Thursday, June 18, 2015

Visiting Aleh Negev, a 'remarkable oasis of dignity' for the disabled

Aleh Negev's therapy pool. 

By Julie Kravetz

I have been fortunate to visit Israel four different times. Each visit, I have felt great joy, respect, and awe for all that has been accomplished by this dynamic, vibrant, extraordinary nation.

On this particular visit, during a JNF solidarity mission, I had the honor and privilege of experiencing the village of Aleh Negev. 

This facility, established by Didi and Doron Almog, was created to provide high-level medical and rehabilitative aid to severely disabled adults and children in need of complex care. Didi and Doron recognized that Israel had not yet established a plan to organize care for aging, neurologically impaired children beyond the age of 18, and this created a great vacuum for parents needing critical services. The need for care does not recognize birthdays.

Upon arriving, it quickly became clear that Aleh Negev is a remarkable oasis of dignity, humanity and community in the desert, and it is flourishing with commitment and love.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A promenade to memorialize three teenage boys murdered by Hamas

To memorialize Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel, and Eyal Yifrah -- three Israeli teenage boys who were kidnapped in the West Bank and murdered by Hamas terrorists last year -- and to enhance the quality of life in the area by making the Gush Etzion cluster of Jewish settlements safer and more secure, JNF is collaborating with the Gush Etzion Regional Council and the Gush Etzion Foundation to build a local promenade in memory of the boys who lost their lives. 

The three were awaiting a ride home from their yeshivas at a Gush Etzion bus stop when they were abducted in June of 2014, sparking the global campaign #BringBackOurBoys. People from many backgrounds and nations came together to call for the boys' release. Tragically, their bodies were discovered two weeks later

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Judaism lost and found: One 'loud and proud' student's story

Current Alexander Muss High School in Israel student Hannah Brier (pictured above) shares some very personal thoughts from campus in Hod HaSharon.

It’s hard being the only practicing Jew in a school of 1,200. It’s hard missing school dances and sports games and rehearsals because they are always scheduled on Jewish holidays. It's hard spending every day with people who just don’t understand your religion isn't a joke.

I lost my Judaism. 

Walking down the hallway sophomore year I could see diversity almost everywhere: different skin colors, different ages, different personalities, and a few different religions. Why in such a diverse place is it so hard for people to understand my religion and me?

As I was Skyping with my friends back home, someone asked if I felt "more Jewish now that I'm in Israel." I laughed. That's it. I just laughed and continued on to a new topic. That was the wrong response. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

This Israeli jewelry features fragments of Hamas rockets

A rocket shard shaped like the state of Israel adorns this "Israel Rocket Necklace."

By Leslie Katz 

The rockets that fell on Israel last summer would, to most Israelis, represent nothing but chaos and destruction. Yedidya and Shiran Harush look at the twisted metal and see those things. But they also see strength, resolve, even beauty.
The husband and wife team has collected shards of rockets that rained on their community – Halutza in the remote northwest Negev desert on Israel's borders with Gaza and Egypt -- and crafted them into stylish necklaces, the kind you might find in a high-end boutique.

The rocket jewelry "symbolizes love versus hate and create versus destroy," says Yedidya Harush, the Jewish National Fund's liaison to Halutza, which was founded in 2005 by Israelis evacuated from their homes during Israel's disengagement from Gaza that year. "It means that they tried to destroy us but we create."