MERCAZ USA Purim E-Letter
Dear MERCAZ Friend,
Imagine a soldier standing guard. It's dark and silent. Vitali is thinking about his parents, but they are far away in Ukraine. It's Purim and others in the unit are receiving gifts from family, or getting leave to travel home, but this soldier remains alone. Vitali came on aliyah to Israel on his own as a teenager nearly a decade ago and is now serving as a Lone Soldier in the IDF.
But it's not just young people from the former Soviet Union who are far from their families. Every year, dozens of young adults from North America, including those of our own Conservative Movement, make aliyah and join the IDF. They too are part of the 2,500 Lone Soldiers from around the Diaspora now serving in the IDF, who are alone on Purim.
This year, the annual Purim Connection, organized by the American Zionist Movement and its affiliates including MERCAZ USA, the Zionist arm of the Conservative Movement, is seeking to touch these Lone Soldiers and other young Israelis living in stressful situations and bring them a little "light and gladness" this Purim in fulfillment of the Biblical verse "to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another". (Esther 9:22)
This year, contributions from members and friends of MERCAZ USA will be directed towards purchasing Purim gift baskets to be distributed by the Outreach Project for IDF Lone Soldiers, organized by the Masorti Congregation Moreshet Yisrael in Jerusalem, and the Neve Hanna Children's Village in Kiryat Gat.
Wouldn't you like to do something special this Purim? We invite you to make a donation to help cover the cost of traditional mishloach manot Purim baskets filled with sweets and other gift items. Even a small donation will help a young child or a lonely soldier feel cared for and remembered.
Please click here for the special MERCAZ Purim Connection page. Scroll down to the contribution categories. Once you have made you selection and added an amount to your "shopping cart", you may either pay online with a credit card or print out a form and mail in your check to the American Zionist Movement.
Your mishloach manot gift will tell an Israeli soldier or child that you care. It's a gesture that will long be remembered. But the deadline is coming up quickly. For those who wish to send personal greetings, letters received by February 12th will be included in a soldier's package. We ask that donations be received no later than February 19, 2010. Please don't delay!
We thank you; and Vitali, his fellow lone soldiers and all of Israel thanks you too.
Janet Tobin, Co-Chair, AZM Purim Connection
Dr. Stephen S. Wolnek, President, MERCAZ USA
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