Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey

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In a show of unity with those former Gaza residents who were asked to give up their homes, Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey is providing emergency funds, under the auspices of the Jewish Agency for Israel, to help ease the situation somewhat for parents of school-age children.  Thanks to a generous $10,000 gift from Julius and Ulka Sommer of Hillside, a program is being established in the town of Nitzan, in Israel’s southern Negev region, that will place the children in a school-type setting five days a week, while allowing them some recreation time as well.  The program is geared toward those families whose children have not yet been able to register for school, due to their uncertainty about where they will be living permanently.  It will also provide both parents and their children an opportunity to stay in a hotel for Shabbat, offering them some R&R during this trying time.


“Having just visited Israel, I was struck by how all Israelis – regardless of their political orientation – have joined together to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifice these citizens are making on behalf of the State of Israel,” says Stanley Stone, Executive Vice President of Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey.  “We too must acknowledge this sacrifice and do whatever we can to make their transition as smooth as possible.  We’re grateful to the Sommers for taking immediate action, and making these funds accessible so quickly.”


Julius and Ulka Sommer, both Holocaust survivors, say that because of their own post-WWII experience, during which they spent months without a place to call home, they empathize with the Gaza refugees.  “I know the feeling of being displaced,” explains Ms. Sommer.  “If we can help in any little way alleviate some of the burden they are going through, we are going to do it.”


Giving to Israel-related causes is nothing new for the Sommers.  “I am the only person who survived the Holocaust from my family, and I don’t have a lot of relatives… but every Jew is my relative,” Ms. Sommer adds.  “If this will bring real peace, the pullout will be worth it.  But either way – it’s important for those who were forced to leave to know that their fellow Jews are thinking of them and caring for them.”


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