Finding New Ways to Help Israel

By Cindy Mindell

Every time Israel experiences a new challenge, Jews around the world rally to help. There are many options, from monetary donations to volunteering, and there are numerous organizations and friends’ groups that organize and collect and motivate.

And still, Israel advocates continually come up with more ways to show support for the Jewish state. Fairfield County residents Diana Safran, and David and Faith Schachne, are just two examples.

Safran found her inspiration over Thanksgiving dinner. Just days after Hamas had reached Jerusalem and Tel Aviv with missiles, Safran heard a relative say that the situation in Israel was “not so bad.”

“She said, ‘The kids are outside playing,’” the Westport resident recalls. “I told her, ‘That’s propaganda! You think children are outside playing while missiles are falling? Those kids are underground!’”

Safran, an art therapist and a jeweler, was moved to action. A local rabbi who is also a personal friend had asked her to host a visiting representative from an Israeli artisans’ cooperative, and Safran jumped at the opportunity.

“The timing is always great to find ways to bolster the Israeli economy and celebrate the artists in Israel,” she says. “The country is suffering economically, especially with the most recent conflict, and artists are among the most vulnerable. With Chanukah coming up, I thought this would be good way to help.”

On Dec. 10, Safran will host the owner of Gabrieli Arts, renowned throughout Israel and beyond for its hand-woven tallitot and tablecloths. The company also serves as a promoter of many Israeli artisans. Samples of work from the entire collection will be on display. For more information about the Westport event: (203) 222-8607 | To learn more about Gabrieli Arts: www.gabrielirubin.co.il

David and Faith Schachne were inspired to become involved with Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) from David’s sister and her husband, longtime supporters of the FIDF Chicago Region. Following their example, the Schachnes donated to IMPACT, FIDF’s college-scholarship program for Israeli soldiers.

The Schachnes are sponsoring Rinat, a young woman who has served for several years in the IDF, including a stint in a combat unit.

“We have received letters from Rinat and she is incredibly grateful for this opportunity,” David says. “We’re just very happy we can help and hopefully make an ‘impact’ on her life.  I look forward to the day that we and my children have a chance to meet her.”

For the Schachnes, helping Israeli soldiers is a natural extension of their support for U.S. troops. They recently began donating to Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a national organization that helps anyone grieving the loss of a person who died while serving in the military. “In general, we support our troops because they defend our country,” David says. “We support TAPS because people’s loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice. It’s the least we can do.”

The Schachnes chose IMPACT not only because they wanted to support Israel and the IDF, but also because “we believe that a strong education should be available to these individuals who have made great sacrifices,” David says. “We also want our children to know that it’s good to give – time, money, etc. – no matter what the cause, as long as they feel strongly about it.”

For more information: www.fidf.org


Comments? Email cindym@jewishledger.com.

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