(August 6, 2019 / JNS) Like many Jewish grandparents today who grew up watching the miracle of Israel, I always found it challenging to connect my grandchildren to Israel and building the Jewish homeland with the same enthusiasm and love I feel. Almost by chance, I finally found the key to success: I decided to use my charitable giving as a way to build that connection.
It began with the desire to dedicate a children’s indoor play space in my mother’s memory. I realized I could connect the next generation to Israel at the same time, not just the previous one; I donated an outdoor playground in the name of all my grandkids. They were thrilled to see photos of the children of Adora, a town near Hebron, so grateful and happy and excited, next to a plaque bearing all their names.
This episode set off a light bulb for me. Working with my favorite charities in Israel, I am now identifying projects I can afford to sponsor that are close to the deepest interests of each of my children and grandchildren.
For example, my oldest granddaughter, Talia Moss, who lives in Toronto, is a swimmer. She came to Israel two years ago to swim for the Canadian team in the Maccabiah games. That experience excited her about Israel and left her with some wonderful memories, but no lasting connection.
I wanted to find a swim program Talia could sponsor. The Talia Moss Swim Fund for Susya will support a festive day for the whole community, with T-shirts, medals, music, food kiosks and bouncy rides. About 100 children from the surrounding communities in the Hebron Hills will be participating in the all-day Susya Olympics on Aug. 28.
Talia wrote to Natalie Sopinsky, who works for Rescuers Without Borders and is also a lifeguard at the Susya pool: “I began swimming when I was six at my neighborhood pool. I think everyone should know how to swim and being part of a swim team has always given me a sense of belonging and accomplishment. I am so excited to help a swim team in Susya.”
In addition, Talia sponsored the Talia Moss Junior Lifeguard Program in which 13 boys are taking a six-week course this summer in which they will learn lifesaving skills and pool safety. She also sponsored a first aid course for junior lifeguards with Rescuers Without Borders (Hatzalah L’lo Gvulot) and Magen David Adom instructors. Participants will learn CPR, first aid and sun and water safety.
The Talia Moss Swim Fund will help continue these events in future years.
I am experiencing such joy in exploring other projects in Judea and Samaria to connect my children and grandchildren with Israel. With Eve Harrow of the One Israel Fund and Sondra Barras of Christian Friends of Israeli Communities I am exploring a community art program, an environmental program, an animal therapy program for youth with mental health issues and computers for after school programs for disadvantaged youth in poor communities.
Having an 18-year-old college student connected to the Susya Swim Olympics has made the kids in Susya extra proud of their program. It has taught my granddaughter the joy of giving to Israel and connected her to these children and Israel forever.
I am looking forward to giving my other grandchildren the same Zionist-affirming connection.
Carol Greenwald is the chairman of JewsChooseTrump.org.