Whether your child is interested in visiting Israel, helping Israeli communities or simply in knowing more about what Israel has to offer, there's much to be gained by helping your kids learn as much as they can about Israel at an early age.
Even if you don't have a trip to Israel planned yet, there are plenty of things that your kids can do to support Israel. Consider asking your child to put some of their allowance aside towards tzedekah, charity, to help those in need. One fun and meaningful way to help is by sending pizza, ice cream and soda to Israeli soldiers who are stationed far from their homes and families. Your child can send a special message to the soldiers, and will get a personalized certificate of thanks in return.
Children who are too young to receive an allowance can also help by drawing pictures and making get-well cards to help cheer those who are ill in Israel's hospitals—including hospitals like Hadassah Hospital, which treats and employs individuals without regard to their ethnicity or religion. For more information and ideas, contact Israel@JewishInSeattle.org.
B'nai Mitzvah Projects
Are you about passionate about Israel? Basing your Bar or Bat Mitzvah project on helping Israel is a wonderful and unique way to help accomplish tikkun olam. Based on your interests, there are a number of projects you could do that would be both impactful and fun. Please remember that collecting donations of things like books, clothes or toys for shipment to Israel isn't the best way to help people in Israel. It will take a long time for your package to reach Israel and even longer for it to go through customs inspections. The people to whom you send such donations might be liable for taxes.
A better way to help is by collecting monetary donations. We can help you find a liaison in Israel who will use that money to buy what is needed and give it directly to the people who need it. You can send letters, drawings and photographs along with your monetary gift to add a personal touch.
For more information on these projects or for more ideas, contact Israel@JewishInSeattle.org.
Yad L'Kashish: Lifeline for the Old
While many elderly people enjoy good health and have family and friends to take care of them, not everyone is so lucky. Some individuals made aliyah to Israel by themselves, and don't have any family nearby. Others have lost their partners to old age or illness. For others, health problems prevent them from doing the work and hobbies that they used to love. For such people, old age—the time when they should be enjoying retirement and grandchildren—can be very lonely.
Yad L'kashish is a unique organization that helps the elderly reclaim their sense of dignity and purpose. Elderly individuals create beautiful, handmade items like challah covers, mezuzot, kipot, jewelry, and many other things. These items are then sold in Israel and online all over the world. Creating items and operating the shop helps these people to regain a sense of community and purpose. Donations of any amount are welcome, and you can also help by purchasing your bar or bat mitzvah favors from their online gift shop!
A Package from Home: Helping the Soldiers
Imagine you are a teen who has just finished college, joined the army and left home for the first time. Everything is unfamiliar to you, and your friends and family are thousands of miles away. This situation is reality for many young soldiers. One way to help the “lone soldiers” (soldiers who don't have any family living in Israel) is by donating to A Package from Home. Packages of food, clean clothes and much-needed toiletry items are delivered to soldiers along with encouraging letters.
Birthday Angels Birthday Party Project
Can you imagine a birthday party without decorations, presents, cake and ice cream, music and fun? While most American kids have wonderful memories of their birthdays, one in three Israeli children come from a family that is financially unable to give them a birthday party. But for just $36, you can give one Israeli child the gift of a birthday party complete with all the things you loved about your birthday.