Sunday, July 16, 2006

How to Help

Just posting to say to all of my lovely readers that I am OK. Things here are tense to say the least, but life goes on. Yesterday I went to Y's parents house and swam in the pool and then to Tel Aviv to hang out with friends at the beach.

The Northern half of Israel is under attack in a serious way. There is a feeling of helplessness as we watch the action on TV. But you can help.

My e-friend, David, over at Treppenwitz has a list of things that you can do to help. With his permission, I've reposted the list here:

If you are in Israel
  • Give blood. Under normal circumstances the blood supplies are critically low. Now more than ever you must find time to donate. Not only will it help save a life, but it will give you and your family 'blood insurance' in case (G-d forbid) the need arises.
  • Open your home. If you have friends or relatives living in communities that are currently under fire, please don't assume they have plans. Pick up the phone and invite them for Shabbat... for a few days... for a week.
  • Support businesses. It may not be this week or even this month... but when things quiet down there are going to be a lot of hotels, restaurants and other small businesses which rely on the tourist industry teetering on the edge of ruin. This tourist season is essentially gone. It will be almost a whole year before the next tourist influx (maybe) has the nerve to venture back here. Make it your business to spend your next free weekend up north. Eilat isn't going anywhere... take your next vacation in the Golan or Galilee.
  • Buy products made in areas that are under attack. If you or your business have the choice of purchasing goods or services from companies in areas where the missiles are falling, please don't put it off... they need your business.
  • Support Charitable efforts. Please don't assume that the Israeli government will be able to step in and make everything right for the communities once the missiles (please G-d) stop falling. Find well-established, reputable charitable organizations that are doing important work in these communities and give generously.
  • Pray. I don't care whether you recite the entire book of Psalms, pray the rosary or sit in the Lotus position meditating on regional/world peace. This is one of those 'it couldn't hurt and might actually help' kinda things

If you are outside of Israel
  • Come visit. It may seem counter-intuitive to discuss tourism, but many people outside of Israel forget that this country relies on the tourist industry for more than half its GNP. I'm not saying you need to book a bed & breakfast in the upper Galilee or Golan (although once things quiet down that is exactly where you should be going). Just come. During the the Intifada too many people who claim to support Israel voted with their feet and stayed home. Don't let it happen again.
  • Support humanitarian and lifesaving organizations such as Magen David Adom, Yad Sarah and Zaka.
  • Plant a tree. As far as it may be from your mind at the moment, thousands of acres of Jewish National Fund forests are burning as a result of the hundreds of missiles that have been fired into Israel. Replanting those areas will cost money. You know what to do.
  • Do business with Israeli companies. In the coming days and weeks there will be increased calls for divestment from Israel. If you or your business have the ability to use goods or services provided by Israeli companies... please do so. If you want to find out more about this, please contact your nearest Israeli consulate and ask for their assistance in identifying Israeli partners, suppliers and resources.
  • Buy Israel Bonds. This may sound cliche... like something that our grandparents do... grudgingly.... and only during the annual Kol Nidre Appeal. But individuals and companies have the ability to help themselves while they help strengthen the State of Israel. Israel Bonds have never once failed to deliver promised returns and are the cornerstone of many portfolios and pension funds (including my pension fund with Local 802 America Federation of Musicians). So if you were casting about for the perfect wedding or Bar/Bat mitzvah gift... buy some of these.
  • Keep them honest. Don't get involved in intractable emotional battles with Israel bashers and anti-Semites. But DO keep tabs on your local media and take them to task each and every time you see them misreporting historical data or misrepresenting current events. For best results keep your communications polite, brief and to the point. Encourage others to be equally vigilant.
  • Educate and inform. For most of your non-Jewish coworkers and neighbors, the conflict here is as inscrutable as those in Northern Ireland, Sudan and the Basque region of Spain. Make it your business to stay well informed and take the time to personalize this war for people. This is not rocket science... although rockets certainly play a role in the conflict. Keep it simple. Explain the news and the significance of events as they are happening here. If you don't do it, their sole source of information will be whatever CNN or the BBC are serving up.
  • Pray. I don't care whether you recite the entire book of Psalms, pray the rosary or sit in the Lotus position meditating on regional/world peace. This is one of those 'it couldn't hurt and might actually help' kinda things.


At 7/17/2006 5:36 AM, Blogger Sam said...

You (singularly and collectively) are on my mind...

At 7/17/2006 5:53 PM, Blogger A soft socialist said...

Everyone in the middle east is very much in our prayers at the moment.

At 7/18/2006 6:11 AM, Blogger JR said...

I am thinking and worrying about you! You keep safe damn it!

At 7/18/2006 9:59 AM, Blogger John said...

Thanks everybody! Right now, things are normal-ish in Jerusalem.

At 7/18/2006 10:59 AM, Anonymous Kari said...

John~ I am glad you are doing well. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas, if you don't mind I would like to pass them on. It's difficult being in the States and wanting to help, but you gave a lot of ways people can!
Toda Raba!
Blessings to you!

At 7/26/2006 6:05 AM, Blogger cdorsey said...

Thank you so much for the list. I will pass it on in hopes that we can make a small difference.


At 7/30/2006 6:35 PM, Blogger Hugh Johnson said...

Good luck!

I wonder if we might have a little sympathy and donate some of our blood for the citizens in Lebanaon and Gaza who continue to suffer such devastating consequences of the IDFs rampage?

At 7/31/2006 11:11 AM, Blogger John said...

Hi Hugh - and welcome! Yes, let's do take a moment and think about all of the people impacted by this war.

Hugh, incursions into Gaza, the West Bank, and Lebanon will all stop as soon as rockets stop falling on Israel and homocide bombers stop attacking Israeli communities. When our neighbors decide to live peacefully with us, there will be peace.


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