KOLOT – Answering a call for help

BBYO teens launch “Lox Box” to help build a shelter for a kibbutz near Gaza

By Ryan Silvers

After having a missile fall 200 meters from her home on Kibbutz Negba in southern Israel, near the cities of Qiryat Gat and Ashkelon, and another hitting a barn very closeby, Shelly Silver’s aunt came to her for help.

Was there anything Shelly could do to raise money to build a public shelter for the families of the kibbutz, which sits alarmingly close to the border with Gaza?

For the entire summer, as the rockets rained down on the residents of southern Israel, the kibbutz families were forced to stay indoors – unable to venture out lest a missile siren suddenly be sounded. Due to the lack of public shelters, the kibbutz had to shut down its public services, including the swimming pool and summer camp. Shelly swung into action.

Silver, a high school junior from West Hartford and an active member of the Nadav chapter of the national Jewish youth group, BBYO, quickly shot off an email to Josh Cohen, director of BBYO’s Connecticut Valley Region, and the two set into motion the process of creating a stratetic plan to help the families of Kibbutz Negba.

Every chapter in the Connecticut Valley Region takes part in BBYO’s Stand Up campaign. The idea behind the campaign is simple: “Stand Up” for what you believe in. Chapters support causes from cancer awareness to feeding the hungry to aiding low-income families, to helping Israel. When Nadav BBYO discussed possible causes to support in the coming year, Shelly shared her idea with Jodi Teitelman, Nadav’s BBYO chapter sh’licha (representative). At the next meeting, chapter members voted to help the beleaguered kibbutz raise the funds needed to build a shelter to protect its residents.

“Israel is very important to me,” said Teitelman, a West Hartford high school junior. Though she has not yet had the opportunity to visit Israel, she has family there. “In March, I attended the AIPAC Policy Conference with a BBYO delegation and learned a lot about Israel,” she added.

Like other BBYO teens, Silver also feels a strong connection to the Jewish state. “Israel is extremely important to me because not only do I have family and friends there, but Israel is the Jewish state and homeland,” she said. “Israel is a place to which Jews feel connected and where they will always be welcome. It is important to me that we work hard to make Israel as safe as it can be, so the Jewish people can always come home.”

As part of their campaign to raise money for Kibbutz Negba, Nadav BBYO is embarking on a fundraiser called “Lox Box.”  With support from the Crown Supermarket and the Connecticut Jewish Ledger, Nadav BBYO members will deliver six bagels, orange juice, lox and cream cheese, and a copy of the Jewish Ledger to participants’ homes for a donation of $36. Orders will be taken until Nov. 2, and deliveries will be made on Sunday morning, Nov. 9. Deliveries will be made to homes in Hartford, West Hartford, Avon, Simsbury, Canton, Bloomfield, Glastonbury and Manchester.

All proceeds from the Lox Box will go to the Kibbutz Negba Association, responsible for constructing the bomb shelter, which will take 90 days to build and cost $58,000 to construct.

Lox Boxes may be purchased by using cash, check or Paypal. For more information on Lox Box or to make a donation to support this cause, email Josh Cohen at

With more than 600 chapters in over 30 countries, BBYO provides teens with many leadership, educational, travel and social opportunities, as well as a host of meaningful opportunities for tzedakah and tikkun olam.

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