R-Top Row-Ami Adini, Ran Ronen, Judy Adini, Steven Pedigo of OSEI, Tx. Bottom row-R-Elie & Judy Balas and contributing guests Photo Orly Halevy
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
From Street Neglect To Exemplary Citizenship
There is much good is in our world that outweighs the bad; it must be exposed, reminded and supported all the time. Yedidut Zahala is one such organization and project.
There are many organizations in the United States that help Israel; some do it an ongoing fundraising campaign that each year expresses itself in a lavish style annual Gala in one of the luxury hotels in the city, and others, which are supposedly the "underdog", do it in an intimate way, under the generous hospitality in the home of some private individuals. The results are no different. Israel gets the support and financial help, more importantly, mental and moral reinforcement. It is possible that when people meet in privacy for a special cause , they not only achieve their goal, they also become an intimate family for the cause they have set to accomplish.
This is the third year a group of altruistic people, especially Israelis living in Los Angeles, gathered at home its generous owners wish to remain anonymous, to raise funds for Yedidut Zahala, an Israeli national volunteer project, in collaboration with Israel Endowment Funds, for mentoring disenfranchise youth, helping them to advance in life and be able to live a good and productive citizenship and social interaction (http://www.zahala.org/)
Gen. (Ret.) Ran (PecKker) Ronen, third generation native Israeli, a heroic fighter pilot of the Israeli Air Force and the recipient of the Moskowitz for Zionism Prize for 2008, an award that was established by Dr. Irving Moskowitz and wife Czerna, heads the organization. Ran Ronen us known to the Los Angles community, Israeli and American alike, when he served, for three years, as the consul general of Israel at the time of Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley.
The spirit of the Yedidut Zahala organization is based on voluntary activities of leadership and the desire to give while providing a personal example. And Ran who gave personal example and leadership from the day he enlisted into the Air Force ranks continues in his mission. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRoK3hLHvrk#t=12
The state of Israel was established in order to give the Jews a home where they can be free, safe and secure with the right to defend themselves by themselves. But that is not what the neighboring Arab countries see as the future of the Jewish state, which they want to see disappearing from the Middle East. God continues to test His children and since the establishment of Israel she had and still has to fight every day for her existence. These conditions created a society where survival conditions are difficult for many.
And despite all that Israel has become a very special country, a homeland for unique people.
One of the main precepts of the Jewish nation they has faithfully obeyed is "they shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Twenty years ago Mr. Ronen founded the project, when he took under his wing 12 boys from south Jaffa and worked with them for four years in order to change their perspective about life and with it their future. The idea, to guide teenagers from the periphery, with tendency to crime, and to instill in them the values of good and proper citizenship and Zionism and create from these boys and girls men and women beneficial to Israel.
The success of the first group of youths to successfully integrate into society gave Mr. Ronen the idea of turning to his colleagues and ask them to replicate what he did the first time so successfully. Four years later, their success, now an expanded effort, gave birth to the organization, that now accounts for thousands of boys and girls who were saved from life of neglect and crime and were guided and trained to become successful citizens proud of their homeland, Israel. Because of the significant contribution the volunteers invest in this project, when the youth reach the age of military service they are ripe, ready and willing to serve the country and to contribute above and beyond the call of duty.
In the frame of the project, people in Israel, especially with a military background, adopt several youths and for four years, along a variety of meaningful activities, including a visit to the Knesset, a meeting with the Prime Minister, visiting an Air Force base and meeting with the base commander, the youths undergo a meaningful, significant and positive changes in their life. This gives them the faith and strength that they are able to change the environmental conditions from where they came.
The main expenditure falls on the adopting individual; the remainder comes from the Yedidut Zahala project funds at the rate of only approximately $400.00 a year to mentor one boy or a girl, of which, the pride of the organization is that 100% is dedicated to working with the youths and is not partially allocated to cover the organization's expenses.
The generosity and the help of the volunteers running the organization's Los Angeles support cell, Rebecca and Ami Adini and Judy and Elie Balas, owners of Menchies Frozen Yogurt company, has been outstanding; the donations collected this year were six times the previous year's donations. Motti Nottea enriched the evening with his diverse sing along and dancing songs. https://plus.google.com/106438866122626101552/posts
If you wish to give a hand and help youths in Israel to get up and stand on their own two feet and receive education of moral, Zionism, love of country, good citizenship and contributing to the state, fostering tolerance, community involvement and leadership, please send a check payable to: PEF -Israel Endowment Funds, Inc. (minimum donation $ 25.00)
Address : 317 Madison Ave, Suite 607 , New York, NY 10017 USA
For the use of: Aluma-Zahala Project Organization number 580025765