yechiel's letter from israel

lettersfromisrael a creation of aaron israel ginsburg

Yechiel Marcus works at
The Jaffa Institute. The Jaffa Institute, founded in 1982, serves severely disadvantaged children who are growing up in very difficult family and neighborhood settings. In four activity centers in Jaffa and south Tel Aviv, we provide hot lunches, assistance with homework, anti-drug programs and a positive, supportive and safe "home" setting for hundreds of children every day. Other programs include a food distribution center and crisis intervention center. For more information: The Jaffa Institute.

 July 24, 2006

Dear Miriam and Joe,
Thanks so much for your message. I guess one of the good things that comes out of a war like this is that "kol yisrael arevim zeh la zeh" - all Israel is responsible one for the other. Jews all over the world are highly attuned into what is happening here now, that's for sure.
Thank G-d our family is fine. The children aren't scared, since we are fortunate that we live in Bet Shemesh which is far from the conflict at this point. We don't watch news- since we don't have a television - and I think that really helps keep things calmer. We do hear planes flying a lot more- even on Shabbat. This is a definite sign that there is a lot of activity. As far as an eventual outcome? The Hezbollah has been working for quite a long time, together with Iran and probably Syria, to stockpile missiles and dig bunkers in Lebanon. G-d willing we will have some impact on destroying this capability, but it's hard to believe that we would be able to completely destroy their ability to attack Israel. The fighting in Lebanon is very difficult and we only pray that we will have no casualties as we go about trying to destroy the terrorist infrastructure that they have there.
What is interesting is that I haven't heard too much talk about the Israeli refugees, who have left their homes in many of the northern cities and moved to the center and south of Israel. Last week a busload of families arrived at a public school in our neighborhood, where they are now living, a few families in each classroom. They are being fed by the local municipality, with financial support from many individuals and organizations. We have been there to visit these people from Haifa, Naharia and Zfat. They are simply misplaced persons, forced to leave home and live under very difficult conditions. As a newly appointed gabbai at our shul, I had the privilege to give the name for a baby girl, born last Thursday to a family from Kiryat Shemona. They are staying with friends of theirs in our community.
At the Jaffa Institute we have absorbed a number of children in our day camps, who have moved with their families to the center of the country. The children who had to leave their homes are without a summer program, so we are including as many as we can.

Surprisingly, in the center and south of country life is fairly normal. We go to work each day, the kids go to day camp, thank G-d there have not been any attacks anywhere near us. We have reservations to go to a Field School for vacation in the north at the end of August, so we are wondering if we will have to cancel the vacation. We will see how things develop over the next few weeks.
That's it for now.
Thank you so much for writing. It's very encouraging to know that you are thinking of us.
Love, Yechiel
Jaffa, Israel