Dear Friend of Israel,
There is something very compelling about the security challenges faced by the communities all over Judea and Samaria. Surrounded by hostile Arab villages, often protected by only a flimsy fence and minimal security personnel with inferior equipment, the people who live in these communities often risk their lives to lay claim to their Biblical heritage. For all those who value the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel and understand how these communities are part of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, understanding the need of these people for improved emergency equipment is not difficult. And you and so many of our wonderful donors and friends have opened their pocketbooks and poured out their hearts to support these needs.
But today, I want to talk about needs that are not always so easy to understand. The atmosphere and solidarity between neighbors, the quiet and pastoral views in small communities provide comfort to the adults living there. But teenagers growing up so far from the urban centers often feel secluded, cut off from their peers living in the city, with so many fewer entertainment and recreational opportunities. And if a teen is having trouble at home, he or she may feel there is not enough space in a small community. And when teens feel frustrated, they can act out and experiment with dangerous behaviors.
A number of communities are trying to deal with this issue in creative ways. Harnessing the love and solidarity of the community, they have set up youth clubs that specialize in disaffected youth or that reach out to teenagers to keep them connected so that they don’t drop out. Social workers and specially trained counselors keep track of each teenager and provide each one with the love and attention they need. But a project like this requires funding that you, our wonderful friends, can provide. Take a look at the cover of the enclosed Nahala for information on the Shimah program!
Other vital needs of the communities include programs and assistance for new immigrants and for senior citizens, playgrounds, music programs, libraries, and pre-school programs. All of these strengthen the family and the community, reinforcing resilience and providing joy when times are tough. People of all ages living in these isolated communities, need to feel that someone out there, across the seas, cares for them and is reaching out to them, providing them with assistance, but even more importantly, telling them they care. I hope you will consider supporting one of these vital needs and helping the people, young and old, who have followed G-d’s direction to settle the Land of Israel. May G-d bless you!
Sondra Oster Baras
Director, Israel Office
P.S. You can help new immigrants in Revava who have only recently arrived from France, escaping the
horrific anti-Semitism there. Read their story in the enclosed Heartland Highlight. They need your help today!