March 19, 2008 / 12 Adar II 5768
AZM Delivers Purim Baskets to Israeli Soldiers,
Children in the South of Israel
On Wednesday, March 19th, the day prior to Purim, over 3,500 Purim baskets will be delivered to soldiers and schoolchildren across Israel, thanks to the efforts of the American Zionist Movement. The AZM's Purim Connection, now marking its 20th year, gives Americans an opportunity to show solidarity with Israeli citizens who are on the front lines in defense of their country.
This year, in light of the constant barrage of rockets on Israel's southern communities AZM focused its efforts on the children in Sderot and other areas in the South. The response has been one of the most vigorous in years, demonstrating the strong connection and concern felt by Americans to Israelis – civilians and soldiers.
A total of 1,150 Purim baskets are being distributed to the Venus Tank unit, which has suffered losses and injuries while serving near Gaza; four Givati brigades; the elite Golani Sayaret unit; and the entire infantry Egoz unit.
Purim baskets will also bolster the holiday cheer of 2,410 Israeli schoolchildren. The children's campaign was carried out in cooperation with AMIT, which runs many of the schools in Sderot, and Mercaz-USA. In addition to three elementary and two upper schools in Sderot, mishloach manot will be given to all the pupils in the Sha'ar HaNegev regional school, which was relocated to Kibbutz Ruhama, and to the young residents of the Neve Hanna Youth Village, sponsored by the Conservative Movement.
"Purim is a time when we can reach across oceans and touch hearts, literally as well as metaphorically, with the warmth of Zionism," said AZM President William D. Hess.
In addition to bolstering the spirits of a lonely soldier or a young child, AZM's initiative helps support the Israeli economy and builds relationships between young people and Israel. The Purim baskets will be purchased and packed in Israel. Then, they will be delivered by members of Zionist youth movements and students in Israel on year programs.
"This is such a valuable experience for these young people. Not only does it spread cheer on the holiday of Purim, but it also really contributes towards AZM's mission of building bridges of understanding between Israel and the Diaspora," said AZM Executive Director Karen Rubinstein.
AZM - the American affiliate of the World Zionist Organization - is an umbrella organization that works to strengthen the connection of American Jews with Israel, facilitating dialogue, debate and collective action to further Zionism in the United States and abroad.
Contact: Deborah Fishman