The Big Felafel


From Rockets to Knowledge: The Difference We Can Make for Sderot Youth

Summer camp was the best place on earth for me as a kid (probably still would be as an adult). Being a camper and escaping from real life for a week or two at a time was just so needed from ages 7 to 15. I mean school was hard, what with all those math problems, and recess was already filled with drama, whether it was a fight about who would play mom in “house,” or boys with cooties; camp was always the much needed break and promise land away from my problems.

Every kid needs camp. But some kids need it more than others. While back in the sixth grade I stressed out about my boy problems, today the children of the city of Sderot are more worried about rocket fire and staying alive. For over eight years the threat of rockets and war has plagued the city of Sderot. That means that the children of Sderot have grown up with this continued danger, and some of them were literally born into it, making this the only life they know.

Sderot Knowledge Campers

This summer, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has opened up its doors and teamed up with The Canadian Friends of Hebrew University and Committee for a Secure Sderot to provide 200 youth with the opportunity to escape Sderot and the rockets and have a week of fun and learning in the Israel’s capital.

For one-week these kids can enjoy regular kid activities like swimming, bowling and going on hikes without worrying about where the nearest bomb shelter is or make sure their ears are alert for the warning of rockets. On top of the usual fun stuff they will also participate in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder workshops (PTSD) with trained professionals to help them with the trauma they have experienced and most likely will experience again. And to add to the experience the kids will also have the privilege of learning science in labs at the Hebrew University. This is a great treat for them, because coming from a periphery town these kids are barely getting a decent education let alone the opportunity to study at the top university in the country.

I met some of the Sderot kids that are at the camp and was taken away with their candid stories about living in a warzone. Even though most of them are 13 to 16-years-old, they talk like grown ups, speaking about the fear of death and life under fire. Each one of them has a story or stories about kassams (rockets) falling outside their homes, inside their living rooms and for one boy, on the pillow he had just been resting his head on before getting up to go the bathroom. They speak about these incidents void of emotion (due to the trauma); yet listening to them you feel their pain and understand the necessity of bringing them out of the city even if it is for one week.

While each youth is special, there was one that really stood out to me. His name is Daniel and he will be 16-years-old in a month. But unlike teenagers in America, he is not worrying about passing his driving test; instead he worries about surviving rockets. Daniel was a camper in this Knowledge camp but back in Sderot he volunteers helping younger children deal with PTSD as well as to cope with the stress and anxiety of everyday life. Daniel thinks he is just living life, but to me he is defining it. Everyday he survives his fear, he lives his life, and he supports others and wakes up to do it again, day after day.

If you want to help sponsor a camper like Daniel please check out my Give2gether page. It doesn’t take much for you to make a difference for kids like Daniel, and yet it’s all the difference in the world. I’m sponsoring Daniel or at least I am doing what I can, I hope you can do the same.


Sderot or Your City? The Click To Care Campaign

sderotThe barrage of rockets continues to hit Sderot, and have now made their way to Ashkelon. While I worry about where and when the next rocket will hit, I can’t help but wonder if I am the only one. It is clear that we can not leave it up to the government to effectively run this country or military operations-but I still have faith in the people.The below video is a part of a Click to Care Campaign that I hope all of your will participate in. By clicking on this video and passing it on to friends and family, I hope we can get the word out about Sderot. We must educate the world in order to be heard.

Watch the video- click to care- and pass it on. Below, you will also find a list of organizations dedicated to helping Sderot and victims of terror. There are many ways to support Sderot: volunteer, donate, speak out, and make your voice heard with the click of a video.

HELP!
Sderot in our Hearts: http://www.sderotinourhearts.com/
Being run by a number of organization including OU Israel and Nefesh B’Nefesh, Sderot in our Hearts is dedicated to bringing Purim joy to the traumatized children of Sderot.

Challot from Sderot by Standing Together: www.stogether.org/sderotchallot
Standing Together is dedicated to helping brighten the day of a soldier. This project allows Israelis to order challot and other baked goods directly from bakeries in Sderot for pick-up at different locations in Yerushalyim (and elsewhere) on Friday mornings.

One Family Fund:www.onefamilyfund.org
Raises money for victims of terror.

Connections Israel: www.connectionsisrael.comsderot
This Purim, Connections Israel plans to deliver a holiday gift basket to every family in Sderot (10,000 families in total) with a letter of support from a Jewish family overseas. This project will connect families and communities in a major expression of Jewish unity.

Amit: http://www.amitchildren.org/sup2n.asp
Amit’s Campaign for Sderot has helped hundreds of children to advance in their studies, to continue their education, and to succeed in school despite tremendous obstacles.

Table to Table: www.tabletotable.org.il
Table to Table with the assistance of private donors is bolstering Sderot’s food industry through the purchase of food from local caterers, bakeries, butchers and grocers.

