Rabbi Shmuel Bowman, executive director of Operation Lifeshield, came from Israel to deliver a message of thanks to the students, parents, and staff at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Monmouth County for their support for the land and people of Israel by funding another bomb shelter.
In his March 13 talk at the Marlboro school, Bowman told the gathering that 15 seconds — the time it takes to take two bites of a sandwich, drink a small glass of juice, or read a short e-mail — is also the time it takes for Israelis in communities near the border to find cover from rockets launched from Gaza.
Bowman showed the students a short video featuring Israeli students who are the beneficiaries of the Solomon Schechter Shelter. “This is an extremely powerful image for our students,” said SSDS head of school Yoti Yarhi. “It is not often that we can show our students the results of their acts of tzedaka. This video gave our students a lasting visual impression.”
Over the past three years, the school has raised over $5,500 for Operation Lifeshield, an organization that builds, delivers, and installs IDF-certified above-ground shelters in Israel. During his visit, Bowman thanked the school community for helping raise the funds for a bomb shelter that was recently deployed at Moshav Shuva, located a few miles from the Gaza border. The shelter is located beside a community tennis court and across the way from a health clinic. It enables adults and especially children to use the tennis facilities even during tense and threatening times.
The students and staff at SSDS held several Operation Lifeshield fund-raising events over the past three years. In November 2012, students and staff were asked to bring a $1 donation each for Operation Lifeshield. Everyone also wore red as a symbol of “tzeva adom,” the early warning system red alert that tells Israelis they have 15 seconds to find a shelter before a rocket attack.
Last summer, in response to the escalating rocket attacks against Israel, SSDS once again set up an emergency bomb shelter fund.
SSDS student Jonathan Howard said he was impressed with Bowman’s message that “the people you never think of are the people who can do the things you can’t imagine.” To the seventh-grader, that meant that “everybody is somebody. You should jump at any opportunity to do what you love…to never waste a minute.”