Boca Raton, Fla. – In a heartwarming display of solidarity, Congregation B’nai Israel in Boca Raton has announced that they have successfully sent over 16,000 pounds of supplies to Israel. The initiative, named “Israel Community Drive,” was spearheaded by two dedicated members of CBI, Alex Cender and Ashley Katzen.
Senior Rabbi Rony Keller expressed his support and admiration for the project, stating, “We are thinking of them, we are checking lists of what they need, and when we find out what those lists are, we pack them up and we send them.” The congregation’s efforts have been met with overwhelming gratitude from the recipients in Israel.
Reflecting on the impact of the project, Ashley Katzen, who has family in Israel, shared her personal connection to the cause. She expressed her guilt and sense of disconnection for not being able to provide the support her family desperately needed. However, through the collective efforts of the American-Jewish community, the Israeli-American community, and people of all ethnicities and races, the initiative has brought people together.
In collaboration with their synagogue, Cender and Katzen secured warehouse space, pallets, and assistance with the transportation of supplies. The ever-changing needs in Israel were met with live, real-time updates, ensuring that the emergency medical and tactical gear reached their recipients promptly.
The impact of their donations has already been felt, as the soldiers in Israel have expressed their gratitude through heartfelt “thank you” videos. Cender expressed his admiration for the soldiers’ reaction, stating, “Every single time these soldiers open a box from us, how humbled and touched they are because they still can’t get over the fact that from all the way in Florida we care.”
However, due to the call-up of over 300,000 men and women into the reserves, airports have been short-staffed, causing delays in shipments. Despite these challenges, the initiative remains resilient in its mission to provide crucial supplies to those in need.
Looking towards the future, the group is already planning their next supply drive. Rabbi Keller emphasized the importance of not only providing essential items but also instilling hope and love in the hearts of the recipients. He stated, “They should also feel our hope and our connection and our love for them, all the way from Florida, all the way to each one of them in Israel.”
In addition to their efforts in Israel, the group has also ensured that the remaining supplies will benefit local organizations, further spreading the spirit of unity and support within their community.
This remarkable display of compassion and determination serves as a testament to the power of humanity coming together in times of need. The Israel Community Drive stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when individuals from different backgrounds unite for a common cause.