JNF Names Sderot Reservoir for Boston Visionary
Contact: Jodi Bodner • JNF Director of Communications • 212-879-9305 ext. 221 • firstname.lastname@example.org
March 24, 2009 -- Sderot, Israel -- Several weeks ago, as two Kassam rockets fell nearby, Jewish National Fund-Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (JNF-KKL) broke ground on a new reservoir in Sderot, Israel named in memory of Boston resident Natan Parsons who passed away last year.
The reservoir will store purified effluents from Sderot and nearby kibbutzim, channeling the recycled water for agriculture.
“Israel is in the midst of the worst water crisis in decades,” said Meir Brukental, director of the Sderot Sewage Water Association. “We are reaching a situation where we will soon be unable to irrigate existing agricultural crops, let alone plant anything new. This reservoir, which is scheduled for completion in October 2009, will provide two million desperately needed cubic meters of water to the region. It is the region’s flagship project, and Natan was involved in every stage of the planning, down to the smallest detail.
“The city of Sderot and the local kibbutzim are really suffering,” he continued. “Not only because of eight years of bombardment from missiles, but economically as well. The new Sderot water reservoir is very important for the region because water means life. Without water, no one can live here.”
Visionary is a word that is often associated with Parsons. A sabra, he grew up in Kibbutz Kfar Blum, and was always aware of the need to conserve water.
In 1980, after he had moved to the United States, he invented faucets and toilets that stop the water flow as soon as they are not being used—way before water conservation entered the public consciousness.
“Although he headed large companies and systems, he always put the individual first,” said his wife Amy. “He was a ‘dream merchant’ who tried to do things in the most correct manner possible. The integral approach he took to the Sderot water reservoir project is a perfect example of his way of relating to life and a most fitting tribute to his memory.”
“Natan believed that Israel, thanks to its high level of technological development and innovation, should become the world center of advanced water technology,” said Colonel (Res) Sharon Davidovich, KKL-JNF emissary to Boston. “He insisted that in addition to building a reservoir, the entire local eco-system should be taken into consideration. The plan calls for an upgrade of the sewage purification plant, which will produce high-quality recycled water that can be used for all sorts of agriculture. The new Sderot reservoir will be connected to the nearby Or Haner reservoir, diverting sewage water that currently flows into the Shikma stream. Not only will the stream be restored, but polluted water will no longer seep through the ground into the underground aquifer. The restored stream will then become a tourist attraction. That was Natan—he thought of everything.”
Beyond what it will achieve agriculturally, the Sderot reservoir holds even greater meaning; it is part of a greater picture. “If we look in the direction of Sderot,” said JNF CEO Russell Robinson, “we can see the army blimp monitoring those in Gaza whose intention it is to hurt and destroy. Our intent is to build, to make the region green and to bring life. And this we have done. Let’s not forget that one of the reasons for the water crisis is that Israel now has seven million citizens to take care of as compared to 600,000 when the State was first founded.
“I would also like to especially thank Amy Parsons, who is what I would call ‘a model for leadership.’ Her work is about taking the next step forward, even in the face of tragedy and adversity. And this she does quietly, which was Natan’s way, also.”
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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.