A Passover bonus for everyone.

This is sweet. My company gave us our usual Passover bonuses in the form of gifts bought via Sderot, so that Sderot vendors make some money off of the deal as opposed to vendors elsewhere.

Since the population of Sderot has been suffering for years now, and business has suffered along with it, there has been a movement to purchase groceries, gifts, shoes, etc. within the city. A lot of people are doing this all over Israel, though it seems to be an especially Anglo thing.

I’m happy my company had the mind to share our Passover bonuses this way. Warm, fuzzy, Israeli, Jewish, happy.

Tonight's online rally for Israel and Sederot.

The buzz this week – around the Israel blogosphere, Facebook and my inbox – has been about a campaign called Together 4 Israel, which “is putting together the largest ever online rally in support of those living under fire in Israel. All you need to do is return to this site on Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 11 p.m. Israel Time to watch a live broadcast online of solidarity rallies from around the world.

The plan is to gather 1,000,000 people across the globe, joining together to watch the rally and show support for Israel and Sderot. Here’s their video pitch. You can view the speaker list and schedule at the site.

It’s Purim tonight, so if you don’t plan on sticking around a computer, you can log on to the site before you head out of the house and you will still be counted for the rally numbers.

I see the value in this for those who will still be fasting for Ta’anit Esther at 11 p.m. Israel time… It’s a nice idea to feel like you are together with thousands of other Jews, hopefully recognizing Esther’s fast and the need to pull together when we face threats.

Coming to Israel this winter?

I find that lots of people – students or not – desire to volunteer on a day-trip basis when they come a-visiting, so I’m sharing the following:

Standing Together – the organization that sells us the Sderot challot every week – has an initiative set up for tourists to Israel this next month:

This winter, visitors to Israel are invited to share their warmth and gratitude with the soldiers guarding our Holyland 24/7. Standing Together hopes you will join us to distribute hot coffee and pizza to these young men and women who are working so hard and standing outside in the cold. Thousands of Israeli soldiers are protecting the Jewish homeland and they deserve appreciation and recognition from Jews worldwide. Call David Landau, director at 050-558-0822 or email info@stogether.org to set an appointment.

They are also organizing a group trip on January 23rd.

King Gaydamak of Jerusalem.

Charity is good and all, and everyone likes a nice project now and again. But this is going a little far for a hobby, right? Walking through the streets of Jerusalem, I turn my head and see the giant face of Arkadi Gaydamak:

Gaydamak in Jerusalem

I guess it’s unnerving because no one really knows what the Russian-Israeli billionaire’s ultimate plan is; no one is that rich without an agenda, right?

In this advertisement, posted on the side of a Jerusalem Egged bus:

Jerusalem, you deserve more.

The new Bikur Holim Hospital: With faces to the future.

Gaydamak reaches beyond Jerusalem to Sderot, where now he is apparently investing 90 million shekel in fortifying the beleaguered city. Again, I think billionaires pretending to be Robin Hood is noble… And maybe I’m misled by Russian stereotypes…

But…

Sderot challot.

I should have posted this earlier so you could have done it too – but – an Anglo from Efrat started placing orders for challot from Sderot bakers to help support the city’s abandoned economy. His social action project – a part of his bigger organization, Standing Together – grew over the weeks, and challot, rugelach, plants and other goods are being ordered to Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Chashmoni’im, Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion.

sderot challot

They look really good; they’re the soft white type. A package can include white challot, whole wheat challot, rugelach and rolls.

To get Sderot challot (and more) for next week, place an order. You can also donate food packages for Sderot families-in-need; if you’re out of the area, perhaps you could mail a check.