April 13, 2024
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April 13, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

People for Israel Launches ‘Operation Keep Them Warm’

Soldiers receiving letters.

On October 7 our world stopped. The hands on the clock froze and we as a nation experienced a blow that will have an aftershock for the rest of our lives. A hit so forceful, destructive, evil and utterly inhumane, the likes we haven’t seen since the Holocaust, when Hamas broke into our homes, families, communities, children’s bedrooms, schools, shuls, the Nova festival…

One only needs to read the latest news articles to hear the horror stories that unfolded that Shabbat. Even today, over 100 days after the massacre, we are still learning the true depth of evil that was committed to thousands all across Israel.

On October 7 Hamas struck, and on October 8 People for Israel was born. Hours after the horrifying attacks, David and Miri Gantshar knew they needed to do something to help. With family and friends all reaching out, one after the next, asking what they could do from aboard, the Gantshars sat down and made a plan.

Soldiers receiving letters.

They created People for Israel, a nonprofit organization that has been helping our families, friends and brothers and sisters in uniform in Israel. The name was chosen specifically because People for Israel is a community of people from all over the world, from all faiths and backgrounds, all who want to make a difference and support Israel.

From sending thousands of meals, to purchasing equipment and delivering supplies and necessities to bases and displaced families, these are only a handful of ways they are bringing light during this dark time.

Some of their first missions were delivering 300 mattresses and purchasing and delivering thousands of jackets, helmets and vests, blankets, underwear and food. They’ve created a messenger service that brings contact lenses and medicine to people all over Israel who don’t have the capabilities to secure them themselves. Thousands of cards filled with messages of love, hope and support have been sent to the south of Israel by their community and by volunteers. People for Israel also travels to Israel’s most vulnerable communities, giving support and assistance based on each community’s needs. They provide transportation during wartime and are bringing trauma counselors to those who have been forced to flee their homes.

Soldiers keeping Sderot safe while sharing smiles.

During Chanukah, People for Israel launched a campaign called Operation Sufganiyot for Sderot, where they distributed doughnuts, challahs, children’s crafts and stuffed animals to soldiers and families who have moved back to Sderot. I had the opportunity to go to Sderot and give out these donations, and the experience was truly incredible. The excitement on the faces of people when they saw a teddy bear they would be able to give to their grandchild for Chanukah. Seeing a little boy light up at the sight of a fresh doughnut, taking that first tasty bite. Talking to soldiers who have been protecting this beautiful community, putting some of our stuffed toys on their uniforms, which spread smiles all around. We met a Muslim man from Sudan as well as immigrants from all over who live in Sderot. We simply went out and shared love, hugs and the light of Chanukah.

Notes sent with challah for our soldiers.

People for Israel’s website is filled with ways to help, different resources, videos, fact-checking to show the real story of this war, information on the history of Israel, a link to the stories of the hostages held captive in Gaza, as well as a photo gallery of some of the donations and deliveries being made. People for Israel are also available to speak to your shul or civic group over Zoom. They want to share the real story with the world and raise as much awareness as possible.

Once a week David posts journal entries sharing his experiences and what it’s like living in Israel during this time. I cannot stress enough how moving and human these entries are. How David speaks and shows what it’s like to go through all of this as if you are sitting right beside him. From sharing stories of meeting soldiers to hosting a family from Sderot who needed to flee, to simply his own fears and struggles while living through this war, David’s words will not only move you but will remind you of what it means to simply be human. To want love, peace and a world where we shed tears of joy instead of sorrow. To understand what it means to be a family and survive together. To live and breathe as a Jew, and the strength that gives each and every one of us.

Operation Sufganiyot for Sderot.

These are only a few of the resources they have highlighted on their website that we can all use to make a difference even from abroad. https://www.peopleforisrael.com/

Alongside their website, People for Israel also shares stories, articles and updates on their Facebook group, YouTube channel and WhatsApp group.

Everything that People for Israel is doing is 100% donation-based. They are accepting donations through credit card payments which are tax-deductible, via Zichron Tzvi Elimelech, a registered 501(c)(3) charity in which, after fees, 95% of funds go straight to those in need. To donate, visit https://secure.cardknox.com/peopleforisrael or use the QR code below.

People for Israel has raised over $200,000 since October 7. But they have also spent well in excess of $200,000. They need our help to continue this incredible work, and it’s our job to share, send, post or donate, and do whatever we can to let the world know about all they are doing.

Their current campaign is called Operation: Keep Them Warm. Now that the winter has officially hit Israel, requests are arriving daily for warm gear, winter coats, thermal wear, sleeping bags and supplies to help keep our soldiers warm while they continue to fight this war. They already have over six units on their waiting list in need of army-grade winter coats; that’s more than 750 coats, costing about $88 each.

At a time when we are all grappling for ways to help and do anything we can for Israel, David, Miri and their volunteers have all stepped up and created a community and space for us to make a difference. The majority of their donations have come from all of you in America, primarily the tri-state area. As this war goes on day after day with hundreds of campaigns, Tehillim groups, spreadsheets, WhatsApp chats and updates, we as a nation have never been stronger. But with each new day, it’s important to remember how much help is still needed.

I’m asking you, my friends, fellow supporters of Israel, brothers and sisters of Am Yisrael, Jewish or not, to please share People for Israel’s story. Share their website and message to the world, letting them know that no matter how much the world may try to block out our light we will not be extinguished. That we are a nation of fierce lions and we will win this war together, עם ישראל חי!

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