Tuesday, April 28, 2015

How disabled Israeli soldiers are aiding the Nepal earthquake rescue effort

Special in Uniform IDF soldiers prepare packets of medical supplies for a field hospital in Nepal's capital Kathmandu. 

By Leslie Katz

In a cavernous warehouse of an Israeli army base, Israel Defense Force soldiers busily assemble packets of medical supplies. Surgical tape. Tubes for intravenous drips.

Soon, the packets -- boxes and boxes of them -- will be shipped off to earthquake-ravaged Nepal, where the IDF's first humanitarian mission aircraft landed Monday night to assist in search and rescue and set up a field hospital to help treat the thousands injured since a deadly quake struck Kathmandu Saturday. 

That the IDF is providing humanitarian assistance in a natural-disaster zone beyond Israel's borders is hardly unusual – in 2013, the country dispatched aid workers to the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, and in 2010, to quake-devastated Haiti, among other missions over the years. Noteworthy here are the soldiers working so hard in that warehouse lined with ceiling-high shelves of emergency supplies. They are members of the JNF-supported "Special in Uniform" program, which integrates young people with disabilities into the IDF. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Gratitude for a life-saving rescue in the Arava desert

Several years ago, the Jewish National Fund purchased a rescue vehicle for the 90-person volunteer Arava Search & Rescue Team, which fields hundreds of emergency calls per year related to emergencies in the arid desert region. To get a sense of the life-saving work the unit does around such crises as missing persons, heatstroke, and scorpion bites, read the below thank-you note to unit head Elad Seker from the Bar Lev family, which recently got into big trouble on a hike in the Arava and was rescued by the team.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

'The lives of these kids will live on': Boy's touching tribute to children of the Holocaust

A young Max Levin, with parents Bud and Judy, in front of the B'nai Mitzvah Remembrance Wall in Jerusalem’s American Independence Park in 2006.

When 12-year-old Max Levin was looking for a meaningful way to celebrate his upcoming bar mitzvah, he decided on a project in Israel that did more than simply mark his "coming of age" ceremony. His decision in 2006 created a unique link between today's teens and their peers who died in the Holocaust before ever reaching that special milestone. 

“I used to come to Israel every year with my parents, partly because of my dad’s work, but mostly because our family is very Zionistic," said Max, today 22 and a paratrooper and officer in the Israel Defense Forces. His father, Bud Levin, is Jewish National Fund vice president, Negev and Galil and oversees organizational efforts in the southern and northern regions of Israel.  

“That year, we came searching for a bar mitzvah project and considered many options. Eventually we looked at the Golden Books of Honor that JNF keeps at its offices in Jerusalem,” Levin said, recalling the volumes that over the years have documented donations to the organization and that by now contain more than 200,000 inscriptions.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Passover recipe special, part 2! My grandmother Hannah’s pickled cucumbers

Michal Ansky, a well-known Israeli media personality and foodie, believes that "everyone brings their memories and defines themselves by the foods they eat." Here, she shares with us her grandmother's pickle recipe, a Passover favorite.

Passover recipe special! Salmon cakes with tropical-fruit salsa

Croquettes are cute and elegant for your starter course. They’re also wonderfully light and refreshing. The tropical salsa is a combination of fresh pineapple, mango, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice -- the perfect complement to the richness of the salmon. The balance of sweet and savory flavors instantly pleases the palate. This is a starter with zing!