Navah: Bear Hugs for Young Victims of Terror (Web Content)
About a year ago, Claire Ginsburg Goldstein and her eleven year-old
son Sam, the only Jewish boy at his school in Bergenfield, New
Jersey, pondered what they could do to help young victims of terror
in Israel. Sam thought of sending children slightly used teddy
bears. Claire thought new ones would be better. And then along
came Ellen Siegel and Martin Volerich. Ellen knew of a place that
sold below-cost teddies, and Martin offered create promotional
flyers to publicize the project. The Bears from Bergenfield project
was born! In the past year, this dynamic team has sent over 4000
teddy bears and approximately 1000 Rosh Hashanah cards to young
Israeli victims of terror.
Currently, Claire is collecting bears at the Solomon Schechter
Day School of New Milford, New Jersey, where the rest of her children,
Shira (10), Seth (7), and Sarah Rose(6) attend school. Over 750
bears were collected over the high holidays.
People continue to come forward to offer their assistance to
this worthy project. Ilan from Strand Freight Shipping sent all
the teddy bears to Israel for free. Bettina Gould of Jerusalem
volunteered to organize the teddy distribution in Israel. Many
residents of Teaneck, New Jersey, have volunteered to personally
take teddy bears with them to Israel. Several Israelis who Claire
met at Surprise Lake Summer Camp offered their support including
Hagar Rosenblum and Nir Madjar from
Tzofim, Meny Abraham from Misrad Hama'apach, Debby Gedal-Beer
(a nurse at Tel Hashomer hospital), and Tzofim counselors Michal
Chapal, Aviv Alper, and Shuki Avizohar. In addition, Rabbi Paul
Resnick of Camp Ramah offered to take the Rosh Hashanah cards
with him to Israel, and Bob Applebaum of Teaneck generously agreed
to ship one hundred teddy bears to Israel in time for the Sukkot
holidays. Indeed, collection and delivering teddy bears has turned
into a Bergen County-wide project. Says Claire, "It's very
exciting to see every kind of Jew contributing. I know what it
feels like to feel lost, or have a loss, and I want to help the
children cope with their loss if I can."
Despite the unbelievable success of the Bears from Bergenfield
Project, Claire is still hoping to collect many more teddy bears
and to include more hospitals in the program in the near future.
The greatest challenge for Claire's team is to find carriers or
an airline that will be willing to offer them reduced rates for
their teddy bear cargo.
"I have had great joy in doing this project," smiles
Claire, "I've seen the pictures of some of the children who
have received our bears. It's "bear"y great!"