Chabad of Sderot: http://www.helpsderot.com/

Sderot Media Center: www.sderot-media.com
SMC aims to convey the Kassam rocket reality in Sderot and Western Negev to the Israeli and international community through media documentation and investigative journalism.

The Israel Project: http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/c.hsJPK0PIJpH/b.3831671/

israel project
The Israel Project is providing journalists with royalty free pictures of Sderot, in order to promote Sderot’s image in the media. They also have informative links about the current situation and history.

Children of Sderot Summer Relief Projecthttp://www.SderotKids.org

The directors of 11 large Jewish summer camps from Boston to Montreal to California have joined together to create this ambitious project to airlift 110 children out of missile-bombarded Sderot and bring them to North America to experience the summer of their lives at these camps.

Continue reading this entry »


Are you a member of this Facebook group?

sderot-face-book-groups.JPGIf you thought that Facebook was just a website for your random friends and photo albums, then you are sorely mistaken. If you have ever joined a Facebook group then you know that there are a lot of strange and wonderful things happening in cyberspace.Perhaps you have an interest in toes, well don’t worry because there are over 500 groups that are willing and ready to accept you and your foot fetish. There are just as many groups for cookie monster lovers too. And somewhere in between all that you can find a new group urging Sderot residents to learn how to build kassams.

It might sound random but for many this group is a desperate last resort to end the barrage of kassams. I think it is time to admit that if we wait for the government’s response we will all be as bald as Olmert before there is any retaliation. Therefore it is left up to the citizens to end the rocket fire.

There are many ways to try to get your message out there. Continue reading this entry »


Hi, is Zionism there?

Update: This post got picked up by Arutz Sheva

Where has the Zionism gone? I guess when rockets explode they bring with them a big bang to our idealism. Forget Gaydamak’s efforts to ship kids from Sderot to Jerusalem, now there is a new organization, Save Israel’s Children, transporting kids all the way to America.

While I commend the Americans who have opened their homes to the victims of Sderot I can’t help but ask the question, why? Why is this the solution? My fear is this attitude to solving problems will soon leave us without a state. If the rockets fire begins to hit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem will we move everyone to a safer location like America or Europe?

In fact isn’t this playing exactly into the terrorists’ hands? Continue reading this entry »


Sderot to Egypt: Sue You! That’s Our Rocket and it Comes With A Bang!

sderot.jpgWhen I was growing up in LA we lived life a little differently then the rest of the world. For example, if someone made fun of me and I gave them a taste of their own medicine, the final outcome would be, “so sue me.” We learned early on that suing someone was the best form of attack and could really do the most damage.Now that I live in Israel it seems that Israelis have finally learned the art form of suing. The critical goal of suing someone is to “stick it to them.” When you sue someone you are sending a message to the other side that you are done being Mr. Nice-guy and want to fight dirty- even dirtier than guerilla warfare, you want to fight and bring your lawyers. Continue reading this entry »


The Schedule for President Bush’s Visit to the Homeland

The Big Felafel has managed to obtain President Bush’s tentative schedule for his visit this coming week to Israel. While his plans may change make sure to check into The Big Felafel for all the latest news on Bushy Bush’s visit in the Homeland.

Remember that although Bush has been preaching the Road Map during his very long Presidential term, this is his first visit to Israel. Apparently he thought that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was an interactive television show where viewers try to help the contestants- Olmert and Abu Mazen- get out of “trouble. After Conda-poo-poo’s last visit she informed Bush that she was indeed in a real foreign land that does exist. She insisted that he visit to see the real “trouble” occurring in the region. Apparently Bush was shocked to here that this was not just another ABC series like “Lost” and immediately told Conda-poo-poo to plan his trip to the foreign land so that he may meet the real contestants- he meant people.

The tentative schedule:

Wednesday:

8:00am: Arrives and is welcomed by Soldiers and the Palestinian Authority Police Officers. Two of the officers are the terrorists from last weeks shooting in Hebron. He will award them the gold medal of honor in a ceremony that Prime Minister Olmert has set up to show some more “Good Faith.” Abu Mazen is upset that he isn’t getting anything since he helped plan it and freed them.

9:00am: Off to Gaza where he will dig his own tunnel, retrieve weapons through the Egyptian border, set up Kassam launchers with fellow terrorists and even have a chance to fire one or two from the former homes of Gush Katif residents.

11:00am: To the other side, Bush will end up in Sderot where he will meet with Kassam rocket victims, families affected by the rockets and the Mayor who hasn’t slept in months. He has been invited to a family’s home that no longer has a roof thanks to rocket fire. Then he will experience an hour of rocket fire throughout the city. They have told Bush he will be playing hide and seek, for Sderot this means after you hear the red alert you have about 15 seconds to find shelter- good luck! Continue reading this entry »