AZM’s 2018 Purim connection brings Purim joy to Israel’s Border Police and children

An important aspect of Zionism is maintaining our global Jewish unity and our personal ties to the people and land of Israel. Therefore, for nearly 30 years the “Purim Connection” program of the American Zionist Movement has helped maintain that bond by providing Mishloach Manot packages to those living in and protecting Eretz Yisrael.

This year, for the 2018 Purim Connection, the American Zionist Movement collaborated with its member organizations, networks and volunteers in Israel on two exciting projects in celebration of Purim. This includes partnerships with our Purim Connection coordinating partner, the Israel Forever Foundation, along with  Yad Ezra V’Shulamit, Yashar L’Chayal, AMIT Children and Bnei Akiva.

Mishloach Manot – baskets of treats – were distributed to impoverished Israeli children and to Israel’s Border Police “Magav” (מִשְׁמַר הַגְּבוּל) to bring Purim joy to the guardians and citizens of Israel. The brave men and women of the Border Police guard and protect the State of Israel and are often the first line of defense against urban and cross-border terrorism.

Students from AMIT volunteering

The Purim baskets were distributed with the help of the Israeli organization Yad Ezra v’Shulamit whose main goal is to help end hunger among Israelis. Miri Schreiber, the volunteer coordinator of the organization, wrote to AZM the following heartfelt thank you note: “Thank you once again for helping increase the Purim joy. It was a true testament of the power of unity, bringing together different groups within the ‘Klal’ for such a beautiful case. May we continue to work together to change the face of poverty in Israel.”

 

 

 Members of the Border Police sent videos thanking AZM and our partner organizations for organizing the Purim initiative and for providing them with Mishloach Manot. Austin, a lone soldier from Colorado who drafted into the Border Police, spoke emotionally about how truly wonderful the initiative was, and how deeply appreciative their entire unit was of the caring gesture.

In addition, Amichai Bacharach from Yashar Lachayal – an organization aimed at providing support to IDF soldiers – thanked AZM by mentioning that “the soldiers were thrilled to receive them! They thought that it is amazing that so many people care about them from overseas, and they were also happy with the quality of the mishloach manot themselves.”

The Border Patrol is a special unit that is under the auspices of – but separate from – the Police Dept. of Jerusalem. They are a joint force between the army and the police, and the Border Patrol also works with officers from both. When Israeli young adults are drafted into the IDF, some are offered a job in “Magav”, which is the Border Patrol. If they accept the assignment, they are trained as specialty police officers, and technically do not serve in the IDF. The Israeli Border Police is renowned for including a large number of soldiers from minority backgrounds, being a particularly popular choice with Druze recruits, but also includes many soldiers from Arab Christian and Bedouin background.

Some go on to choose this as a career, and some move from the police dept or army into Magav, and are professionals, as opposed to those fulfilling their 3 (or 2) year national service commitment. The “magavnikim”, or border patrolmen/women do get called back for “miluim”, reserve duty, but fulfill that reserve duty within the Border Patrol, not the IDF. The Border Police has recently become among the most popular and competitive combat units for new IDF recruits, presumably because of the increase in tensions and violence in Jerusalem and surrounding areas.

Through the 2018 Purim Connection, AZM sent over 400 packages to the Border Police women and men and just as many to Israeli children that enabled them to receive some Purim joy, and we are so thankful to our supporters who allow us to carry on such meaningful projects. 

 

Mishloach Manot from AZM Brighten Up Purim

To spread the joy of Purim, the American Zionist Movement helped collect donations to send mishloach manot (traditional Purim gift baskets) to Israeli children and soldiers who might otherwise not have received any.

AZM donated more than 450 mishloach manot to those most in need in Southern Israel. Children at the Kehillat Netzach Israel Preschool in Ashkelon received approximately 140 mishloach manot. The baskets were a welcome surprise and cheered up the children, who were staying in shelters because of Code Red sirens from rocket attacks.

