Rebuilding children’s lives is the focus since October 7

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Rebuilding children’s lives is the focus since October 7

Following the terrorist attack in Israel, Jewish Child’s Day sprang into action to help its beneficiaries – the children

A family moving to safe accommodation after losing their home
A family moving to safe accommodation after losing their home

Since October 7 we have all been asked to dig deep into our pockets and give financial support to Israel. Soldier uniforms, equipment, energy drinks… anything that can help fund and galvanise our beloved Israel Defence Forces (IDF). Important requests indeed, but there are so many other groups of people who have been affected and need our backing too.

Adele Busse

Jewish Child’s Day has been a grant-giving charity since 1947. It was set up to help children in the aftermath of the Holocaust and has continued to raise funds and distribute grants since then. Seventy-six years on, it is once again responding to the consequences of war. “Under normal circumstances, around 50 percent of Jewish Child’s Day’s grants go to Israeli charities looking after children, approximately 40 percent to charities in the UK, and the rest to projects in other small Jewish communities around the world,” says Adele Busse, head of grants. “Since October 7, we have been receiving an unprecedented number of requests and have dug into our reserves, already giving out over £100,000 to support children affected by the war. Desperate times call for desperate measures and we started our Chanukah appeal early to bring in extra funds.”

Children who are deaf or hard of hearing have received a special activity box

Chanukah is very poignant in Jewish Child’s Day’s history as the charity was founded on the first Sunday of Chanukah in 1947 and was, as its name suggests, a one-day-a-year event for five years until it progressed into a year-round operation. Last Sunday, it launched a National Day of Giving, encouraging the community to come forward and get involved with events taking place that day, which include a high-end nearly-new women’s boutique sale at its headquarters in Finchley. It has also been selling boxes of Jewish Child’s Day blue and white Chanukah candles, with proceeds going towards urgent funding requests for Israel. The boxes are stamped with its new theme: ‘Rebuilding Young Lives’.

Shachaf Vayner Etan

“The money raised on the National Day of Giving will be awarded as grants to charities in Israel that support children affected by the war through a variety of projects in our five main grant categories: equipment, education, health, activities and therapy,” explains Shachaf Vainer Eytan, head of marketing and collaborations.

In a regular year, Jewish Child’s Day supports around 130 different organisations helping more than 25,000 children. Since October 7 it has awarded grants to 16 charities in response to urgent requests. As we speak, my eyes are opened to the knock-on effects of the war and the  multiple ways in which the lives of so many Israeli children have been adversely impacted. Bear in mind that these children are living with physical, learning or emotional difficulties and may be abused, deprived or disadvantaged in the first place; their quality of life has been drastically affected by recent events.For example, deaf or hard-of-hearing children have been particularly isolated and confused as they will not have heard the sirens and known what was going on around them.

Portable bed for quick transfer to a safe space

One charity has set up online group sessions for emotional support and the children have been given activity packs at home, which include workbooks, games and toys. The recipients are very appreciative and it is heart-warming for Jewish Child’s Day staff when they receive photos of the children playing with the toys and games they have been given.

Whole families from the south have had to flee their homes and are now living in hotels with very few of their belongings. Not only has money raised been spent on essentials such as nappies, formula and baby wipes, but also games and activities to keep the kids occupied and distract them from the trauma they have experienced and continue to experience. One charity that supports disabled children asked for a donation for portable beds for young children as its staff members could not manage to carry them all to a safe space quickly enough every time a siren goes off.

Games and toys for children in Ashkelon while they are staying in safe shelters

The psychological implications of the trauma faced by many children in Israel means that they are likely to need extra therapeutic support for years to come. Israel has many youth villages that care for children who have had to be taken away from their family homes by social services because of issues such as parents with an addiction, a parent in prison or are living in homes where there is neglect and abuse. The youth villages in safer areas have had to accept new temporary residents from southern Israel, which has, of course, incurred extra costs and Jewish Child’s Day has been asked to contribute towards the additional expenses.

“As well as raising funds for medical equipment for children with severe disabilities, we try to give them the nice things, the extras that they wouldn’t normally be getting,” says Shachaf. Adele shares Jewish Child’s Day’s commitment: “The impact of the war is going to go on and we want to be here to help as many children as we can for as long as we can, but we can only do what our donors enable us to do. The more money we receive, the more we will have to go directly to where it is most needed.”

To donate to Jewish Child’s Day’s Rebuilding Lives appeal, find out more
about the clothes sale or purchase Chanukah candles visit

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