Over 500 youngsters from the north of Israel enjoyed Purim day of fun and excitement, thanks to a donation by Keren Hayesod Holland - Collectieve Israel Actie from the Alex Meijer Foundation.
The foundation was established by Mr. Philip Meijer. In his will Philip Meijer z"l, through his Alex Meijer Foundation, he left over $10 million to benefit the Collectieve Israel Actie.
Two major projects were established from this money:
a) The largest hydrotherapy center in Israel in Shaar Hanegev, in the South of Israel. The center sponsors an impressive hydrotherapy program for special needs populations, while serving as one of the most advanced sports centers in Israel, including both waters sports and a state of the art gym.
b) A magnificent, state-of-the-art 800-seat auditorium in Or Akiva, which has become the crown jewel of the cultural center in Or Akiva and the main performance hall in the coastal strip between Haifa and Netanya
It was the auditorium and surrounding area that served as the venue for the Fun Day, in which 120 children from the Or Akiva area, who came through the community center, and 400 children from Youth Futures participated. Youth Futures is a Keren Hayesod program that provides intervention for disadvantaged youngsters, ages 6-18, from throughout the country.
One-to-one mentors, called "trustees," serve as role models and friends, giving the children positive social experiences and educational enrichment, alongside the support needed to become contributing members of society. Youth Futures children came from communities throughout the Galilee for this exciting event, including Maalot Tarshiha, Yoke'am, Afula, Nazereth Illit and Migdal Ha'emek.
A full schedule of exciting activities awaited the youngsters, who represented a full spectrum of Israel's population - Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, native-born Israelis and new immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia and other countries. The excitement was palpable as the youngsters, who were encouraged to come in Purim masquerade, entered the grounds, where they were greeted by two gigantic dolls. They proceeded to climb, jump, bounce, and play on various inflatables, games, and trampolines scattered throughout the area. Ten different game booths enabled them to test their skills in throwing darts, tossing rings, playing Frisbee and other activities.
The youngsters, who were accompanied by their "trustees" and a number of parents, were entranced by the magic show performed by Yaniv the Magician (Abra Kadbra), which was followed by Purim songs, and a costume contest. Shape balloons, popcorn and cotton candy that were distributed contributed to the festive atmosphere.
After a break for falafel and drinks, the guest entered the auditorium for a 70-minute show by the TaRaRam Kids. They were all were excited by the music of the Tararam group, which cut across language barriers. Gift packages were distributed at the end of the show courtesy of the Jewish Agency.
Greetings were delivered by Yankele Snir, Director of the KH Europe Region, Elsy Menko on behalf of Collectieve Israel Actie with the presence of David Serphos, Director of KH Holland - Collectieve Israel Actie and the mayor of Or Akiva Simcha Yosepov.
The Alex Meijer Foundation continues to invest in projects to enhance the welfare of disadvantaged children and youth from Israel's social and geographic periphery, and is particularly dedicated to the well-being of the Or Akiva residents. It has made a commitment to invest in the Yuvlim-Or Akiva project over the next six years. The Foundation also provides for similar "fun days" for the next five years - and the children are already eagerly awaiting next year