Eternal Israel
ISRAEL ETERNAL
News Update                                              Vol. 1 - June 2009
New Executive Director Appointed
Dina Shalit
The Board of Directors of Israel of Israel La'ad is pleased to announce the appointment of Dina Shalit as executive director of the unique Israeli non-profit. Dina has over 30 years experience in the non-profit sector and comes to Israel La'ad from the Ariel Development Fund, where she served as executive director for over 20 years.
 
Long familiar with the organization through her acquaintance with Israel La'ad President, Ra'anan (Rani) Levy, Dina expressed her excitement at becoming a part of the organization:
 
 "Rani and I share a belief in the Zionist ideal of continually building, growing and strengthening Israel. I had fulfilled that goal for over 20 years by helping to build and develop the City of Ariel. Ariel is now an irreversible fact. I was ready for a new challenge.
 
"The more Rani told me about Israel La'ad's projects and the amazing success of the programs, the more excited I became. If we can increase our support base for Israel La'ad's life-changing work, we can break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage.
 
"In the 26 years since I made Aliyah, I have met so many people who want to help Israel and her people and now I can offer them an outstanding opportunity to really make a difference in someone's life."
 

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It is a great pleasure to be sending you
the very first Ra'anan Levye-newsletter of our unique
organization, Israel La'ad (Israel Eternal). I want to take this opportunity to tell you a little more about our organization and the very important work we do.
 
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, millions of Jews have come home. While most have integrated well into Israeli society, thousands have failed to do so. Poverty and a lack of education have limited the opportunities for many immigrant families, resulting in too many underprivileged children and senior citizens in desperate need of help.
 
In 2004, shortly after serving as Advisor to the Prime Minister on World Jewish and World Christian Affairs, I felt I had to do something for my own brothers and sisters in Israel. Together with a small group of businessmen who also felt compelled to address the special needs of these underprivileged groups in Israeli society,  I founded Israel La'ad to reach out to those less fortunate. 
 
Israel La'ad currently operates three main  projects in several towns across Israel: "Feed the Hungry", Afternoon Learning Centers (ALC) and "Ride for Pride". As you read about these important programs and the people they help, I hope you will decide to partner with us. With your help, we can reach so many more Israelis who need us.
 
Sincerely,
 
Ra'anan (Rani) Levy
President
Afternoon Learning Centers
 
Afternoon Learning Center 
 
The Afternoon Learning Center(ALC) project targets youth at risk in grades 5, 6, 7 & 8, many children of immigrant families. The goal of the ALC is to help them develop the skills necessary to become successful studentsthrougha motivational program of support and reward. Education professionals believe that this age group is the most receptive to help and guidance.
 
Israel La'ad works with municipal welfare and social workers to identify children at risk of dropping out of school or  turning to crime or drugs. Priority is given to children of families that immigrated to Israel in the past 10-15 years and have as yet not succeeded in integrating into the Israeli work force and society. These families cannot provide their children with essential learning tools or a conducive environment for scholastic achievement.
 
The teachers at the ALCs work with groups of 3-5 children at a time,  identifying each child's weaknesses and  focusing on their individual needs.  Helping these children succeed in school TODAY greatly increases their chances of of becoming successful, contributing members of Israeli society in the FUTURE.
Ride For Pride  
Ride for Pride 
Ride for Pride is a bike riding program for youth at risk of dropping out of school and ending up on the street. The goal of the project is to provide these children with an incentive and reward for working hard in school and to instill in them  a feeling of belonging in Israeli society and a love for Israel.
 
The project has been operating since 2005 in the cities of Qatzrin and Gedera, each with a team of some 17 children. The teams go mountain biking twice a week with a coach who acts as their counselor. Although an independent program, the "Ride for Pride" project has been running in both Gedera and Qatzrin in conjunction with Israel La'ad's Afternoon Learning Center.
 
Ride for Pride encourages these children to work hard in school in order to earn the privilege of participating in their bike riding team's activities. The children are required to meet the terms of the program in order to participate in the program's activities, namely, do their school and homework assignments. Once they meet and fulfil all project requirements, the mountain bike and safety gear are theirs to keep !
 
The project has received incredible feedback from the children's teachers and social workers, who credit Ride for Pride with the transformation these children have undergone. Ride for Pride has succeeded in getting these children from low socio-economic backgrounds to meet the program's requirements  and commit to  their schoolwork, while giving them an extra curricular activity to look forward to and be excited about.
Feeding the Hungry 
 
 "Feed the Hungry"  is a food delivery program that operates primarily in the cities of Ashdod, Yavne and Kiryat-Malachi. Some 30 volunteers deliver almost 500 "Shabbat Baskets" every Thursday evening. These Sabbath Baskets include chicken, rice, oil, flour, vegetables and fruit as well as two Challas and a small bottle of wine for the traditional Sabbath blessing.
 
The recipients of these baskets are primarily elderly and lonely people who have no family or friends in Israel. Some have lost everything in the Holocaust. Others are immigrants who have come to Israel in the past 5-10 years. Israel La'ad - Eternal Israel  also supports younger families who are experiencing economic distress or extended periods of unemployment.
 
Our volunteers' visits provide both a ray of light and the only assurance of having a home cooked Sabbath meal. Some recipients open their doors and insist that our volunteers come in and stay for a bit while others are too ashamed to open their doors and reach for the baskets only once our volunteers have left.
 
Unfortunately, with the current global economic crisis imacting Israel strongly,  there are many people that need our help, more than we can afford to add to our weekly deliveries. We currently have a list of approximately 1,000 such families on our waiting list. It is our hope that by the time the High Holidays come in September, we will be able to provide each and every family in need with a holiday meal.