During the past few weeks we received many letters expressing your concern and best wishes towards a peaceful resolution of the current campaign. I thank you, on behalf of the entire Hebrew University – staff and students – for these thoughts and wishes, and share with you the hope for a peaceful resolution and silencing of the guns. We have often been asked by our many friends worldwide: how can you help? We have deliberated this question very seriously and carefully, and present two worthwhile projects for which we are asking for your help at this time:
The present conflict has put all our campuses under direct rocket fire, and particularly so, our campus in Rehovot. Many areas of our Rehovot campus do not have shelters or protected rooms within a safe distance, and our staff and students do not have sufficient time after hearing sirens to get to safe spaces. We seek contributions to purchase precast shelters that can be placed in the most vulnerable areas on campus. These shelters will be hooked to electricity, air-conditioning and sewerage, and can thus be used for peacetime purposes as well. We have prepared a detailed proposal that is available from the office of Brenda Needle-Shimoni. Click here for more information.
Hundreds (actually close to a thousand) of our students (men and women) have been called up to active duty in the current crisis. They are missing the opportunity to study for and take exams, and they are putting their lives on the line for their community and country. As they serve us, we wish to serve them. They will soon, G-d willing, be home safe, and they will have to catch up, and study. To support them in their efforts, The Hebrew University has established a fund to provide scholarships and services to students who served in Protective Edge. We welcome contributions of any amount, and will make allocations based upon the criteria of service and need. Obviously, the amount allocated will depend on the gifts we can raise; we would be proud an honored to provide a minimal $1,000 support allowance to each and every student. To give you an idea of the commitment to service of our wonderful young people, I’m going to share with you a few lines from a letter from one of our students who is a Major in the Israeli Navy, who was called up to reserve duty on the first day of Operation Protective Edge:
Usually, at this time of year I would be finishing my final exams, I would be working and saving money for university and also spending my time and effort in The Sky is the Limit (his nonprofit organization) to prepare for next year. But this year, my summer schedule is very different…
… As ship captain my job is to safeguard the ship from missiles, rockets and other threats which keeps the Israeli coast safe from all danger. We are sailing every day for several hours to protect our country. During my years of army service I was the commander of the naval officer’s course. Today, most of the ships’ captains were my cadets and it brings me great pride. When I was called up for duty, I was anxious to go, I packed my bag and left (not knowing that I’ll be here for 17 days and counting), because first, and foremost – you do what needs to be done!…
…During these days we understand how important our Jewish identity is and our connection between the Jewish communities around the world with Israel. While I’m defending my country, there are people that are helping and protecting us as students, taking care of our worries and making sure that we will get the needed scholarships to continue our studies when we return… “
We are grateful to our wonderful students who are willing to serve their country, and I hope that you will join us in creating a fund that will ease their integration back into their studies and their financial burdens upon their return, and show them that we appreciate their service.
I would like to end quoting Menahem’s final paragraph from his letter: We pray that this conflict will be resolved soon, that no child will have to fear sirens and bombs, and that all peoples of this region will live in peace.
Thank you for your friendship and support.