Supporting Our Own Thanks to individual donors, the IDFWO is able to thrive and enhance the life of hundreds of widows and orphans. Here’s a look at two donors bringing light into the lives of organisation members • BY NOA AMOUYAL “If we don’t support our own who will?” Philip Silverman asked rhetorically. That question is perhaps the mantra of the Bimah Foundation, a family-funded charity established six years ago. Driven by a strong commitment to protect Israel and the Jewish people, Silverman’s parents decided to allocate his family’s largesse to Israel and Jewish issues, he explained. “I think what came to our mind was urgency. We didn’t grow up very religious, but felt it is important to be connected to Judaism and Israel as part of our heritage,” he said. As such, the IDFWO has been a major benefactor of his family’s generosity and Silverman is proud to be a pillar of support for the organisation. “We were really taken by the organisation. Our family has a fondness for the IDF and the men and women on the front lines ensuring the security of Israel,” he explained. “We want to do anything we can to support them.” “In the case of the IDFWO, these families made the ultimate sacrifice. We feel as a family, it is our duty to do what we can to support them, whether it’s financial assistance, helping with vocational training or scholarships. We just want to do anything to ease the burden and their horrible loss,” he added. Although the IDFWO offers a plethora of initiatives to help support the bereaved, the Silvermans decided to focus on the Otzma camps and Widows’ retreat. Those two initiatives offer something that doesn’t have a monetary value: inner peace. “We saw that whole concept of camara- Philip Silverman (centre) seen with his parents and two siblings. (Courtesy) derie and having emotional support from people who went through similar experiences is very powerful,” Silverman said. For donor David Benishai, what began as a casual contribution to the IDFWO became a love story between him and the orphans. Today, the New York-based businessman goes all out every year to make the annual Bar and Bat Mitzvah trip to North America an unforgettable experience for the youngsters. “When I first saw the children who came to the United States, I decided that I would take care of them, because it is addictive to do so – they laugh and are happy, despite lacking the presence of a parent,” Benishai said. The children attend a two week summer camp and then conduct an informal tour along the East Coast – Niagara Falls, Washington, DC, and New York City – are just some significant stops along the way. “We organise a variety of activities for them, and it’s a pleasure to witness. These are children who have reached an important year in their lives and do not have the David Benishai (Marc Israel Sellem) most important person for them – a father or mother. It’s so gratifying to see them happy,” he said. Even though Benishai is a modest person who prefers to remain in the shadows and not talk about his work, he contributes and assists other organisations that he chooses carefully. “My heart is always open for the IDFWO and I am always willing to do everything for them. I know quite a few people who contribute to all kinds of places so they can talk about them, so they can say that they have contributed. That’s not my intention,” he says bluntly. “These are people who are loyal to their work and see it as a mission, and therefore it is important for me to be involved, to participate and to give as much as possible.” 10 IDFWO MARCH 2018
Widows Retreat, Rejunvenating Day Trip & Regional Activities £380,000 Bar & Bat Mitzvah Celebration in Jerusalem £50,000 Bar & Bat Mitzvah Trip to North America £128,000 CIRCLE OF SUPPORT Otzma Camps in Israel during Passover, Sukkot & Hanukkah £155,000 Advanced Skills Courses £31,000 Medical & Financial Needs-based Grants £81,000 University Scholarships & Wedding Gifts £133,000 Rosh Hashana Gifts £151,000 Thanks to your generous donations, the IDFWO was able to offer an array of programmes in 2017. Here's a a snapshot of how your valuable contributions helped just some of our initiatives. We can't wait to work with you on making 2018 even more successful than last year!