Critical Minds, Compassionate Hearts

Thanks Return from Southern Israel

This message came to us from a representative from CJP about their recent visit to Israel where our warm wishes were shared with school children in the Eshkol region.
CJP staff and volunteers have just returned from a deeply meaningful and invigorating mission to Israel.  In addition to participating in the JFNA General Assembly, we had the chance to meet some of CJP’s partners and see the work they are doing in Israel.  We also took the opportunity to send a small delegation south to the Eshkol region to deliver the letters your students prepared.  Thanks to your incredible efforts, we had 500 letters to distribute!
 
We began the morning meeting with the head of security from Kibbutz Reim (one of the 32 communities in the Eshkol region). He showed us some of the lands that have been burnt from incendiary kites and balloons sent from Gaza over the past seven months.

We continued to a local high school and were introduced to students in an English class. They had done research on Boston and shared fun facts about our city.  We then read them examples of letters written by Gann Academy students and distributed the letters to the students.

We walked around the grounds of the school, and one of the local residents pointed out that the buildings which were made of thick reinforced concrete and the windows were small, high up and covered by a concrete overhang to protect them from shattering. The school buildings are designed to serve effectively as schools and bomb shelters, so students can remain in place if rockets are fired and the sirens sound.
 
Despite the constant security threats, the campus is tranquil, green and lovely.  From a small overlook, we could see the buildings in Gaza.  Michal, a local resident, spoke of the community’s strength and resilience and explained that the good times far outweigh the trials they endure.  She emphasized the strength of their community, commitment to the State of Israel, and hope for peace with their neighbors.

Next stop was an elementary school where we visited a fifth-grade class. The students were delighted to have us visit and asked so many questions. One girl raised her hand and asked, “How do you know about our situation?” Neil Wallack answered that there are many, many people who know that it’s not easy to live with the threats they face, and our Jewish community in Boston wants to ensure they know we are thinking about them and sending love and support. They were so happy to meet us and thrilled to read the letters we delivered.

The teachers, students and principle we met kept saying they couldn’t believe that a community in America cares this much about them.  It was a powerfully moving experience for them and for us.
 
Thank you so much for participating in this special initiative!
Aviva 
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