March 18, 2007
by Robert Wiener
NJJN Staff Writer
For eight months a year, Leah and Edward Frankel make their home in Jupiter, Fla. But much of their devotion to the Jewish community lies in MetroWest — where they have issued a challenge grant on behalf of the families of Israeli soldiers killed or wounded during the summer’s war in Lebanon as part of UJA MetroWest’s Israel Emergency Campaign.
The Frankels, who also have a home in North Caldwell, are offering to match up to $200,000 in contributions to help the families of those who died or were injured in battle.
Through the pre-existing Leah & Edward Frankel Supporting Foundation of the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest NJ, the couple is asking others to help needy Israelis devastated by the war.
“We feel this military action was a terrible, stressful thing for the people of Israel, particularly for the families of the soldiers who gave their lives. It is a way to show support,” said Edward Frankel by telephone from his Florida home.
The funds, above and beyond the ones already given to such families by the Israeli government, will be earmarked for such things as medical and psychological treatment, scholarships, and other needs.
“At first I was not aware of how much the Israelis did for themselves. It’s pretty amazing. There is a $120,000 policy for each family” of a soldier killed in battle, Frankel said. “They get life insurance and all kinds of other things. So we are really going to earmark this for families where $120,000 is not really going to cut it. If it is a family with a lot of children, the [insurance] money won’t go all the way.”
The added funds will “really help extreme cases, where soldiers gave their lives,” he said.
Frankel, a retired vitamin manufacturer, will chair the grant review committee, whose other members will be based in MetroWest.
Stacy Sulman, associate director of the Jewish Community Foundation of MetroWest, will administer the fund from her office at the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus in Whippany. The funds “may cover unexpected needs or the needs of someone who isn’t technically a family member, like the live-in girlfriend of a soldier — someone who is affected but doesn’t necessarily get everything covered by the Israeli government,” she said.
Sulman said Amir Shacham, who represents United Jewish Communities of MetroWest NJ in Jerusalem, will distribute applications through the Jewish Agency for Israel.
Frankel said he and his wife set up the grant as a matching fund “because we wanted to get the community involved to help support it.” He said the matching aspect of the project would allow people who think they can’t be part of a major effort because they can’t give a large sum of money to contribute because their donations “will be significant because whatever they give doubles.”
“It’s a great way to have a hands-on approach to helping in Israel,” said Sulman.
Those wishing to contribute may contact her by contacting the Jewish Community Foundation or at 973-929-3003.