September 17, 2006 / 24 Elul 5766
As you may have learned from last week’s Exponent, Federation has adopted a project called “Making the Grade” to buy backpacks and back-to-school supplies for children in northern Israel whose lives were devastated by the recent conflict. As part of the $15 million that we aim to raise through our Israel Emergency Fund, we seek to raise $500,000 specifically for “Making the Grade,” to guarantee that 10,000 at-risk Israeli children receive backpacks and the supplies they need for the coming school year.
To ensure that Making the Grade is successful, Federation is partnering with the Jewish Agency for Israel, which is overseeing the program on our behalf, and with Office Depot, which will provide debit cards for students to use at the store and deliver supplies to students who cannot reach an Office Depot location. Already some of the children have received their backpacks and supplies, as you can see in the terrific photos that we received from JAFI.
I wanted to bring to your attention the Making the Grade project first, because it is a project being funded solely by this Federation, and second, because this is a concrete, easy-to-explain project that we can highlight when talking to other community members about how Federation is helping to renew the hope and rebuild the lives of the people of Israel. This project demonstrates that Federation is providing direct support to thousands of Israelis whose lives were turned upside-down by the war.
I also want to take this opportunity to remind you about our National “Call to Action” Solidarity Phone-a-thon on September 17, 2006, at the City Line Hilton from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., when we will call on community members and ask them for their much-needed support. This phone-a-thon is not only a good opportunity to approach the new year in a mitzvah-mindset, it is also a good opportunity for you to unite with other community members to show that we are a strong community that stands together with our brothers and sisters in Israel.
By volunteering this Sunday, you will help Federation galvanize as much community support as possible for Israel. It is extremely important for each one of us to step up and make the calls that will make the difference to Israelis as they rebuild their lives. We still need volunteers, and there is still time to sign up. Please click here to register for the phone-a-thon. I hope to see you on Sunday.
Ira M. Schwartz, President
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia