While Israel is facing both foreign and domestic detractors who are active in detaching the Jewish people from Judea and Samaria, couple Gedaliah and Elisheva Blum are building the foundations for economic prosperity making any cynical attacks against its economic future irrelevant. Bikurim, or First Fruits in English, is a Judea and Samaria based global initiative redefining the next generation of Zionism, or what they call “Economic Zionism”. Couple Gedaliah and Elisheva developed this vehicle of partnership between global supporters of Israel, and the family-run small business owners who are responsible for pumping the lifeblood throughout the region and into these communities. Through this partnership, Bikurim aims to generate real strength, self-sustainability, and growth within Judea and Samaria for generations to come. 

Despite the challenges of launching in the midst of the Covid pandemic, Bikurim has attracted hundreds of supporters from every corner of the globe who “get it”; That real strength will only come from those affecting real on-the-ground change, the family-run small businesses owners who are responsible for 70% job growth. In order to create an environment for economic prosperity, financial support is required and that is where the global supporters come in. 

Since its inception, Bikurim has helped dozens of individual small business owners by providing them with the tools they need to succeed. They have created eCommerce shops, websites, promotional materials and more, and for the first time for many, selling online was something new. 

Bikurim’s focus also includes connecting people to people, donors to business owners. A beautiful example is when Steven from Philadephia, after learning of the heinous murder of Ester Horagn z”l, decided to contribute on a monthly basis to Bikurim in her memory. “To just sit back as my people are being attacked and killed and feeling helpless, was something I couldn’t live with. Bikurim offered me a practical and meaningful way to put my thumb on the scale and support the building of Judea and Samaria.” said Steven. Steven was directly connected with artist Ora Uziel from Tal Menashe, the same community Ester lived in. Ester and Ora were both artists and friends.

It was a perfect match for Steven. With his support, Bikurim is developing online sales capabilities and promotion in three languages for Ora to sell and deliver her art throughout Israel and the world. As a thank you for Steven’s support, Ora delivered a print of her latest painting, a portrait of Ester Horgan z”l, to Steven, directly to his door in Philadelphia. In addition, Ora made a video explaining the painting to Steven with Benjamin Horgan, husband of Ester, as a translator. After Steven saw this video, he was overwhelmed with emotion, “I am overwhelmed with gratitude , what a beautiful surprise to watch on a Sunday morning. I really don’t know what to say, words cannot Express the feelings that I have. Todah to you Ora for helping me be connected to my people and Israel and giving me the opportunity to memorialize Ester Horgan through your art! Thank you Mr Horgan for allowing me to be a part of keeping Your beautiful wife’s memory alive! It will always be for a blessing!”

Bikurim is taking on Goliath. The forces against the communities of Judea and Samaria are great, but what Bikurim has is the ability to affect change from the ground with the help and support from people from throughout the world. Bikurim also connects people to people and brings people’s hearts together. When people are connected on an emotional level, there is no distance too great to travel to ensure success. 

About Bikurim:

Bikurim is a project of Dapei Katom (www.dkatom.co.il), an economic initiative founded in 2009 which currently works with and promotes more than 3000 individual small business owners within Judea and Samaria. 

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