I have just returned from spending ten amazing days in Israel. It was unlike any trip I ever had or could have imagined. I need to give you some background information before I proceed. Bernie, Bev, Mel, Ellen Little and myself are involved with a charity called ONE FAMILY FUND based in Jerusalem, with an office here in Toronto. The fund was started by the Belzberg family in Israel to assist Israelis who have been victims of a terrorist act, or families dealing with the loss of a family member due to war. Part of the fund’s efforts here have been spearheaded by Bernie. The Camp Timberlane funding was begun by the late Reuben Lerner, a cousin of the Littles. For the past seven summers Israeli kids aged twelve to sixteen, who are victims of terror, have spent August at Camp Timberlane, enjoying all that camping in Ontario can be. The goal is to help them achieve some form of a normal future/life. It is amazing how these kids have begun to move forward from their losses. This year we are bringing thirty kids to camp in August.
However, the goal of this trip was a bigger agenda than the summer camp fund. We were there to meet people in Israel who receive support in putting their lives back together by ONE FAMILY FUND. We participated as part of the One Family Canada team in the second annual Dragon Boat Race Festival on Lake Kinneret. There were thirty two teams from Canada and Israel, using this event to raise money for several charities, one of which was ONE FAMILY FUND Israel. Prior to the races we meet many people at the head office, at hospitals and rehab centers who, with the aid of ONE FAMILY are struggling with varying degrees of post traumatic stress disorder and the challenges of trying to put their lives back together. The need is great and the donations and working budget have been greatly reduced, as a large portion of funding in the past has come from the U.S. The economic downturn and other factors have impacted on this fund. Our teams were comprise of a combination of Canadians from Toronto and Vancouver along with Israeli terror victims. Our time spent meeting and working with these people during the races and in group therapy sessions after, was the most moving experience I ever had, even after my many trips to Israel.
By now we all should know the story of the Kopatch family in Israel and all their connection to relatives here in Canada and the USA. Many of you have gone to Israel and have meet with our cousins. Oded and Batsheva were very special hosts to me this time, as I accepted an invitation to be a houseguest for four days. Bernie and I have previously discussed ONE FAMILY with Oded and as he said “ It went in one ear and out the other”. Here is what was so special about this time. Our group spent three days at the Ramot Hotel on the Golan preparing for the races. Oded and Batsheva decided to join us for two nights and to see the Dragon Boat Race. It was a great event.
Here is a link to a recent article in the Israeli press.
They met all of the Canadians and some of the victims. They were very moved by all of the participants’ efforts and the extent of the event. They had no prior knowledge of this. They now really understood what we had been talking about. Oded meet the director of the fund in Israel and was told about the drop in funding and what the specific needs of some families were. With Oded’s initiative, the Koptach family has made a sizeable donation to the fund in the name of their father Shalom Kopatch. Bernie has matched that donation in the name of David Little. Oded will be in contact with the fund and he will decide, to which people the money will be directed. Funds donated here will be directed to Israel and tax receipts are issued here. I would like to know if any of our cousins who are decedents of Charlie, Richard and Ben Kay along with those from Samuel Little would consider joining with us and our family in Israel in this endeavor. Any amount donated will be appreciated. I will try to get this out to as many e-mails as I have on file. Please try to discuss this with your families and forward the e-mail.
I can be reached at 416-787-5471 | 416-460-8475 firstname.lastname@example.org