American Jews stand by Israel

American Jews stand by Israel

The UJA Federation of Northern New Jersey has started a drive to raise $5 million as part of the United Jewish Communities’ Israel Emergency Campaign, according to federation officials.

The decision was made last Thursday at a meeting of the federation’s executive committee, after discussions with the UJC, the umbrella organization for North America’s 155 local federations, said UJA-NNJ president Dan Silna.

The money will be a part of a $’50 million to $300 million national UJC campaign that will go to help Israel recover from its conflict in Lebanon, he said.

The money will go to help both rebuild towns in northern Israel that have been hit by Hezbollah rocket attacks, and to help the economy of northern Israel recover once the fighting stops. Short-term, it will help make the lives of Israelis now living in bomb shelters more comfortable, help relocate Israelis from the north, send northern Israeli children to summer camps in central Israel, and help provide medical and psychological care to those affected by rocket attacks.

Though the campaign will begin with a kick-off event in mid-September, after the federation has been able to put in place a professional and lay board to oversee the operation, the UJA-NNJ is already accepting donations, and as of Wednesday had collected some $1’0,000 through a mailbox that it opened on its Website.

The federation has been active since the conflict in Lebanon started, bringing together some 1,000 people for a rally at the JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly last Sunday. On Thursday, UJA-NNJ was scheduled to bring Karnit Goldwasser, the wife of kidnapped Israeli soldier, Ehud Goldwasser, to speak at Temple Sholom in River Edge between speaking engagements in New York and Washington, D.C.

"There are going to be building and rebuilding projects. People’s businesses have been severely impacted," said UJA-NNJ Executive Vice President Howard Charish.

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