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Urg​ent Needs, Utmost Altruism

August 31, 2006 By:
Ryan Teitman
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With Israel in great need of postwar repair, locals have jump-started efforts to help out. Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park, for example, set a goal of raising $100,000 in a single month to be used for Magen David Adom, the Jewish state's medical-rescue unit.

Yet the synagogue did not meet its goal; it exceeded it.

"We sent a letter to every member of the synagogue, and followed it up with phone calls," said Rabbi Lance Sussman. "It was exhilarating, because every day, not only were checks coming in by mail, but about 25 percent of the people -- 100 or so -- hand-delivered them because they understood it was urgent."

Approximately 420 members of the congregation responded to the call for aid, and K.I. continues to hear from others. As of Aug. 17, the congregation had collected $103,000.

"It's been heartwarming that the community has risen to meet these urgent needs," said Sharon Schmidt, director of the Philadelphia office of American Friends of Magen David Adom. "Israel cried out, and Philadelphia answered."


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