Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Within Israel, and beyond, especially in Jewish and other pro-Israel communities, people have begun referring to the three teenagers, Naftali, Eyal and Gilad, who were kidnapped on June 12 as “Our Boys.” But as the level of anxiety continues to rise, one of the frustrations is that other than saying tehillim, there doesn’t seem to be many things people can do to help resolve the situation.
A few enterprising souls, however, have come up with a unique and creative way to both raise funds and awareness.
Tamara Gavrilov had been anxiously following what was happening with the search for the boys. She was particularly touched by hearing and reading about the public statements made by the mothers of the kidnapped boys.
To hear and read the desperate call of a mother, who wants nothing more than for her son to be safely returned into her arms, is incredibly heartbreaking. Her belief, that ‘[a]ny decent person would do anything they can to get them back,’ made me ashamedly aware that I have not contributed all I possibly could to help bring her son and his friends home.
Gavrilov lives in America and knows she cannot drop onto the streets of Judea and Samaria to physically search for the boys, nor does she know any public figures who she can convince to help. She also does not have experience organizing public rallies and protests, as others have done in several cities across the United States. But she realized that with every day that goes by there is a growing risk of losing the sense of urgency needed in advancing the campaign to #BringBackOurBoys.
Gavrilov is an avid skydiver, so it occurred to her that she could tap into that world and that activity to do her part in the effort.
So with the support of her local skydiving community (known as a “dropzone,” who knew?), Skydive Cross Keys, and working with the Israel Forever Foundation, and in partnership with the Endowment for Middle East Truth, Roots NY and The Zionist Organization of America, she created a unique event: “Jump for Our Boys,” which is both a fundraiser and awareness raiser.
“Jump for Our Boys” will be held on June 29, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. at the SkyDive Cross Keys, 300 Dahlia Avenue, in Williamstown, New Jersey. People can register to jump (that is, jump out of an airplane, but with a parachute!) or, if that’s not for you, sponsorship of the jumpers is the way to go.
The registration page for Jump for Our Boys gives all the details.
A portion of the funds raised will be sent directly to purchase supplies badly needed for the troops who are searching for the kidnapped boys.
But another goal of the fundraiser is to raise awareness about the kidnapping. Gavrilov told The Jewish Press, “It’s shocking how many people, especially those outside of the Jewish community, still have not heard about the kidnapping!”
As further evidence of the importance of bringing attention to a broader audience, Gavrilov explained that when she spoke with people in her dropzone as recently as Sunday, June 23, not one person had heard about the kidnapping. “But when they did hear, they were happy to try and help out by hosting this fundraiser for us.”
Gavrilov was quick to note that “of course my deepest hope and desire is that the boys are back home before Sunday and that we can jump in celebration of their safe return.”
It is great to learn of the creative responses to the current situation at the center of the heart of the Jewish people.
The Jewish Press welcomes hearing about and sharing other efforts on behalf of the cause to #BringBackOurBoys!
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