SUPPORT ASSOCIATION FOR ZIONISM (SAZ) raises donations for Children in Ashkelon

SAZ and the Ashkelon Foundation establish collaboration:

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The connection with SAZ began in June 2009- "Scanning the Land”
Christiana van Zyl, SAZ Treasurer, is presently in Israel meeting with Marty Davis of the World Zionist Organisation (WZO).
In particular, they are visiting Ashkelon and Sderot near the Gaza border to identify social welfare projects requiring financial assistance. The WZO, S.A. Zionist Federation and Western Province Zionist Council have promised to assist SAZ in its endeavours to provide financial support for worthy social welfare projects in Israel.

Involvement in Israel: Ashkelon Project: By Christiana van Zyl

To assist and strengthen the Jewish people who are shaping  their Jewish, Zionist state, building an exemplary society with a unique moral and spiritual character. This is part of SAZ'S Declaration of Support, which endorse the New Jerusalem Programme as well.

To achieve this SAZ aims to become a platform/vehicle that will be able to express our Pro-Israel
elements in a practical way. Through this SAZ will add value and create new value for the Zionist cause. Up to now we have been doing this through the media, our website, newsletter and bi-monthly interactive meetings.
All of this was made possible through keypersons that are connecting SAZ as an assisting life wire within a greater network.

 Due to this network SAZ is able to put in action what we reckon as one of the most important elements: Involvement in Israel.

 SAZ met with Mr. Marty Davis, Director General Department for Zionist Activities, World Zionist Organization in Jerusalem, April 2008. After introducing SAZ as a new organization supporting Zionism, we shared with him our vision to assist a welfare project in Israel. Mr. Davis suggested Ashkelon as an option. The suggestion then became a reality.
In June this year SAZ accepted an invitation from Mr. Davis to visit Ashkelon and to meet with the Ashkelon Foundation who operates a
variety of programs in order to help meet Ashkelon's ever-increasing needs in the realm of community, culture, society, education and welfare. Mr. Meir Bouhnik, Managing Director of the Ashkelon Foundation, arranged for SAZ to visit three projects.

SAZ wants to thank and compliment both Mr. Davis and Mr. Bouhnik for their hospitality and the excellence in which they granted us the opportunity to form a vivid picture of each project which we brought back to our members.
 
SAZ has decided to assist the special needs CP kindergarten. It is a regional education and rehabilitation centre for children with CP. The children are ages 3-6 years old. The Special Needs Kindergarten tries to develop the children as much as possible by giving each child special individual care and attention.
We will focus on the outdoor playground which forms an essential part of the centre. Our assistance will mainly be financial support, but through this we hope to build a friendship between Ashkelon and South Africa. This will add to the historical evidence of a city that was built through the help of the South African Jewry.
 
SAZ is thankful for an opportunity to assist Israel in a small but significant way.
May this small beginning grow into bigger opportunities to strengthen the Jewish people.
We encourage people who want to support this part of SAZ's vision to sow a seed into very fertile ground...
 

A call to Love – the SAZ Youth League
Through an unseen event I had the opportunity to visit Israel with my mother, Christiana van Zyl earlier this year in June. This was a blessing to me as I have never been to another country, but Israel has always been on my heart and to visit it first. It was an amazing experience, Israel is a country so very different to South Africa. One can really see and feel a nation that is unified. It is evident that the family, friendship and community are some of the cornerstones of their society.
We went to Israel by invitation of Mr. Marty Davis from the World Zionist Organization. The mission was to identify projects through which SAZ could bless the nation of Israel, especially the poor, needy, fatherless and widow.  We visited three different projects in Ashkelon.

Ashkelon is a city very close to Gaza and is under constant terror attack. It’s a city with lots of potential, but is definitely not without its problems. It has a high number of people living under very poor conditions. The children and elderly are the ones who under these circumstances suffer the most. What amazed me in Israel was the fact that so much attention, funds and projects are directed towards the upliftment of the youth of Israel. Israel really wants to make sure that the next generation is equipped and ready to lead the nation in the future. I observed many children who would attend a full day of school and then voluntary attend after school other non- academic programs that develop their abilities to learn skills and trade that could assist them with future employment, so creating hope for a future for all. South Africa can learn from them.
I came back to South Africa with a heart and mind filled with excitement about what I have seen and a message I now carry within me.

