Within weeks of arriving back from a year of study in Israel, Sarah Bond joined in an project to deal with the toughest aspect of life there. The 19-year-old from Elizabeth volunteered to help stage a major fund-raiser for One Family Fund, the Israeli organization that helps victims of bombings and missile attacks.
Despite the underlying cause, the undertaking is totally upbeat. Together with four other interns, Bond has been organizing the “One Family FunDay,” to take place on Labor Day at Donaldson Park in Highland Park. The event is open to people from all over the region.
Bond, a 2008 graduate of the Jewish Educational Center’s Bruriah High School for Girls in Elizabeth, hasn’t had personal experience of the violence, but she has felt its impact. Back in 2002, visiting Israel with her family, she heard about a nearby attack. “It was really scary,” she told NJJN. This time, she was there as the conflict with Gaza was raging. Her school encouraged students to attend the funerals of Israeli soldiers killed in the fighting. “The families really seemed to appreciate the show of support,” she said. “It was very moving.”
Bond said she would have liked to see One Family in action in Israel, but she didn’t get a chance. “Our schedule was too busy, but I heard people talk about what they do,” she said. When she got back to the States, she said, a friend who was volunteering for One Family told her the organization was looking for interns, so she applied.
One Family was started in 2001 after the Sbarro restaurant bombing in Jerusalem that took 15 lives. Since then, it has grown into a major, volunteer-based organization helping thousands of victims and their families.
According to the fund’s website, since January this year, 600 people have been injured in attacks. To help deal with these growing numbers, One Family is seeking to expand its volunteer base in the United States.
In an ad calling for interns that appeared on the Yahoo website earlier this summer, the fund promised that those accepted would have the experience of developing an event from concept to execution, in the process developing their creative, sales, planning, and advertising and promotion skills. To start with, interns were challenged to come up with a fund-raising idea.
Rivki Dobin, another Bruriah graduate, came up with the idea of having an event in her hometown, Highland Park. “People there don’t know about One Family,” she said. “It’s an amazing organization and it’s such a great cause.”
Bond, Dobin, and the other interns in New Jersey — Chani Kazlow and Ariella Gottesman of Teaneck and Naomi Fein, who is visiting Teaneck from Jerusalem — have met at One Family’s offices in that town for discussions, but have done most of their work from home. Bond’s main task has been to call businesses and invite them to be a sponsor of the event or make a donation. It has been an uphill challenge. “I thought it would be easy, but it’s gotten harder,” she said. “A lot of places are having a hard time because of the economic situation. They’d like to give, but they can’t. But once they hear what One Family does, they’re very supportive.”
Some people are offering their time. “We’ve got a number of musicians coming who are going to perform for free,” she said. Volunteers will also do face painting and magic and organize games, races, and a basketball tournament at the event.