March 2016 MERCAZ USA/AZM Purim Connection Adar I 5776 

Dear Friends:

Believe it or not, Purim is right around the corner! As we prepare for our parties and plan out our costumes, we also have a special opportunity to spread some of the joy of Purim in Israel.

Over the past few months, a disturbing number of vicious attacks have changed the daily reality in Israel - primarily in Jerusalem. This new wave of terror attacks was just starting to become regular news as we attended the 37th World Zionist Congress in Jerusalem this past October. Tensions could be felt throughout the city, and country. Jerusalem businesses have suffered, tourism has decreased, and parents don't leave their homes with their children without carrying handheld items for self-defense.

But what we don't see or hear about in the US is the number of attacks that are thwarted and stopped. Over the past 6 months, border patrol and police forces have seized countless weapons and prevented numerous attacks in the greater Jerusalem area - on average 2-3 times a day! These brave young men and women apprehend criminals and stop terror in its tracks; heroic stories we never hear about.

Please join us in thanking them. As the Jewish nation, we have a responsibility to protect Israel, our Homeland. Though we may not be there personally, we can support those on the front lines who work tirelessly to keep our eternal capital safe. They are constantly prepared to face danger themselves so that Jerusalem's civilians can walk the streets safely.

Israeli soldier

Please join our joint MERCAZ USA/American Zionist Movement campaign to send Mishloach Manot to the members of the Jerusalem Border Patrol and police officers stationed in Jerusalem's Old City, a unique combination of IDF soldiers and police officers tasked with the ongoing security of our sacred capital.

They spend all day (and night), on their feet, walking, surveying, checking, protecting, etc... Imagine the amount of joy this small act of kindness would bring, receiving a Purim basket to show the appreciation of the global Jewish community.

Your gift of $36 will provide one policeman with a basket; Make a gift of $180 and ensure his entire unit will receive it. Our goal for the border police is $15,000.

In addition to this important initiative, and as in years past, the MERCAZ USA/AZM Purim Connection will continue to share the joy of Purim with children in Ashkelon, Neve Hanna and other Israeli towns and villages. This year's campaign will be dedicated in memory of our dear friend and WZO colleague, Marty Davis from the Masorti congregation in Ashkelon, who was instrumental in ensuring the success of this program in Israel. All gifts provided are purchased in Israel, and will be delivered by our friends and colleagues there.

Give $300 to provide baskets for a class; Even a gift of $10 will help us provide some Purim joy to a child.

Purim is just one of many stories from our collective history that exhibits our unique ability to stand up to our enemies, and unite as a people to overcome danger. This is what we celebrate today. Demoralizing to contend with ongoing, daily terror, the American Zionist community, whose members are from all different backgrounds and affiliations, has the chance to work together to provide a boost of morale to those who protect and serve, not just Israel, but Jews everywhere, every day. We also send the crucial message to Israel that we stand by her side, now during this difficult period, and always.

This Purim, do something different, do something special. Please contact us at www.azm.org to order mishloach manot baskets today, along with any message you would like us to include. Or click here to order online.

MERCAZ USA and AZM are committed to the strengthening of Israel – locally and around the world. JOIN US in uniting as a people, overcoming fear, and making this Purim a very special one for Israel's quiet heroes.

We thank you for your support.