Dedication of New Rocket-Proof Daycare Centre in Sderot

Magbit Canada-- On Monday, December 27, 2009 a rocket-proof daycare centre was inaugurated in Sderot.

While the centre itself was built with government funding, the money for furniture, equipment and toys was generously donated by 13-year-old Thomas Cole of Toronto, on the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah. Thomas personally chose the Sderot daycare centre out of a few options presented to him by UJA’s Jewish Foundation’s Bnei Tzedek program.

The moving dedication ceremony was attended by 35 members of the Cole family, including Thomas’s parents and grandparents.

The ceremony was held in the presence of David Buskila, the mayor of Sderot, who personally thanked Thomas and his parents for their generosity. Mayor Buskila together with Thomas unveiled a plaque of recognition and affixed the mezuzah at the centre’s main entrance.

“This gift was implemented thanks to the tireless efforts of Eddy Azran, UIAC’s local coordinator in Sderot,” comments Eran Shmueli-David, director of UIAC’s Israel Emergency Campaign. “It was his persistence and determination that pressed the municipality to open the new building as soon as construction was completed.”

Built to withstand rocket attacks, the daycare center contains three classrooms and will serve approximately 45 infants and toddlers aged three months to four years. The centre will specifically serve the Reut young community, a group of some150 young, national religious and idealistic families who moved to Sderot and made it their home over the last decade.

The ceremony was addressed by Shlomit Ekstein, who represented Reut. A mother of six children -- number seven is on the way -- she was in tears as she explained the difference the daycare centre will make. Conveying the harsh dilemmas which many parents in Sderot face on a daily basis, she described the peace of mind of knowing that the children who will attend the centre will be out of harm’s way. The Canadian visitors were visibly moved by her words.

Concludes Eran Shmueli-David: “The dedication ceremony took place on the Asara B'Tevet, a fast day on which Jews commemorate the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army. It is also a day of remembrance for the martyrs of the Holocaust whose exact day of death is unknown. On a day on which we reflect on our past, we celebrated an act of building and strengthening Eretz Israel. We look with hope to a more peaceful future for our beloved homeland. There is much meaning in Thomas's act of tzedaka, and it is clearly a reflection of the wonderful education he has received at home.”