Canadian Friends of Hebrew University Sends Sderot Teens to Summer Knowledge

Youth under fire get unique experience in Jerusalem

TORONTO, Aug. 2 /CNW/ - Summer camp is a time for young people to play and explore freely, shed their worries, and just enjoy life. Any youth would jump at these opportunities - just imagine how welcome this would be for the Israeli children of Sderot, who for eight years have faced a barrage of Qassam rockets fired from neighbouring Gaza.

This summer, 200 Sderot teenagers, ages 13-18, will receive a meaningful summer camp experience thanks to the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University and the Committee for a Secure Sderot.

The two organizations have joined to create "Lend a Hand to Heal" - Sderot Youth Summer Knowledge Camp @ the Hebrew University. Starting August 1st, the teens will receive a stimulating week-long program at the Belemonte Science Laboratories for Youth, Edmond J. Safra campus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The Sderot youth will be introduced to educational and scientific programs at the university, in fields such as astronomy, chemistry, physiology and computers. Given the toll taken by the attacks on Sderot, the teens will take part in workshops on post-traumatic stress disorder. Their program also includes sports activities and learning more about Jerusalem through tours around the city and its surroundings.

"We have to expose these children to both educational and fun opportunities away from the daily stress and challenges imposed by their unfortunate reality," says Rami Kleinmann, Executive Director of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University.

Alon Davidi, Director of the Committee for a Secure Sderot, says the children of the city are "heroes" who live on the "front lines" of Israel: "We want to give each child one week so they can go to sleep not worried about running to a shelter, one week of freedom to do what they want without fear."

The youth participants comprise a diverse group, girls and boys from secular and religious communities, immigrants as well as native Israeli's.

Besides just offering a good time, one goal of the summer program is to create a strong connection with the university, says Kleinmann: "We hope it will encourage these teenagers to go on to higher education."

Leadership seminars will also be part of the program, with the aim of creating a new generation of leadership in Sderot.

"Our success as a nation and our motivation," says Kleinmann "comes from the strength of the children of Sderot."

Supporters can participate in the "Lend a Hand to Heal" Sderot Youth Summer Knowledge Camp @ the Hebrew University program, and help send Sderot youth for a much need respite, by making a donation at the newly launched campaign site

About the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University:

Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University (CFHU) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the awareness, leadership, and financial support of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The organization also facilitates initiatives like joint R&D projects and student or faculty exchanges between Canada and Israel. Such efforts help to ensure that Hebrew University's 24,000-plus students, scientists, researchers and scholars of today become Israel's leading contributors tomorrow, sustaining the nation's greatest asset - the intellectual strength of its people. Founded in 1944, CFHU has chapters in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver, and has been an integral force in Hebrew University's rise to international prominence. For information, see

About the Hebrew University of Jerusalem:

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem opened in 1925, 23 years before the State of Israel was established. The first Board of Governors included Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Martin Buber and Chaim Weizmann. Today, Hebrew University is Israel's premier academic institution. It's mission is three fold: 1) serve Israel by training its scientific, educational and professional leadership; 2) serve the Jewish people by preserving and expanding their cultural, spiritual and intellectual heritage; and 3) serve humanity by extending the frontiers of knowledge through research and by developing technologies.

SOURCE Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

For further information: For further information: Miriam Pilc-Levine, National Director, Communications and Marketing, Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University, 416-485-8000, ext. 121,

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