Dallas Doings: Israel, safe rooms, Ahava reception

By Linda Wisch-Davidsohn

Diane and Jerry Benjamin’s thoughts on trip to Israel

Rav Jeff and Naomi Schrager

Megan and Brian Hodges

Dr. Steven and Lauren Davidoff

Kim and Rob Velevis

Diane and Jerry Benjamin are active and tireless community leaders. Recently, Diane shared the following in her own words:
Our recent trip to Israel was breathtaking! After a most spectacular 29th annual Allied Mission to Israel with the Jewish War Veterans, Jerry and I delayed our return to Dallas in order that I might see, firsthand, the incredible Bnai Zion Medical Center.
As President of the Texas Region of the Bnai Zion Foundation, I eagerly anticipated this personal “mission” to be the highlight of our trip! Indeed, it was as Jerry and I viewed this leading medical facility, in Haifa, that was recently rated, by Israelis as the No. 1 mid-sized hospital in Israel, since it serves northern Israel — remarkably, not only as it has for the past 90 years, but most certainly, presently as it faces the concerns of instability in this virulent part of our globe!
Amazing as the trip was, while we were visiting the various departments in the hospital, the Director General, Dr. Amnon Rofe, noticed with his caring gaze that Jerry wasn’t well.
He immediately summoned the Chief of the Emergency Facility, Dr. Michael Kafka, to examine Jerry, who was immediately admitted as a patient to the Bnai Zion hospital.  Had we not been at the hospital during this very time, it was predicted that in another half hour, Jerry would’ve had “no breath at all!”
Now that we are back home, Jerry has learned firsthand about the Bnai Zion hospital from a patient’s point of view. There is no better spokesperson than Jerry Benjamin to get firsthand information about the Bnai Zion Medical Center, since he was a recipient of the hospital’s lifesaving efforts!
While Jerry was hospitalized, I also had the opportunity to take a day trip to visit yet another one of the Bnai Zion Foundation’s incredible facilities, the Ahava Village for Children and Youth, in nearby Kiryat Bialik. Ahava Village is a residential center for children ages 6-18 removed by court order from abusive home situations.
Composed of apartments, educational facilities, and recreation areas, one of which was donated by Alon Carmel, the founder of J-Date, who, himself, is a recipient of this life-saving facility, this site has given to its over 250 current children and many from its inception in 1935, the loving customized care, education and training that has nurtured so many.
The different kinds of therapy and range of activities that help children overcome past traumas and persevere with hope, was personally witnessed by me as I was given this special tour by Yoav Apelboim, the executive director of Ahava Village.

Building safe rooms

The Israeli government recently mandated that Ahava must build a safe room for each of the apartments by the end of the year.
As I noticed, Ahava is not only threatened by its close proximity to the enemy — targeted refineries in Haifa Bay; however, Ahava is only 30 miles away from Lebanon, where anticipated military threats by Hezbollah are a major daily concern. For, as Dr. Rofe stated, “not a question of ‘if’ but, ‘when,’” hence, it is clearly our directive to act now!

Bnai Zion Foundation to host
annual Ahava dessert reception

Diane continues by saying that in light of this directive, “the Bnai Zion Foundation will host the Annual Ahava Dessert Reception at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 14 at Congregation Shearith Israel, 9401 Douglas Ave. Shane Stein and Brett Lazarus, two outstanding Dallas community leaders, will serve as the chairmen.
Honorees have been carefully chosen based upon their humanitarian efforts locally and within the Jewish community. The honorees include Dr. Steven and Lauren Davidoff, Brian and Megan Hodges, Rav Jeff and Naomi Schrager, and Rob and Kim Velevis.
The honorees are aware of the immediate needs of Ahava — to equip the safe rooms by the end of 2015 to protect these children with the windows sealed tightly and closed with steel shutters so no nerve gas can permeate the rooms; highly sophisticated air filtration system to blow oxygen and clean air throughout the rooms; double-reinforced concrete walls and a steel door which is also totally sealed against any microbes or harmful toxins which could harm our children.
To learn more about this event and to understand why your support is critical to Ahava, please make your reservations to attend and support the Bnai Zion Foundation’s Ahava Youth Village project, which can become your personal mission, as well.

Contact Avrille Harris at 972-918-9200 or visit website at www.bnaizion.org.

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