THE KNM KOL NIDREI APPEAL 5783/2022
Our three Kol Nidrei Appeal charities this year are the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), the Kol Nefesh Refugee Project, and of course our own shul, Kol Nefesh Masorti Synagogue. Many thanks to Liz Preter for delivering this year's appeal. Liz's letter is reproduced below.
To make your donation contact our administrator, Elaine White, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Members and Friends,
It was an honour to share details of KN’s three charities with you at Kol Nidre this year. I received a very positive response to the appeal and look forward to your words transforming into donations!
A reminder of the charities is below. If anyone is looking for more ways of getting involved, I have added some extra information and contact details for each one.
1. The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (the SPNI).
For the last 60 years the SPNI has been working to protect and preserve Israel’s natural resources, environment, biodiversity and unique landscape. For such a small country, as well as its beautiful and varied landscape, Israel is home to 2800 species of plants, over 500 species of birds, 100 species of mammals and 20 distinct ecosystems.
So what’s the threat and why now?
Israel has reached a critical point in its development, it is the most densely populated developed country in the western world with thousands more people immigrating each year. There is intense pressure for Israel to use more land for housing and developments, but if done unintelligently this will lead to the destruction of Israel’s already dwindling open spaces and with it many of its species and ecosystems. Israel needs to be innovative to ensure its ecosystem is robust, its coastline and beaches are protected and that there is enough water to drink and irrigate crops.
The SPNI plays a pioneering role in researching and developing a body of knowledge to create sustainable solutions to environmental issues in Israel, they have urban planners in 5 major cities helping to advise on sustainable planning, they campaign on energy policy, conserving water, protecting Israel’s native species and coordinate public campaigns. They are involved in educating thousands of Israeli youths nationwide in informal and formal settings, promoting through education and eco communities a love of Israel and its nature, knowledge to protect and preserve it, fostering the leaders of tomorrow.
Secondly, the Middle East is warming at twice the global average making the State of Israel and all who live there extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The country is not prepared. One of the SPNI’s current campaigns is looking at how to create a resilient Israel in a warming world.
What happens in Israel affects the rest of the world, both in nature and innovation: Israel hosts 500 million migrating birds twice a year, every year, who are dependent on gaining sustenance from trees, bushes and water sources in Israel on their migration routes, without which these birds would be unlikely to make it back to Europe, Asia and Africa. Just as animals and the environment know no national borders, the SPNI regularly shares innovations and insights with neighbouring countries and countries around the world in peaceful cooperation, making a difference across the globe. To ensure that the Israel we know and love will be there for our grandchildren and future generations to enjoy please contribute to this important cause.
What else can I do?
Take a look at the SPNI’s website wwww.natureisrael.org for lots more information of what they do. You can also become a member or join their eco-tourism groups to learn more.
2. Close to our hearts: Our second charity is the Kol Nefesh Refugee Project
The Kol Nefesh Refugee Project has been running since 2017 and this year the appeal focuses on its most recent initiative: supporting recently arrived asylum seekers.
Every month, on the last shabbat of the month, the Refugee Project invites asylum seekers from local hotels as well as shul members, to come together and share lunch, make social connections, share experiences and get to know each other. Most of the people we are in touch with are from Afghanistan and Iran, also from China, East Africa and Congo. These asylum seekers are hosted in three hotels across the borough, waiting for their status to be granted. It is an onerous process, taking months (or even years) to receive asylum status. Meanwhile they are not allowed to work, have no access to kitchens or equipment to make food, very little money to travel and very little to do. They are given cooked meals but you can imagine the quality is not good and they are not very nutritious.
These are people who have left everything behind, their family members, their homes, their belongings, their lives. They’ve escaped persecution, disruption and wars. They are dealing with all kinds of trauma and loss. The children go to local schools but they have no money for school uniforms, pens or school trips.
So how can you help this year?
We would like to create a pot of money that we can use to help those people with smaller, more immediate needs. Already the Refugee Project has been able to help with some requests: sourcing and providing school uniforms, buying art materials for one refugee to start an art class for children and adults, funding travel costs for young refugees who wanted to go to free English classes provided by the council but had no money to get there.
If the refugees apply through other organisations such as the New Citizens Gateway it can take weeks. We can provide a fast track way to help.
There are so many everyday needs that we take for granted. This is an example where a little makes a big difference. Please give generously.
What else can I do?
Join us at the next refugee lunch! We welcome volunteers of all ages in the community to prepare and clear up the lunches and to welcome, chat to and take part in the activities with the refugees. Contact our administrator, Elaine White, on email@example.com for more information.
3. Our third charity is our very own Kol Nefesh Masorti Community.
For most, if not all of us, belonging to Kol Nefesh has been a conscious choice. You will all have your own reasons of why you joined or continue to be part of this special community. For me, it is not the closest or easiest community I could be part of but I chose to be a member, because it is like a family, a family of people who all care about community, whether that is t’filla, education, welfare, security, food, young people, social action and so much more. There is a care and a drive to be the best we can be when at Kol Nefesh.
So many members give their time, energy, love and commitment to the community and if we could translate that into money we would be rich! But we can’t and the shul has many obvious as well as hidden costs to cover.
You pay your membership, so why should you give to the community at the Kol Nidre appeal?
Simply because our income is smaller than our expenditure and this appeal plays a vital part in our budget. Without it we would be running at a significant loss and in the dangerous situation of eating into our reserves. We are so grateful to those who contributed to the emergency appeal this year, but let’s not make emergency appeals a regular occurrence.
What else can I do?
If you are not a member, then join us! If you are a member then bring others along to services and events; having new members will also ease our budget. Secondly, get involved in something you care about at shul, come to a service, join a pelach, start a new pelach, offer a session, join a session. We would love to see you soon.
Times are hard and prices are rising everywhere. It is not an easy time to ask for money, but I think it is at these times of uncertainty that community is even more important. When we all dig deep and contribute, then together we can make a real difference.
Thank you for your generosity this year in supporting these three important causes.