Cleveland Jewish News: Betar and ZOA reach out to Sderot
ZOA in the news
March 28, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Betar and ZOA reach out to Sderot

BY: ARLENE FINE Senior Staff Reporter

“All of us at Betar are horrified by the terrorist attack on the Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem March 6,” says Betar shaliach Dani Horwitz.

“However, the nightmare that occurred at the yeshiva has been going on for eight years at Sderot.”

Last month, Horwitz decided he could not hear about another rocket hitting the city of Sderot without taking action.

“Sderot continues to be under daily Kassam rocket attack by terrorists in the Gaza Strip,” he explains. Last year, 2,300 missiles and mortars were launched from Gaza. And in the first three weeks of January 2008 alone, there were 430 rocket attacks.

Thirty percent of the children of Sderot (6,000 kids) suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the only reality that children 7 and under know is the fear of daily rocket attacks from nearby Gaza, adds Horwitz.

Under the auspices of the Sderot Media Center, Horwitz, with the help of his Zionist youth group members and in conjunction with the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), has devised a campaign to express solidarity and support to Sderot.

They have organized a traveling exhibit of Israeli artist Noam Bedein’s photographs that depict daily life in that city. The exhibit shows homes destroyed by rockets, weeping children, and empty rocket shells lying on Sderot’s streets. It will be displayed at area synagogues, Jewish day schools, Case Western Reserve University’s Hillel, and The Mandel JCC.

The money raised from the exhibit will be donated to Sderot Media Center and will go toward replacing and rebuilding bomb shelters and supporting needy families.

In an act of solidarity with their counterparts in Sderot, students at B’nai Jeshurun religious school contributed $250 to the renovation of a bomb shelter.

“The Western Negev Regional Council issued a list of 78 bomb shelters in Sderot that are uninhabitable,” says Horwitz. “Each one will require a minimum of $15,000 in repairs.”

Donated money will also be used to rebuild the Ohel Yitzchak synagogue in Sderot, which was destroyed by a direct hit of a Kassam half an hour after 300 people had left the synagogue following the dedication of a new Torah scroll.

Horwitz has also organized a pen-pal program between Cleveland area school children and their Sderot counterparts. To date, he has involved Beachwood High School’s Hebrew students, sixth-graders at Fuchs Mizrachi, Solon Chabad students, and Schechter eighth-graders.

He collected toys, books, games and candy to send in a large shalach manot (Purim gift basket) package in time for Purim.

“If we can brighten the day of just one child living in constant fear of a mortar attack,” says Horwitz, “then this project will be a success.”

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