Teens’ sales effort memorializes sacrifices of young, old

Selling memorial bracelets to raise funds for victims of terrorism in Israel has turned into quite a social action project for congregants at Temple Emanuel of Tempe.

In just six weeks, the sales force--mostly teenage members of the congregation--has generated nearly 400 sales that will send some $2,000 to One Family, the central organization in Israel providing assistance to victims of terror. And more bracelets are on order for those who call daily asking for them.

Each bracelet, which sells for $5, contains the name of person killed or injured during violence in Israel. The bracelets each come with an information sheet about the One Family Fund, which was created to deliver relief quickly to the victims, families and communities affected by the continuing violence. All of the money raised goes to the fund and directly to the families of victims.

 "Wearing these memorial bracelets provides a constant reminder of what's happening in Israel and also is a public display of solidarity with Israel," said Susan Schanerman, director of education at Temple Emanuel.

"My goal is to see a bracelet on the wrist of every member of our congregation."

The project, sponsored by the Temple's religious school and teen youth groups, TETY and TETY Jr., is gaining momentum throughout the Reform Judaism congregation, which has more than 500 families in its membership.

 "My bracelet memorializes a 14-year-old girl who was killed in 2001," Schanerman said. "Other bracelets recall sacrifices by victims young and old."

OneFamily has a website (www.onefamilyfund.org) that details the organization's ongoing efforts.

"People are looking up names on their bracelets on the Internet and finding out about their lives," she said.

"They're even e-mailing the families of the victims."

And, remarkably, adds Fonda Christopher, a Temple board member and vice president of education, buyers now extend beyond the Jewish community, with many non-Jewish school friends and family members wearing the bracelets.

"It has been so gratifying to see the support and empathy that our congregation is showing to the victims of anti-Israeli terrorism," she said.

"The act of wearing the bracelet is an important reminder people are losing their lives in the struggle for peace in Israel.
"We must never forget them or their sacrifices."

Information: Susan Schanerman at (480) 838-1414.