How the Orthodox Union is helping our brethren in the Jewish State
OU Israel Emergency Fund Provides Much-Needed Support and Relief
With war still being fought in Gaza at this writing, OU Israel is delivering urgently needed support to the traumatized children of Sderot, Kiryat Gat, Kiryat Malachi, Ofakim, Dimona, Yerucham and Beit Shemesh. OU Israel, which runs the year-round Oraita and Makom BaLev programs for disadvantaged youth, has been providing services 24/7 for children and adolescents in these communities since the war began. In addition to offering trauma workshops led by trained social workers, OU Israel sends teams of mental-health professionals to make home visits; offers respite to children with two-day retreats to the north and center of the country and offers ongoing activities and fun programming in its youth clubs, many of which double as shelters. These initiatives, overseen by OU Israel Executive Director Rabbi Avi Berman, are being funded directly by the OU Israel Emergency Fund. Given more resources, the OU could expand its services, reaching even more children in need of post-trauma counseling. To support the OU Israel Emergency Fund, go to www.ou.org or visit www.ou.org/israel-emergency.
OU Mission to Israel
In July, the OU brought over forty members of the American Jewish community to Israel on a four-day solidarity mission led by Executive Vice President, Emeritus Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb and Senior Managing Director Rabbi Steven Weil.
Participants spent Shabbat in Sderot with more than 250 Hesder yeshivah boys and 500 soldiers, officers and members of the counterintelligence unit. The mission met with the IDF’s engineering team that destroyed the tunnels in Gaza and with members of the elite Golani Brigade that lost seven soldiers to a rocket-propelled grenade attack days before.
Participants visited and even danced with wounded soldiers in Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva and Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. “The morale was extremely high,” Rabbi Weil said. “Soldiers were running out of the hospitals to rejoin their units as soon as they were able.”
When the mission participants arrived in Dimona and brought duffle bags full of toys and treats for the children and teens at the OU Israel youth clubs, it was as if the war had paused for two hours. The adolescents forgot about the endless missiles bombarding their city as their American guests received all of their attention.
“Fun Days” for Teens
Part of the many OU Israel “Fun Days” for teens from the South, seventy teens from Sderot and Kiryat Gat visited Amuka and went horseback riding in the Birya Forest and kayaking on the Jordan River.
NCSY Rallies for Kidnapped Teens
Initially, in the wake of the horrific kidnapping of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali, NY NCSY quickly organized a rally on their behalf. More than 400 people attended.
Photo: Eli Gol
For more about the OU’s ongoing initiatives to support Israel, visit www.ou.org.