Hillel supports Save a Child’s Heart
The University of Arizona Hillel Foundation’s Wildcats for Israel club held a fundraiser for Save a Child’s Heart on the UA Mall on Feb. 10. Almost $250 was raised over four hours for SACH, an Israel-based nonprofit that provides urgently needed pediatric heart surgery and follow-up care for indigent children from developing countries.
Grand slam for the JCC
The Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation presented a Grand Slam Award to the Tucson Jewish Community Center on Wednesday, Feb. 18. The $76,000 grant will help fund a play structure for an indoor play area for children ages 2-7, part of the JCC’s overall renovation plans. Since 2002, when the Diamondbacks began the Grand Slam program, they have given 38 awards totaling more than $3.5 million to community organizations.
Israeli soldiers’ stories at the UA
Israeli reserve duty soldier-students Ashager and Eyal spoke at the University of Arizona to 140 students at ROTC and 130 at the UA Hillel Foundation (including the AEPi fraternity) on Feb. 25 as part of the 6th “Israeli Soldiers Tour” sponsored by StandWithUs, an international Israel education organization. Along with relating their experiences in the Israel Defense Forces, they discussed their backgrounds and answered questions.
Ashager, 24, studies government diplomacy and strategy at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya. She spoke of her family’s trek across Ethiopia in 1991 to Addis Ababa, where Israel had planes to airlift refugees to Israel in Operation Solomon. Her grandfather and other men scouted ahead each evening, but when they were murdered by robbers, the survivors had to decide whether to move ahead without a leader or return to a place of danger. At that moment, a baby girl was born. Her family saw her birth as a sign from God that “this child should live in Jerusalem … this girl should be able to live safely as a Jew.” She was named Ashager, which in Amharic means “going forward.”
Eyal, 26, a recent law school graduate, enlisted in the IDF in the middle of the second Lebanon war. “A few weeks after the war ended,” he said, “I worked on the ‘blue line project.’ I found myself in what was just a few days earlier a battlefield, with a UN and LAF officer,” setting out blue barrels to mark a future border between Israel and Lebanon, an attempt to prevent escalation of war. “This was a great example of how we can put our differences aside to build a better future,” says Eyal, who later worked in the international infrastructural projects department at COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories), promoting NGO-funded projects such as schools, roads and clinics in the West Bank and Gaza.