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From the Desk of Joel Jacobs, Young Judaea Public Relations Coordinator in Israel - highlighted the volunteer work that chanichim in Israel have done (and are scheduled to do) on behalf of the war effort. During this difficult time, these notes truly speak to the kind of difference we can all make.

B'hatzlacha to all of the Israeli soldiers and their families. Kol Hakavod to all of the YJ chanichim, staff and supporters who work each day towards making a difference!

ü   WUJS participants are volunteering with families in the south, including coordinating arts-and-crafts projects for children in the area.

ü   The story [of the work YC chanichim are doing] made the Haaretz daily English edition on Friday [January 2; we are working on getting a copy of the article].

ü      On January 6 on channel 1 in Israel one of the kids (Jason Merrin) was interviewed live in Hebrew.  It was a short but nice piece.  [Joel is] trying to get a link to it.

ü   Next week at the Tel Hashomer hospital, the Israel Experience kids have the opportunity to sit with the families of the injured soldiers of the IDF to show their support and gratitude for the sacrifices which they are making.

ü   Yesterday in Jerusalem the chanichim volunteered with kids in wheelchairs from Beersheva through the Beit ha Gelgelim organization. They had a BBQ together and entertainment included playing the guitar and singing.

ü   Also yesterday in Jerusalem, 20 of the chanichim went to the funeral of Staff Sergeant Nitai Stern on Har Herzl.

ü   Today in Jerusalem the chanichim were raising money for the soldiers through a movie night.  They will be watching upbeat movies about past wars in Israel and they will also be selling army paraphernalia.

ü   Also today in Jerusalem the chanichim facilitated arts and crafts with kids from Sderot, Netivot and Ashkelon who are currently staying at the JYH.

ü   On Sunday 11th January a bus load of kids is coming to Bat Yam from Ashkelon.  Our chanichim have prepared a day of fun and games for them.

ü   Josh Landis (madrich) is preparing a video with his chanichim.  He is interviewing the kids and they are talking about how it feels to be in Israel during this time and what is actually going on.  This video will be going up on You Tube soon – and maybe other websites – to show the world the real perspective inside Israel from American and British kids.

ü   The [Community Volunteering] kids are raising money by selling wrist bands which say (in Hebrew) “My heart is with the South” and by having a lottery/raffle with prizes including getting their apartment cleaned by a couple of chanichim and having dinner cooked for them by the tsofim.  The money raised from these projects will go towards sending packages to the bomb shelters in the south.

ü   Danielle Chaimovitz is partnering up all of her chanichim with a soldier who is in an artillery unit in Gaza.  Each of her chanichim will then send packages to their “buddy soldier”.  After the war the chanichim will meet up with this unit and get to meet the soldiers who they have been sending gifts to and learn more about the conflict first hand.


January 5, 2009


Young Judaeans in Israel head for army bases to support the IDF

Supporting the IDF
Some 125 Young Judaeans on Year Course will head for army bases next week to provide important support for IDF troops.  The chanichim (participants) will work on bases doing menial-but essential-tasks, enabling soldiers to take on more critical jobs.  The volunteers will work in storage facilities, pack food for the soldiers and sort uniforms, among other chores.  None of the bases are in the Gaza area.  Young Judaea is proud to have been contacted by Sar-El, an organization that works in cooperation with the IDF.

Jaclyn Glaser of Los Angeles, California spoke for all the volunteers when she said, “This is the best we can do to help.  It's a great feeling putting on a uniform and knowing that we're making a difference.” 

Other ways Young Judaea is helping:
Several families from areas near Gaza are being hosted at the Young Judaea Youth Hostel, where Judaeans are planning activities for the children.  A group of teenagers is expected there next week.  Judaeans are also fundraising for those affected by the conflict and putting together care packages to send to soldiers. 

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