AZM also distributed approximately 80 mishloach manot to Neve Hanna, a children’s home in Kiryat Gat, and 70 to Ethiopian children at the Beit Canada Absorption Center in Ashdod. More than 350 mishloach manot were additionally sent to 1st and 2nd graders at AMIT schools in Kiryat Malachi.

As always, AZM was proud to include Israeli soldiers in this campaign. A special intelligence unit received 140 mishloach manot packages and even visited preschoolers during rocket attacks to reassure them and to participate in Purim activities.

Special thanks to AMIT, Mercaz USA, Temple Sinai in Tenafly, New Jersey, for their generous donation, and to everyone around the country who helped make this a special Purim for so many.

To help AZM continue its mission of supporting and promoting Zionism, donate here.

 

More Than 1000 Mishloach Manot Delivered to Southern Israel for Purim

Children in costume at NAAMAT centerFor more than 25 years, the American Zionist Movement has proudly been donating mishloach manot (traditional Purim gift baskets) to Israeli children and soldiers for Purim. Because of the numerous recent attacks faced by those living in the south of Israel, this year AZM focused on Ashkelon and its surrounding areas in order to show solidarity with residents there. More than 1,000 mishloach manot were distributed to a variety of organizations and community centers in need of extra support.

AZM donated the majority of mishloach manot to organizations in and around Ashkelon related to children. Children at Neve Hanna, a children’s home located in Kiryat Gat, and in the children’s ward of Barzilai Hospital, were delighted to receive their candy and noisemakers. The gifts enhanced the Purim celebration at the Kehillat Netzach Israel Ashkelon Preschool as well as at several NA’AMAT daycare centers. At the Ashkelon Family Nest, which assists young mothers and their children, recipients both enjoyed the surprise and were educated on the importance of volunteering and helping others. Ethiopian immigrant children at the Beit Canada Absorption Center celebrated Purim for the first time, and their mishloach manot made the experience even more exciting.

As in the past, in conjunction with Yashar LaChayal, an organization that provides necessities to soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, AZM donated mishloach manot to soldiers on Israel’s front lines. Lone Soldiers who are based in the Ashkelon area also were recipients of AZM gifts.

The mishloach manot were distributed by Marty and Terri Davis, who, in their capacity as Ashkelon community activists, are passionate about helping their community. In a letter of thanks to AZM, they shared how important the packages were to recipients.

[The mishloach manot] put smiles on the faces of many children and Soldiers. Try to imagine a child in the hospital missing out on the Purim festivities and, from over the ocean, special gifts arrive to help them celebrate! Even those with serious health problems were able to smile.…For us it is an emotional experience, and we would like to thank AZM on behalf of all the children and soldiers in Ashkelon for bringing them such joy and happiness.

 To help AZM continue its mission of supporting and promoting Zionism, donate here.

Purim 2012 Brings Gifts and Goodies Front-line Soldiers and Children

The 2012 Purim Connection was another stunning success with lots of thank yous coming in from across Israel.

AZM with help from AMIT, Mercaz,  and many individuals and synagogues across the country brought Purim joy to schools in Kiryat Malachi, soldiers in the front line units across the country, and to many Lone Soldiers (IDF soldiers who serve without the support of their families.)

 

An important part of our Purim Connection is the role that young Jews studying or volunteering in Israel play in the packaging and delivery of the Purim mishloach manot. This year’s volunteers from Magshimey Herut, Habonim-Dror and the kibbutz ulpan program were all on extended stays in Israel as part of  MASA Israel Journey programs.  Among the volunteers to AZM’s Purim Connection were: Raphael Falk,  Andrew DuFour,  Benjamin Scholom, Brett Godette, Yossi Cohen,  Izzy Eisen,  and Eugene Kikoin.

One of the Lone Soldiers, Gidi, who received an AZM Purim package posted on the Kehillat Netzach’s Facebook Page, expressing his happiness and gratitude. When you see comments like these you know how important it is to participate in these programs: