Every child deserves the opportunity to experience the euphoria of exploring a playground, whether they prefer slides or swings, climbing or jumping, or just running around until they need a break. However, in Israel’s Gaza Envelope, playtime on an outdoor playground can be interrupted by rocket sirens, forcing children and parents to take cover in the nearest shelter. With less than 15 seconds to find shelter, playing outdoors, something children around the world take for granted, isn’t always possible. Fortunately, Israel’s premier playground is also bombproof!

Children enjoy Sderot’s indoor playground

Supported by Jewish National Fund-USA, the Sderot Indoor Recreation Center is one of Israel’s most beautiful, in-demand recreational facilities, not just in Sderot but in the entire country. Most importantly, it also doubles as a bomb shelter, providing children with a completely secure environment while still allowing them to experience all the excitement of a play area. Boasting, among other things, a state-of-the-art playground, jungle gym, baby jamboree, mini-soccer court, ping pong tables, multiple private celebration rooms, the Recreation Center has everything children love and more.

Recently, Jewish National Fund-USA made additional philanthropic investments in the Recreation Center with upgrades including: new toys and equipment for the playground, adding both a second level to the baby jamboree, and installing an ‘iJump’ trampoline. The upgrades were an immediate hit, and the Center’s popularity skyrocketed with lines out the door on most days.

Children enjoy Sderot’s indoor playground

In fact, this past summer, the Recreation Center has been faced with an enviable problem – too many people want to play. The season saw an average of over 300 at the Center per day, and some people were even turned away due to lack of space. Management there has utilized multiple methods to ensure equitable distribution among families so that no one feels left out. Naturally, though, Jewish National Fund-USA also sees this as an opportunity to invest in expanding and improving the playground even further, so even more kids can enjoy all the amenities the Recreation Center has to offer.

“The Sderot Indoor Recreation Center has truly become a jewel of the Negev,” said Chair of the Gaza Envelope Task Force, Betsy Fischer. “Our recent investments in upgrades have proven to be immensely successful, and the playground’s popularity is a heartwarming sign that residents in the Gaza Envelope are living life to the fullest despite the challenges in the area. As we continue to invest even more into this massive undertaking, we know that this oasis in the desert will provide a safe and exciting place for children and their families to play for years to come.”

The Sderot Indoor Recreation Center is part of Jewish National Fund-USA’s Operation Blueprint Negev, which aims to bring 500,000 new residents to the Negev by improving the quality of life in the region, from housing and jobs programs to medical and recreational facilities.

Click here to learn more about Jewish National Fund-USA’s community-building efforts.

About The Publishers
Jewish National Fund-USA
JNF-USA is the leading philanthropic organization for Israel that supports critical environmental and nation-building activities in Israel’s north and south. Through its One Billion Dollar Roadmap for the Next Decade, JNF-USA is developing new communities in the Galilee and Negev, connecting the next generation to Israel, and creating infrastructure and programs that support ecology, individuals with special needs, and heritage site preservation.
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