ZOA And OU Join With Sponsoring Organizations And Synagogues In Massive Purim Campaign In Support Of Sderot Children And Israeli Soldiers
March 6, 2009


The Zionist Organization of America and the Orthodox Union, along with ZOA-Israel and OU-Israel, have mounted a multifaceted Purim initiative to demonstrate support for residents of Sderot and the Western Negev, and the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces. They are supported in this massive effort by The Jerusalem Great Synagogue, Emunah Women, Beit Knesset Shir Chadash, and the American-Israeli Action Coalition.


Several projects comprise the ambitious Purim campaign:


  • The IDF Mishloach Manot Project is the centerpiece project—4,000 mishloach manot will be distributed to soldiers at various army bases throughout Israel, as well as to needy Sderot and Western Negev residents—and is made possible by generous donations collected by ZOA’s national board member and Brooklyn Region President, Rubin Margules, who will again lead this, his ninth, annual Purim mission.  Over 300 volunteers came to the OU’s Israel Center in Jerusalem to prepare packages for distribution.


  • The Prepare for Purim Shopping Trip to the economically depressed communities of Sderot and Netivot was organized in order to provide concerned individuals an opportunity to provide monetary and moral support. A highlight of the trip was an in-depth briefing by the Sderot Media Center’s Director, Noam Bedein, about the troubling realities of life under rocket fire.


  • The Sderot Vendors Fair was organized at the OU Israel Center so that the businesses of the Sderot and Western Negev, whose rocket-plagued communities are rarely visited by outsiders, could provide safer access to customers. The highly successful pre-Purim bazaar was attended by hundreds of supportive Jerusalemites.


  • The Toys and Games Drive for Hospitalized Children was mounted to sweeten their Purim holiday. The Jerusalem Great Synagogue and Beit Knesset Shir Chadash, along with many other venues, have been serving as collection centers for hundreds of donations that will be distributed by the youth membership of OU’s own Makom Balev program.


  • Purim parties for the children of some of the hardest hit communities of the Western Negev will be held on Sunday evening as the country starts to gear up for holiday celebrations. Makom Balev will be there, too, to provide a spirited and youthful boost to the festivities.


  • The IDF Letter Writing Project, under the auspices of Emunah Women, has gathered hundreds of letters of gratitude written to the IDF soldiers. These, as well as thousands more brought from the U.S. by ZOA’s Rubin Margules, will be distributed personally to soldiers along with the mishloach manot.


Jeff Daube, Director of ZOA’s Israel Office, and Menachem Persoff, Director of Programs for the OU Israel Center, issued a joint statement that included a call for “additional cooperative efforts such as this one by organizations and institutions interested in a true Jewish and Zionist response to the many contemporary challenges that we face.”

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