After my trip to Israel I can truly say I am an ambassador and friend of Israel. The truth about Israel needs to go out to the world. The public need to be informed about Israel and what is happening in that nation. Often the mainstream media and propaganda machine sends the wrong message out to the world and people believe a lie. For me being a 26 year old, age is not important. Once you feel a call to a cause you must answer it.
One of the biggest problems with the youth today is apathy. We don’t care. We don’t worry. We don’t stand for anything. That is why
 
Project: Kumi Ori
On behalf of the SAZ Kumi Ori Project, we are thankful for every seed sown into this fertile ground. Since the launch of Kumi Ori – beginning of August 2009 – the total amount contributed to the Special Needs Kindergarten in Ashkelon mounts to
R 49 115. We are touching the halfway mark and would appreciate every contribution to reach our first target of R 100 000 by the end of November 2009.

Since the inception of the SAZ youth league, we have really felt the need and desire to be actively involved in the Ashkelon Foundation project concerning the sponsorship of the playground for the CP Special Kindergarten in Ashkelon.  Those children are the future of Israel, just as much as we are the future of South Africa.

 Quite a large amount is needed for the playground, but every little bit collected and shared, makes a difference. For this reason some of the members of the SAZ youth came together, took initiative and started a project of our own that will help to raise funds for the Kumi Ori Project.

The service delivery department of Outeniqua High School adopted our project and it is with great excitement that we can announce the selling of pancakes on a Wednesday and Friday at the school! This initiative will only take place till the end of the school term.
 

On the 10th December 2009 SAZ had the privilege of presenting to the Ashkelon Foundation our Kumi Ori Project first fruit contribution towards the Special Needs Kindergarten. Mr. Meir Bouhnik, director of the Ashkelon Foundation thanked SAZ wholeheartedly for the contribution.

The visit to the Special Needs Kindergarten once more highlighted the great work that is being done to better the lives of these precious children. Against  the backdrop of Chanukah decorations, I saw the happy and content faces of the children, the serving hands and hearts of the people dedicated to give their all to the benefit of these little ones.

SAZ wants to salute the Ashkelon personnel for their excellent work. After some refreshing mint tea and biscuits I was given a precious gift. A colourful, handmade Chanukiah and I left once more deeply touched, blessed and enriched. As a token of thanksgiving the Ashkelon Foundation will erect a mounted wall plaque at the playground, with a specific inscription honouring SAZ.

Leon van Zyl and his son Genre, visited The Ashkelon Foundation, shortly after Kumi Ori’s first phase donation of R100,000 to the Foundation. Leon reports, as follows:

What can one say about the reaction to the works of our Heavenly Father? Our trip to Ashkelon started on the morning of 25th of February from Jerusalem. It was a pleasant trip with scenery I had not experienced before.

We were picked up in Ashkelon by Terri who first took us to the hall for a cup of coffee before proceeding to the Kindergarten for CP children (The SAZ Kumi Ori project)

We were greeted by a host of noisy children who were dancing in circles, each hanging onto a youngster from the High School from across the road. There was make-up, funny glasses and weird clothes all around, not to forget the cold drinks and cookies – the reason: “Purim”. It was a very joyful occasion and we felt very privileged to be part of the joyful occasion.

Meir Bounik (Director of the Ashkelon Foundation) joined us and we were escorted to a room where the plaque was fitted to the wall. We are the second group of donators to be honoured in this way. It was with a feeling of humbleness (I had to speak to the water in my eyes to move back to where it came from) when we heard of the gratitude expressed by these people for the effort (it wasn’t even that hard) that was put in by the members of SAZ in raising the funds for the playground for the Kindergarten. I got the feeling that monies were not easily come by and they were grateful for every cent received. What a blessing it was.

The day ended with a sponsored meal at a restaurant situated in an old Mosque (they fled, never to come back). The food was good, the service was good and so was the company.

We departed for Jerusalem at 15h00 with the knowledge that Father had done a work in the hearts of a lot of people and I wish to extend a very big “thank you” to all those who sowed money (and still is) into the project. May you reap in much.

Be blessed
Leon van Zyl.

Kumi Ori project: Phase 2
By the end of July SAZ will receive a full report on the Kindergarten progress, some of the equipment is still awaiting delivery and the outside playground special equipment is still in installation phase.
 
Some of the special needs has been purchased and supplied and the children already have had their movements and cognitive needs improved, providing pleasure for both the Kindergarten teachers and children's parents.

We encourage you to continue donating towards this worthy cause as we approach our end-of-July-target of R50 000, we are still R25 000 short. Donations can be made into our bank account:
FNB. Acc Name: Perets Zion. Acc Number: 62230608153. Branch code: 210114. Reference: Kumi Ori.

AN OPPORTUNITY TO BLESS THE LAND OF ISRAEL