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July 2023 Heartland Highlight: Zufim

The people of Zufim desperately need to renovate an existing building and convert it into a safe, inviting place for their teens to socialize and engage in enrichment activities. Your support will help direct these teens’ youthful energies into productive activities while providing another brick in the building and development of this pioneering community. Give today to encourage teens to continue their charitable work and participate in raising the next generation of inspiring pioneers in the Biblical Heartland.

In our technology-ridden world, while most teens are steeped in social media hoping to connect with others, many find themselves struggling with feelings of isolation and loneliness. Ten years ago, when Arielle was growing up in the small, vulnerable community of Zufim, the local youth center was much more than a venue for social and recreational activities with friends. It was the nurturing grounds that inspired her to put her Biblical values and love of the Land into action, providing Arielle and her peers with numerous opportunities to make a real impact on the community through volunteering. As an adult, she returned to Zufim as the youth coordinator, hoping to inspire the next generation of pioneers. Zufim has grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade. While the local youth center is still a vibrant hub for the teens of Zufim, it is now too small to accommodate all the teens living there.

The early pioneers of Zufim settled this once-barren hilltop, overlooking Israel’s coastal plain, seeking to protect the densely populated areas of central Israel. From this hilltop, the truth is inescapable—if Jews were not living on this strategic hill in Zufim, half of Israel would be vulnerable to hostile attacks by blood-thirsty terrorists. The dedicated pioneers of Zufim have all joined together to create this vibrant heterogeneous community of Israelis from all walks of life, including new immigrants and native-born Israelis, religious and secular Jews. Today, there are over 700 families in Zufim, with many more ready to join once the construction of two new neighborhoods is complete.

Currently, Zufim has over 300 teenagers, ages 13 to 18, who engage in weekly enriching activities rooted in the Biblical values of love for the Land of Israel, kindness, and volunteering. Local teens regularly organize community social events and volunteer in a variety of projects, serving as counselors in a program for special-needs children, mentoring younger children who are struggling academically, and more. Thank God, there are now many more teens in Zufim than ever before. But, with the blessings of more teens comes the need for a bigger youth center. Bursting at the seams, events are often overcrowded, and some teens have started to withdraw from attendance. An older suitable building has become available, but it needs extensive renovation, including new infrastructure, and furnishings.

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