IsraAID Medical Unit in Syrian Refugee Camp

WSTHZ is the first synagogue to enter into a partnership with IsraAID, Israel’s leading humanitarian aid organization.

We are sponsoring an IsraAID medical unit working at a Syrian refugee camp on the Greek Island of Lesbos. Greece experienced its most severe winter in years and the refugees who fled the war in Syria are in urgent need of care. The IsraAID medical unit  provides healthcare for 2000 refugees.

As part of the partnership, we will have a personal relationship with the medical team, headed by an Israeli Jewish doctor, Roy, and an Israeli Arab nurse, Malek.

At had our first informational meeting, Talya Feldman, senior director of operations for the United States, spoke to us about her experience in Lesbos last year and outlined some of the avenues for us to explore in the partnership. She suggested that we engage our preschool and religious school in the project and exchange art with Syrian refugees. She also suggest that we initiate Sykpe calls with the medical team to receive updates on the ground.

Our initial commitment is for six months. We, at WSTHZ, envision these next six months as a time for our community to rally around the project and promote it inside our walls and beyond. At the end of six-month period, we will hold a celebration to honor those who have participated and given of their time and resources. We will then re-evaluate how to proceed.

Sponsoring the medical unit is costly, $60,000 for six month, or $10,000 a month. Because of several generous donations on Thursday night, we are pleased to report that we already have raised 25% of the total amount needed. Over the next six months, we will look to raise the remainder, either as one-time donations or as monthly contributions over the six-month period.

This is an exciting project that will impact those are in most need. As we discussed after the meeting, it is also an opportunity to promote acts of loving-kindness in Israel’s name.

As you can see in the video linked here, the IsraAID volunteers are an impressive group of young doctors and nurses who are not only helping in one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies of the past years, they are also building bridges with those who are coming from a country, Syria, that is officially still at war with Israel.

The next step is to continue our fundraising so that we can report to IsraAID that we will be able to fulfill our end of the partnership. They were very insistent that the partnership is not based solely on the financial aspect and should it prove to be too high a target for us, we will still proceed ahead. Every donation, large or small, helps us towards the goal.

Although the project is centered in our synagogue, this is not a campaign that is confined to WSTHZ. This is meant to be a community wide project and campaign to help ISRAAID and Syrian refugees. We at WSTHZ are taking the lead and housing the project because of our ties to the organization. Here are some different ways that you can to help:

  • Contribute to the campaign (please make out checks to IsraAID but send them to the WSTHZ office).
  • Offer to lead a project to raise awareness about the partnership (internally or externally, e.g. at a local school).
  • Volunteer to coordinate different aspects of the project (financial, contact with the team in Greece, promotions, educational).
  • Lead fundraising in the community. We will soon have a letter that you can send out to let others know about it.

Any ideas, feedback, thoughts, are encouraged and appreciated.

The partnership is a pilot project. Therefore, all of our suggestions can help turn it into a winning model for IsraAID to present to other synagogues across the United States and multiply their impact with Syrian refugees and the numerous other projects that they have undertaken worldwide. We are all leaders and partners to help transform the world.

As the Mishnah teaches us, ‘Whoever saves a life, it is as if he saved an entire world.’

Sincerely,
Rabbi Adir Glick

Sat, July 22 2017 28 Tammuz 5777