As humans, we are resilient beings. When life breaks us down, we know how to pick ourselves up and keep moving, continuing with strength and perseverance. But for Israelis, there seems to be an extra layer of resilience, one that helps us continue forward with hope and joy.
Since the country’s independence in 1948, Israel has battled many challenges. War after war has plagued its people, and yet, miracle after miracle has kept us thriving. And no matter the challenge, we continue to hope, we continue to build, and we continue to live life with joy.
These past few months are no different. In May, Israel saw the beginnings of war, both on our home-front and in the global media. With escalation and incitement within and throughout many cities and new rounds of daily rocket barrages into southern Israel, life as Israelis knew began to shift, as it so often has in the past. Days were spent indoors in protected areas, running to and from bomb shelters, in a state of alertness and, often, fear. And yet we have never turned from hope, and we continue to grow together in supporting one another.
From both near and far, Zionists around the world continue to step up in support of Israel and provide aid to the land and people of Israel in times of need.
Among one of Israel’s greatest allies is the Jewish National Fund-USA (JNF-USA), who has continuously supported and helped protect Israel during the good times and the bad. Through funding projects, planning new initiatives, and fostering a love and passion of Israel in American Jewry and Jews across the globe, JNF-USA has helped the Israeli nation thrive, and this past May was no different.
Through hard work, strong determination, and a passion for the protection of the Israeli people, JNF-USA has helped to build spaces of safety and reprieve for the residents of Israel’s south, used both during and in the aftermath of the attacks.
JNF-USA has spent years creating resilience centers throughout Israel’s southern cities to help support the men, women, and children facing the challenges that come with the realities of life in Southern Israel. These centers provide emotional and mental guidance to those dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder and create a space of safety for those navigating the challenges of life after war. Centers are open 24/7 and serve as a safe and fortified space as well during times of unrest.
In Sderot, JNF-USA’s resilience center has a new animal therapy center, finding new ways to help integrate healing among the residents in the Gaza Envelope who have lived under fire for 15 over years. Children and adults alike can now work with animals and some of Israel’s top healthcare professionals to receive the support and guidance they need.
Emergency services funded by JNF-USA were sent and continue to be sent to cities dealing with the repercussions of internal unrest. Firefighters, firetrucks, wagons, and fire-stations funded by JNF-USA have been deployed to help support those in need.
Fortified playgrounds for children in both the Sderot and the Eshkol region have created a magical and safe oasis for children needing a distraction from the sirens and panic all around them. With the help of JNF-USA, families were able to find some reprieve and quiet during such challenging times. Not only were they able to get some much-needed rest, but parents were able to see the smiles return to their children’s faces, playing together with other community members in safety.
The centers that JNF-USA have worked to create have given residents of Israel’s south not only moments safety, but a way back into normalcy. And when we begin to feel the comfort of daily life once again, we find that glimmer of hope, and the smiles start returning to our faces, as we venture out together, as a nation, to rebuild, and continue thriving.
As JNF-USA has so brilliantly stated, “…we know that this, too, shall pass, and Israel will still be standing strong, embodying the resilience of her pioneers, as our ancestral home becomes stronger and more prosperous than ever before. And when that happens, JNF-USA will still be there, doing what we do best: supporting the land and people of Israel.”
To support the initiatives of JNF-USA in their mission to protect and support the communities of Israel’s south in the difficult realities they face daily, visit https://my.jnf.org/gaza/GazaEmergency2020 to learn about sponsorship opportunities.