July 14, 2008 / 11 Tammuz 5768
An emotional ceremony was held on June 19th at Kiryat Shmona – the laying of a corner stone for a new playground, donated by Katy Mayerson, through the UJA-Federation of NY Give a Mitzvah Do a Mitzvah program and the Jewish Agency for Israel. What made this ceremony unique, is that the playground was named after Katy's cousin, Noam Mayerson, who fell in the Second Lebanon war when he was just 23.
Despite their age difference, Katy and Noam were very close. He died at a time when she and her mother began planning her Bat Mitzvah and so it was very natural for her to look for a way to connect between her bat Mitzvah and commemorating Noam. As Noam loved children, when UJA and the Jewish Agency offered Katy to build a playground in war torn Kiryat Shmona it seemed like a perfect fit.
Katy worked tirelessly to raise the needed funds – printing specially designed T-Shirts stating "Make Play Not War" and spreading the word however she could. Within a few months she raised over $10K. the Jewish Agency matched her gift with $15K.
In the corner stone laying ceremony, Jeff Kaye, JAFI's Director of the Department for Resource Development and Public Affairs stated that it seemed like bashert that the playground should be built on Yakotiel Adam St., as it is named after the Israeli most highest ranking officer to be killed in a war. Yakotiel Adam was killed in the first Lebanon war, therefore to build in his street a playground named after Noam, who was killed in the second Lebanon war, was a way for us to tell the Hizballah that we are here to stay!
As Katy said, "I wanted to do something that would be a memorial to his life, not his death, Noam was such a great person, with wonderful values and I'd like to see those who use the playground grow up to be just like him."
The ceremony was attended by soldiers from Noam's unit and many members of Katy's family, including her aunt and Uncle, Noams' parents – Gila and Haim Mayerson. Gila read a psalm together with Lynn, Katy's aunt and Haim spoke of Noam, his loving, virtuous and Zionistic nature. "As Haim noted in his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony, the Do A Mitzvah Give a Mitzvah Program afforded Katy the opportunity to truly carry out the Talmudic command: All Jews are responsible for all Jews."
The ceremony was also attended by K. Shmona's acting mayor - Sami Malool who thanked Katy and the Mayerson family for their gift and dedication to the city and it's children.