A Message about the War from Lemaan Achai
Day 6 of the War in the South,
Bet Shemesh, Israel.
* "Dad, What's a Killer-meter?" *
Here in Israel, innocent sounding measurements of distance, have turned into death threats.
One killermeter (km) is the distance/range from a Hamas Sniper in the Gaza strip, firing at the Israeli farmer working in the fields of Kibbutz Nahal Oz.
2 km is from the Hamas mortars ("Patzmarim") to Israeli families in the town of Sderot (time of flight/warning to take cover: 15 seconds).
8 km is from the Hamas rocket launchers ("Kassamim") to the 110,000 battered residents of the City of Ashkelon
20 km is from the Hamas missile launchers ("Ketushas") to the Town of Kiryat Malachi
40km is from the Hamas enhanced missiles ("Gradim") to the bunkered-down towns of Ashdod, Beersheba and Kiryat Gat (one minute warning, to take cover or be blown up)
44km is where a "Grad' Missile has to reach, to hit my home, the kids' school, our shul - to hit me at this desk, here in Bet Shemesh.
My home is located a half-liter of rocket-fuel away from the bombed out sites throughout the South of Israel.
It puts our community in the position of being close enough to be fearful that "we're next", while giving us the tremendous opportunity to bring help to our brothers and sisters now under missile-fire, who are living in bomb shelters, or risking their very lives to go out to get a bottle of milk....just a five minute drive from us.
The Bet Shemesh community has therefore now initiated a grass-roots "War Relief Program" to:
a. bring practical immediate help to those who need it;
b. to bring those families who need to leave the war zone, to take refuge in Bet Shemesh; and
c. to prepare for the "we're next" scenario.
This program is in partnership with the Bet Shemesh Municipality, various well-established non-profit organizations, such as Lema'an Achai, Amutat Kehilla, Shaalei Torah, Ezrat Achim, Bat Ami, and many many good hearted individual volunteers, who are putting their own lives on-hold, to help our fellows in danger and distress.
This is the same cross-community team who joined together during the 2nd Lebanon War in 2007, in an amazing & unique program which hosted over 1000 Refugees from the North of Israel for 30 Days, in Bet Shemesh schools, community centers, sports halls and in private homes. Dubbed "City of Refuge", that program was highlighted in the Ben Gurion University Non-Profit Sector Report, for special accolade, and was awarded the Bet Shemesh Mayor's Prize for 2007/8.
The programs now being delivered include:
1 Delivering practical objects to families in bomb shelters: mattresses, blanket, food, heaters, TV's & Radios, toys, books...
2. Helping families & institutions in Bet Shemesh to host families from the South (eg. extra food, for extra mouths).
3. Educational & emotional relief programs for the kids (schools throughout the South of Israel are now closed down by law).
4. Crafts & Trades Fair: a nationally publicised event, for small businesses which have been closed down due to the war, to exhibit and sell their wares and services.
In preparation, is a large scale "City of Refuge" program, with the initial objective of Bet Shemesh again hosting 1000 refugees, should this be needed.
And, G-d forbid, preparations for the unthinkable situation that we in Bet Shemesh will turn from being helpers, to ourselves being victims of missile attack.
All Bet Shemesh "War Relief" programs are being funded via an exclusive fund established for this purpose, "The War Relief Fund", under the management of Lema'an Achai.
This follows the model Lema'an Achai successfully developed for both the 2nd Lebanon War "City of Refuge" program, and for the 2006-8 Gush Katif Evacuees Relief Fund - probably the two most successful Emergency Relief programs in Israel's recent history.
* What Can I Do To Help? *
Lema'an Achai is a community organization, without big-time fundraising budgets. The cheapest, fastest and most effective way for us to raise the money we need right now and for the duration of this war, is for you to send this email on (only! please do not spam!) to your friends and relatives, your community/shul list, and other individuals and organizations who may be willing to donate & support this zero-waste, grass-roots, immediate, practical War Relief program.
And (most important!) please add you own personal recommendations and verification (ie. "this is For Real!") at the very top of the email.
Online Donations: www.israelwar.org
USA Tax Deductible: "US Friends of Lema'an Achai", PO Box 532, Oceanside, NY 11572-0532, USA.
UK Tax Deductible: "British Friends of Lema'an Achai", c/o Nava Kestenbaum, 96 Rigby Street, Salford, Manchester, M7 4BQ, ENGLAND.
Canadian Tax Deductible: "Shaarei Tefilla Charity Fund", C/O Murray Shore, 31 Marvill Street, Toronto, Ontario, M3H 3L2, CANADA.
Israel Tax Deductible: "Lema'an Achai", The Lema'an Achai Center, 40/7 Nahal Lachish, Ramat Bet Shemesh, 99093, Israel.
By Phone 24/6 Donations Hotline (Hebrew): 02 99.999.33
* What Else Can I Do? *
For local residents to volunteer their time, their hospitality or to offer objects for families in the South, please call the Hotline: 02 9999822 (Ezrat Achim)
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, please feel free to contact me directly.
Besorot tovot - we should hear good news.
David & Avrohom
Bet Shemesh - 45 Killer-Meters from Hamas
SMALL PRINT: In the happy event that the war finishes, and any funds remain, they will solely be used for helping families in need.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
A Message about the War from Lemaan Achai