Six fourth-graders from Maimonides School in Brookline recently set up a stand on their block. They loaded it with cotton candy, lemonade, hot chocolate, and homemade cookies, and pledged to donate the proceeds to those in Israel. They raised over $500.
Ernest Mandel, the father of some of the children who raised the money, said that his son, who was having a joint birthday party later that afternoon, also chose to ask guests to make donations to Israel in lieu of gifts. “Every child is processing what they’re hearing and the moves that their teachers and peers [are making],” he said. “There’s a lot of raw emotion they’re experiencing … and to channel that into acts of chesed [kindness] – what more could we ask for?”
For those in search of more opportunities to help, many synagogues and day schools are holding fund-raisers and supply drives. Maimonides School in Brookline sent several dozen duffel bags of donated supplies with two alumni heading to Israel to join the military reserves. Temple Sinai in Marblehead completed a supply drive last week, in which more than three cars full of baby items, toiletries, and supplies for soldiers were donated to the Israeli-American Council. Rabbi Yossi Lipsker of Chabad of the North Shore announced that he will be traveling to Israel on Oct. 26 to support families there, and that Chabad is organizing a supply drive and monetary donations in anticipation of the trip. You can find out more at howcanwehelpisrael.com.
In addition to individual and community efforts, there also are a great number of national and international organizations that are requesting donations to support those in Israel. Here’s a short list of some wide-reaching organizations, though there are many more places to donate:
American Friends of Magen David Adom is operating 24 hours a day throughout Israel, providing emergency medical assistance to those who need it. Their blood services division supports the Israel Defense Forces, as well as to a range of Israeli hospitals, and their Human Milk Bank has expanded accessibility to ensure that babies who need breast milk have enough to survive. You can learn more, and donate at afmda.org/israel-under-attack.
American Friends of Soroka Medical Center needs donations to support the high influx of patients it has been receiving since the Hamas attacks. Donations go toward things like critical equipment and mental health and trauma support for staff at the medical center in Be’er Sheva. You can donate at soroka.org/donate.
United Hatzalah is a volunteer emergency medical organization currently providing life-saving services to Israel, especially in the south. They need to equip 7,000 volunteers with protective vests and helmets, oxygen tanks, defibrillators, trauma bandages, and tourniquets, and are looking to raise about $50 million to achieve that goal. You can donate at israelrescue.org.
Friends of the IDF is a U.S. organization providing support to the Israeli Defense Forces. They are raising money to support temporary field hospitals, intensive care ambulances, and hygiene and plasma kits, among other needs. You can donate at fidf.org.
NATAL is an Israeli nonprofit that specializes in war and terror-related trauma preparedness and support. They run a hotline for those experiencing anxiety, fear, and trauma. You can donate at natal.org.il/en/donate.
Combined Jewish Philanthropies is raising money to support victims of terror and address trauma in Israel. Learn more and donate at ma.cjp.org.
The Israeli-American Council (IAC) is fund-raising and sourcing supplies to support hospitals in the south of Israel, support soldiers’ needs, provide humanitarian aid, fund media advocacy in the U.S., and support families affected by the war. You can select specific ways to give at iac360.org/support-israel-fund.
Another way to support those in Israel is to simply keep checking in on your friends and family who live there. As the days pass since the Hamas attack, less people will send a simple, “How are you doing?” or “I’m here if you want to talk” text or call. It’s easy for us – here – to be caught up in the American news cycle and our own pressing stressors and concerns. It’s easy, too, to feel like such an action will have little impact, or even that it will cause annoyance. From my own loved ones and those I’ve spoken to in Israel for the Journal’s coverage of the war, it seems that knowing that people in the U.S. are thinking and caring about them means a lot.
They are still facing the empty spaces of their friends and family; whether they are dead or missing, taken hostage, lying in a hospital bed, or donning a uniform to fight with the IDF.
Our Israeli loved ones, like us, could always use one more reminder that they are not alone.