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New Organization Helps Disenfranchised Israeli Youths

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There are many organizations that help Israel; some do it in grand style, in large hotel ballrooms, while the "underdog" ones do it the intimate way, under the generous hospitality of a private individual home. The results are the same, Israel gets support and financial help, more so, emotional strengthening. When people get together for the cause, in a private gathering, they achieve their goal, more so, become a family for the cause.

This week a group of altruistic people, mostly Israelis living in the USA, got together at the home of Orit and Herzl Greenberg in Los Angeles, to raise funds for Yedidut Zahala Project headed by Brigadier General (Res.) Ran-Pekker-Ronen, an accomplished air force warrior, former Consul General, Los Angeles and the recipient of the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism, established by Dr. Irving and Cherna Moskowitz, for the year 5768 - 2008.

The organization helps disenfranchised Israeli youths, from 9th grade till end of high school and military draft age, to find their place in society and become productive and contributing citizens.

From R Elie Judy Balas Brig. Gen. Res. Ran Pekker Ronen Rivka Ami Adini Photo Orly Halevy
From R-Elie & Judy Balas, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Ran-Pekker-Ronen, Rivka & Ami Adini-Photo Orly Halevy

Israel was established to give Jews a home where they can be safe and secure with the right to be free and defend themselves. But God keeps on testing His children. And that is not how the neighboring Arab states see the Jewish state future; they want to see Israel disappear from the Middle East region. Therefore since her establishment Israel has been forced to fight for her existence. These conditions create a society where survival conditions are tough for many.

Despite it all, Israel has turned to be a very special country, the homeland to a very special nation. One of the main commands it follows is "And love your neighbor."

Mr. Ronen established the project twenty years ago, when he took under his wings twelve youths and worked with them for four years to see them turn their lives around. The idea was to train youth from the periphery and instill in them the values f Zionism and good citizenship and to make these boys and girls better citizens for Israel.

Their success in integrating into society gave Mr. Ronen the idea to approach his colleagues and asked them to duplicate what his has firstly done, successfully. Four years later, their success gave birth to the organization, now accounting for 7,000 youths who have been saved from derelict life and were guided into becoming successful, proud and better citizens of their homeland Israel. Because of the meaningful contribution the volunteers put into this project, when the youths arrive to serve in the military they are more mature and prepared, most impertinently, they are able to contribute so much more.

People in Israel, mostly with military background, adopt several youth and in four years, through variety of activities, their height is visiting the Knesset and meeting the Prime Minister and spending time at an air force base and meeting its commander make profound change in their lives. All that to give them a sense they matter so they can turn their lives around. The main expense falls on the adopting individual, the balance comes from Yedidut Zahala Project, at the rate of $500.00 per youth per year, of which 100% goes to the work with the youth and not for maintaining the organization.

The generosity shown, with the help of volunteers such as Ahuvi Goldin, Ryan, Ami Adini and Elie and Judi Balas of Menchie's frozen yogurt, who contributed the deserts, under the present economy climate, was outstanding. More so, ending the evening with spontaneous sing-along, with Dalit on the guitar, was just a bonus.

If you want to help a youth in Israel to get on his or her feet a check to be made to:

Donation for: "Yedidut Zahala"
Payable to: PEF Israel Endowment Funds Inc. (Minimum contribution is $25.00)

Address: 317 Madison Ave, Suite 607, New York, NY 10017 USA
For the use of: Aluma-Zahala Project organization number: 580025765

Nurit Greenger sees Israel and the United States equally, as the last two forts of true democratic freedom and since 2006, has been writing about events in these two countries. Contact her by writing to nurit.4.nuritg@gmail.com Read more stories by Nurit Greenger.

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