NA'AMAT works to help kids

One of the NA’AMAT day care centers in Sderot was recently hit by rockets fired from the Gaza Strip. Damage to the day care center was severe, but fortunately no children nor staff were physically harmed since the attack occurred on a Saturday when the center was closed. It’s been seven years of incessant shelling of more than 4,000 Kassam rockets on Sderot and the surrounding area. With over 80% of the town’s children, ages two to 18, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, professionals fear there is great danger that the problems of these children will become permanent. Believing that functional skills can be enhanced to compensate for the damage to the child’s normal development if intervention is done early, the staff in the NA’AMAT Sderot Day Care Centers are working with the children who need professional help. But the situation is traumatic, not only for the children, but also for their families, the staff, and everyone who lives in Sderot and the surrounding area. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, there was hope that there would be an end to the Kassam attacks. Unfortunately, the withdrawal did not stop the rocket firings. The people long for a stable peace agreement with their Palestinian neighbors and, like everyone in Israel, NA’AMAT is worried and concerned about what the future will bring.

Lynne Cole

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President, St. Louis Council,


Rep. Lantos was a great man

I read, with interest, Rabbi John Franken’s recent article in the Jewish Light about his encounter with Rep. Tom Lantos. I concur that the congressman would have been a worthy candidate for “Hero of the Jewish People.”

I, also, had a meeting with Tom Lantos that I wish to share. In May, 1992, I received an invitation from Lantos inviting me to an evening in Washington, D.C. with 124 scholars who had been brought to the United States under the auspices of Hillel. My late husband, Dr. Alex Sonnenwirth, professor of microbiology and immunology at Washington University as well as director of the Division of Microbiology at Jewish Hospital in St. Louis was one of the scholar/survivors in this august group, as was Tom Lantos. This group of scholar/survivors had come to the United States as a result of a conversation between Abram Sachar and Albert Einstein. They lamented the fact that so much Jewish talent had been lost in the concentration camps; how could they be of help?

Abram Sachar, then the chancellor of Brandeis University, and founder of the Hillel Foreign Service Program had the vision to bring these scholars to the United States, to finish their interrupted education. Through his untiring efforts Hillel arranged for universities throughout the states to place these people in colleges, and Jewish fraternal organizations offered lodging, board and friendship.

I, with my oldest granddaughter, Naomi Ozar Mond, did attend the dinner hosted by Lantos and his wife Annette, at the Cannon House Office Building. Recognition was given to Abram Sachar and the scholar/survivors that had come to the States. This diverse group, many of whom had became high achievers, made enormous contributions to their adopted country.

Truly, Tom Lantos, who placed this recognition of Hillel’s Foreign Student Service in the Congressional Record, has another reason to be honored for the great man he was.

Rosaline Sonnenwirth

St. Louis