July 16, 2024
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Rabbi Leo Dee Urges World Jewry to Unite

Efrat campaign is launched to honor the legacy of Lucy, Maia and Rina Dee, HY”D.

Rabbi Leo Dee, who lost his wife and two daughters in a terror attack last month, is asking the public to join him and his family in a special campaign to perpetuate the legacy of Lucy, Maia and Rina. The three women were gunned down as they drove through Israel’s Jordan Valley on April 7 on the way to a family vacation.

The $1.8 million campaign will fund three projects in Efrat, the community the Dee family immigrated to from England in 2014. In a video released to launch the campaign, Rabbi Dee shared that the three women all demonstrated a love for “Am Yisrael” and brought people together through their daily actions. The three projects represent different qualities the women possessed and will serve as gathering places for people to come together.

The Rina Dee Youth Center will be the new home of Ezra, a youth movement in which Rina was an active participant and counselor. The space will include classrooms and an auditorium and provide weekly programming and educational events for hundreds of children and teens. Rina was a high school student who spent many hours mentoring young people.

Maia Dee’s Spring will commemorate Maia’s love of the outdoors and water. The spring will be the first-of-its-kind in Efrat and include picnic areas and benches and be surrounded by flora and trees. Maia was spending the year volunteering in a school in a development town in the south of Israel.

The Lucy Dee Simcha Hall will house a communal space for celebrations and gatherings in recognition of Lucy’s giving spirit and dedication to her community and to making others happy. Lucy was described by her loved ones as a giver who promoted peace. She was an English teacher and also involved in numerous social initiatives in the community. She was able to give life to a total of five Arabs and Jews through her organs.

Efrat Development Foundation CEO Rachel Broyde explained that Rabbi Dee approached the charitable foundation during the shiva with the idea of creating something meaningful to honor the three women. The foundation funds Efrat-based community projects that improve the lives of the community’s residents in areas that include healthcare, education, social services and recreational activities.

Broyde shared that there is tremendous symbolism when a community invests in rebuilding after a terror attack. “Terrorists destroy people’s lives and we are here to prove that we are still here, we are still strong, and this is our response, that we are still building,” she said.

After the shiva, Rabbi Dee told ILTV in an interview, “When some tragedy like this happens to three people, it affects the whole nation, it’s symbolic of the nation as a whole,” referencing a concept in scriptures that one person represents an individual, two people represent a group and three represent a nation.

The Efrat community has embraced the Dee family following the tragedy. “I was amazed to see that the Dee Family chose to launch three commemorative projects, since Lucy, Maia and Rina were each special in their own way,” shared Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi. “I thank the Dee family for choosing to establish all three commemorative projects in Efrat. The living spirit of Lucy, Maia and Rina will pass on through the ventures, and together we will remember them.”

Close to $500,000 has been raised so far from donors in Efrat and around the world. Individuals can make tax-deductible donations through jgive, and also set up unique fundraising pages to recruit other donors towards this cause.

Donations can be made by going to https://www.jgive.com/new/en/usd/donation-targets/96909.


 

Alisa Bodner is a Fair Lawn native who immigrated to Israel a decade ago. She is a nonprofit management professional who enjoys writing in her free time.

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