JNF Launches Emergency Campaign for Southern Israel
Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 • firstname.lastname@example.org
January 6, 2009 -- New York, NY -- In response to the ongoing rocket attacks that have plagued southern Israel and the IDF’s incursion into Gaza, Jewish National Fund (JNF) has announced Operation Security Blanket: Southern Israel, an emergency campaign empowering American Jews to provide immediate relief for Israeli children and their families living in areas under rocket attack along the Gaza border.
Proceeds will benefit the community in several ways:
“Kassam rockets are designed to scare people off and get them to leave their homes and move away,” said Stanley M. Chesley, JNF president. “But the people of Sderot are strong and our work is designed to give them a future and a sense of pride.”
The $5 million secure indoor recreation center was conceived of in May when it was clear that Sderot’s streets were empty; children had no where to play. The center, which is set to open in time for Purim 2009 (late February/early March), is designed to alleviate the trauma that dictates their lives and give back a sense of normalcy to children and their families. It will have an indoor soccer field, video games, playground equipment, food court, disco, movie theatre, zipline, therapy rooms, courtyard BBQ area, and more. The center, which has rooms that double as bomb shelters, will be used by seniors in the morning, children and youth groups in the afternoon. JNF is partnering with many area organizations; it is a center for everyone.
“Even if not one more Kassam hits the area the center is a gift to the families of Sderot and the surrounding communities,” said Chesley.
For the past few years, JNF has sponsored short vacations for families and children from Sderot and the villages near the Gaza Strip border, to give them respite from daily rocket attacks. Vacations were also provided during times of emergency like the 2006 war with Hezbollah. The first group of 50 children, ages 7-12 from Sderot's Ethiopian community, is in Nes Harim now. JNF hopes to send as many children as possible for five days of rocket-free life and alleviate the trauma and stress they have been living with for years. Additionally the Green Horizons scout groups take children away from the trauma and teach them leadership skills. Through scholarships, JNF is providing this opportunity to children in Sderot who cannot afford membership.
JNF is also focused on providing the funds to build a much-needed fire station and purchase fire trucks in Sderot to help fight fires and protect all open spaces, forests, and sites within rocket range.
Jewish National Fund has consistently been on the ground in Israel with action, not just words. Even as fighting broke out, 120 college students were in southern Israel on JNF's Alternative Winter Break working on community service projects and making a difference to the people who live there. Each participant raised $950 to go on the trip; proceeds went to the recreation center. Operation Security Blanket: Southern Israel will continue to provide real and tangible benefits to the citizens of Israel.
Donations to the campaign can be made online at http://www.jnf.org/donate or by calling your local JNF office at 888-JNF-0099.
JNF's speakers are also available to address the current crisis in Israel. To reserve a speaker from JNF's Speaker's Bureau, or to reach one of JNF’s Israel emissaries who are available for comment, contact Debbie Scher at email@example.com or (212) 879-9305 ext. 297 or visit the Speaker's Bureau web page on the JNF website.
Caption: The food court area of the indoor recreation center.
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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.