April 23, 2024
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Northern New Jersey Community Raises 50K for IDF

Tenafly—The war in Gaza has inspired community members in many different ways. A group of Israelis and Americans living in the Tenafly, Cresskill, Englewood, and Alpine areas have mobilized to raise money for a brigade in need of headlamps, knee pads, goggles, and several other items.

“For the last few weeks, we have been glued to our televisions, phones, and newspapers following the news out of Israel. Our ears perk with every report, we wait for updates, hoping for peace and security for Am Yisrael. Our hearts break with the news of yet another fallen or injured soldier,” said Shirley Bitton, a member of the community.

Since she hosted several shlichim (Israel volunteers) working at day camps in her home this summer, she was particularly touched as the experience was even closer to these young people, who have all just completed military service. “To that end, one of the shlichot, who recently completed her service with the Golani Brigade (which has unfortunately suffered many casualties during their deployment in Gaza), asked her unit commanding officer how we can help these soldiers. He said that as the soldiers  were ordered to the front lines, they took nothing with them except their combat gear. He identified items that the brigade needed that she could work to deliver.

With help from the community, and particularly from community members Bitton and Yifat Yechezkell, as well as the Camp Gan Israel at Lubavitch on the Palisades, the group has together raised $50,000 over the past two weeks. They continue to raise funds.

“With the $50,000, we have friends and family in Israel who went and bought the stuff for the soldiers, and delivered the items: goggles against the dust and sand and knee protectors, things like that,” said Yechezkell. The purchasing of items was coordinated by Yoni Marom.

The most difficult thing for Yechezkell was staying here on the sidelines and feeling like she was not doing enough. So as she concluded her interview with JLBC, she was getting on a plane to Israel. “I am going to visit soldiers who got hurt, who are in the hospital. I’m Israeli, I served in the army, and it’s really important that I be there now, with them,” she said.

Camp Gan Israel at Lubavitch on the Palisades held a mitzvah day at camp recently, where the kids made cards to send along to the same unit of soldiers. Contributions can still be made by sending checks to Lubavitch on the Palisades Israel Emergency Fund, at 11 Harold Street, Tenafly, NJ, 07670.

By Elizabeth Kratz

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