an event this year, ”on the very day I sent my youngest child off to sleep-away camp. There I was, feeling this deep personal loss, and hearing about these kids in Sderot who have no opportunity to feel safe, much less have fun. I was missing my son who was only as far away as Maine for a few weeks, but in Sderot, mothers feel the terror of separation every time they send their children off to school. I resolved to do something to help these mothers breathe a little easier as we are all mothers together and share the same fears about our children.”
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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.