OU Announces Sderot Shabbat, June 9, and Sderot Emergency Fund, to Raise Money
In response to the continued Hamas bombardment of Sderot with Kassam rockets, the Orthodox Union has established two fund-raising campaigns to expand the OU’s humanitarian programs on behalf of the traumatized residents of the city. They are the OU Sderot Emergency Fund, and OU Sderot Shabbat.
OU programs in Sderot in response to the Kassams have been underway for several months; the fundraising efforts are intended to expand their reach as quickly as possible. The OU has had a programmatic presence in Sderot for six years.
OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, together with his wife Chavi and four others on a fact-finding visit to Sderot, experienced the terror firsthand on Thursday, when they were forced to rush from the street into a store and take cover under a table when a siren sounded a warning that two Kassams were on the way. “I think I was too frightened to be frightened,” Rabbi Weinreb said an hour after the launch of the missiles.
The OU campaigns are being done in conjunction with the Rabbinical Council of America, under the direction of Rabbi Basil Herring, its Executive Vice President.
The OU has called on its member congregations across North America to designate Saturday, June 9, Parshat Shelach, as Shabbat Sderot to raise $250,000 for four projects to assist the people of Sderot. “While Chavi and I have now left the city, many thousands of its residents fully intend to remain there, whatever the consequences,” Rabbi Weinreb said in a letter to OU rabbis announcing OU Sderot Shabbat and the projects it will support. They include:
• OU Israel Trauma Team, to expand the OU’s crisis, art and drama therapy and one-and-one counseling with youngsters experiencing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Needed: $100,000.
• Makom Balev – Camp Spirit and Fun for Parents and Children, a two-week summer camp elsewhere in Israel for 70 families to enjoy quiet time and spiritual rejuvenation. Needed: $70,000.
• Sapir College Jewish Education Seminars, the creation of a Hillel-type program, with classes, trips and Shabbatonim, to help inspire and strengthen both the students, and through them, the population surrounding the college. Needed: $30,000.
• Lev Yehudi (Heart of a Jew) – Kiruv (Outreach) in the Schools and Shuls of Sderot, informal adult education through the city, including classes in the synagogues, Bar/Bat Mitzvah preparation, and a variety of other events throughout the year, including those held in private homes. Needed: $50,000.
“We fully intend to raise the entire $250,000 over one Shabbat,” declared OU President Stephen J. Savitsky. “We are confident that our rabbis and their congregations will give from the heart to help relieve the suffering of the people of Sderot.”
The general fund-raising drive, the Sderot Emergency Campaign, will be particularly directed towards children. “The community of Sderot needs your help. A beautiful city has become a war zone,” declares the OU on its website, www.ou.org.
Contributions may be made online at the website or by sending a check to Sderot Emergency Campaign, Orthodox Union, 11 Broadway, New York, NY 10004. All contributions to both funds are tax deductible.