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“ELEM/Youth in Distress in Israel” Thank You for Joining Us

April 13, 2024

A few days ago, we marked 40 years of saving lives, all in the shadow of the current devastating reality in Israel. We want to thank you all for attending, especially when so many of us struggle. We appreciate your presence and support beyond words.

Sadly, only two days after our Ray of Hope benefit, the death of another one of our volunteers, Yonatan Richter, was confirmed. Earlier today, we learned that we’ve also lost Lior Hadad Attias.

Like Sigal Levi Z” L, Yonatan and Lior were at the rave party “Nova” in the south as part of our Good People program, which assists youth in distress at mass gatherings.

Our deceased and missing volunteers: Lior Z” L, Sigal Z” L, Yasmin, and Yonatan Z” L

We also know that multiple youths from our programs in the south are missing as well. We pray for the safe return of all of them.

This is why a Ray of Hope was so necessary.

It was crucial for us to come together, as so many of us seek to be with our fellow tribe members at this time. Even though ELEM is facing major obstacles because of the war, and maybe BECAUSE of it, we wanted to show our community how life-changing ELEM’s existence has been for so many youths in the past 40 years.

We also wanted to show our appreciation for our Legacy Award winners – our founder, Ann Bialkin, and our board members for 40 years, Frances Katz and Bobbie Glass Z” L, who have passed very recently. We are grateful that her son, Russell, was with us to receive her award and that we had the opportunity to thank these remarkable women.

Our Dear friends, Dan, and Sara Sapadin shared very inspiring words upon receiving the LifeSaver award, words of hope and strength.

We also had an optimistic message via video from Gal Gadot (who recorded it ahead of the events in Israel.)

We have no doubt that we will do so much more for the youth in the future, but as of today, we must all focus on the major challenge at hand – minimizing trauma among youth during the war.

Youth and children have tragically been the prominent, most visible victims of this crisis, with many kidnapped into Gaza, dead at a party, or living under the threat of rocket fire.

Young people have seen their friends fall dead next to them or their families’ murders being streamed live. We’re facing an unprecedented mental health catastrophe, both right now and in the aftermath. We must provide immediate responses to the youth and plan for the day after, as far as it may seem at this moment.

Audience at our 40th Anniversary Gala during the singing of HaTikva – Israel’s National Anthem.

With the number of youths reaching out for help tripling, and while facing a manpower shortage due to many of our staff and volunteers being called to serve, we need your help.

We’re raising emergency funds to expand our work hours, as well as opening pop-up locations for evacuated youth, providing shelter for many returning ELEM alumni who regress during this period, and compensating for government funds that will surely be diverted to war-related expenses.

You can help us address these urgent needs by supporting us today. Please help us be a ray of hope during this dark time.

You can read ongoing updates about our war-time work and efforts to alleviate the suffering of pain at this time by visiting our updates page.

Stay safe,

Am Israel Chai.

 

New York Jewish Parenting Guide

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