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JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center Receives Donation of Toys from Kansas City Non-Profit Let the Children Play for Peace

Contact: Ariel Vered • Communications Manager • 212-879-9305 ext. 227 •

March 9, 2012 – Sderot, Israel – In celebration of Purim, 30 kindergarten classes throughout the city of Sderot received toys at Jewish National Fund’s (JNF) Sderot Indoor Recreation Center to bring home. The toys have been provided by Let the Children Play For Peace, a Kansas City-based non-profit organization dedicated to bringing fun and laughter to the children of Sderot and Gaza.

Sam Nachum, an Israeli-born stone artist and owner of Jerusalem Stone, and Ahmed El Sharif, an Egyptian-born scientist, grew up on opposite sides of the Middle East conflict. In 2009, they joined together with a shared hope for peace in the Middle East and founded Let the Children Play for Peace, with the idea of giving the children of Sderot and Gaza the opportunity to enjoy their childhood amidst the conflict.

“We want the children of Sderot and the children of Gaza to play and have a childhood,” said El Sharif. “We are trying to bring positive attention that these children are very precious.”

In February, a delegation of 16 people from Kansas City traveled to Israel to deliver the toys to JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, as well as to children in Gaza.

“It was really quite emotional,” said Nachum of the experience in Sderot. “Many of the people who were with us would never have gone to Sderot. We had a wonderful reception by the people of Sderot.”
Since its grand opening in March 2009, JNF’s 21,000-sq. ft., $5 million secure indoor playground and community center has become an important part of daily life in a region that has endured continual rocket attacks from Gaza for nearly a decade. Visited daily by hundreds of children of all ages, the center’s attractions include a soccer field and volleyball court, movie theater, disco, rock climbing wall, snack area, computer center, and jungle gym. Play areas double as bomb shelters, ensuring that all occupants can quickly reach safety in the event of a rocket attack.

“What JNF did with the facility, it’s amazing,” said Nachum.
For more information on Let the Children Play for Peace, visit To learn more about JNF’s Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, visit

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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


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