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Israel Emergency Fund Provides Comfort to Children in Rocket Danger Zones and More

Imagine you are a 13-year-old, born and raised in Sderot, an Israeli community located less than a mile from Gaza. You’ve spent your entire life running to bomb shelters and away from terrorist rocket fire. You jump at the sound of a dropped object or a closing door – and you are not alone; an estimated 94 percent of Sderot children show symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

Now imagine what it is like to hear the Red Alert siren for the first time in a town like Yerucham, in Israel’s Negev Desert. You’ve grown up far from Gaza, supposedly out of harm’s way. But now that Hamas rockets can reach further than ever before, you have just seconds to flee to safety.

With the crisis affecting so many Israelis psychologically and physically, the need for humanitarian assistance is tremendous. Through your gift to the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s Israel Emergency Fund, you are bringing relief to those affected.

One child-friendly support program, called Hibuki, involves a huggable stuffed animal that offers children a sense of security and the means to express their thoughts and fears through times of danger and in months following (see photo below). The program trains staff and parents to support their children – especially those who were already vulnerable due to disadvantaged backgrounds. During the recent conflict, Hibuki has helped 330 children who live in Israel's danger zones, as well as communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. Trained professionals are reaching out and offering guidance to them and their families at the kindergartens, schools and shelters where they are spending their time.

Your support of the Israel Emergency Fund also took 45,000 children away from the front lines for a day of respite at a zoo, a water park, summer camps, youth villages and enrichment classes. This comes as a welcome change to so many, whose “normal” play spaces are rocket-proof indoor playgrounds.

You are also providing psychological counseling for 15,000 civilians and first responders, while meeting the dramatically increased demand on help hotlines.

In normal times, Federation-funded programs provide basic supplies and comforting care to thousands of frail seniors and people living with disabilities. Unable to travel outside rocket-prone areas or get to the safety of a bomb shelter, many of them are living within the walls of their apartment bunkers. Your support now is providing an extra helping hand to 20,000 of Israel’s most vulnerable citizens – with extra caseworkers, food and medicine, as well as air conditioners to make them more comfortable and Internet connections to give them access to the outside world.

Providing a brief respite from the stress and isolation of the homebound, your dollars recently brought dozens of people with severe disabilities from Beersheva to the Dead Sea (pictured above), where they stayed at a wheelchair-accessible hotel.

The Mission of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation is to mobilize human and financial resources to care for those in need, strengthen
Jewish life and advance the unity, values and shared purpose of the Jewish people in Miami, in Israel and around the world.

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