The SonShine Association is running its Jewish Connection Project this week, part of an initiative to distribute thousands of mishloach manot food packages to passengers at Ben Gurion airport flying abroad before Purim.
Flight attendants, with the help of the association’s volunteers, will distribute packages to El Al and Arkia passengers before they board the plane. Passengers are asked to pass along their package to a fellow Jew at their destination.
Approximately 7,500 packages are being sent this year to various countries around the world with the goal of strengthening connections within the Jewish world.
The Jewish Connection Project, in memory of Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah who were murdered by terrorists in 2014, is taking place for the fifth year in a row, this time in collaboration with Arkia, El-Al, Tamam, and the World Zionist Organization.
“It is precisely now, when the people of Israel are facing difficult challenges, that we decided to increase our unity and bring additional light,” said Bat Galim Shaer, founder and CEO of the SonShine Association.
“The unity of our people currently faces a difficult test. We have always known how to unite against external enemies and today we wish to remind everyone that it is forbidden to let internal discord, however important it may be, divide us from within.
“Nine years ago, we received a strong hug from our brothers in the Diaspora and since then we have been working to strengthen the bond between Israelis and Jews around the world. Israel is a country where every Jew has a place, and a holiday like Purim, which all Jews celebrate with great joy, is an opportunity to remind us of that.”
Yaakov Hagoel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization agreed. “We are one people and strengthening the relationship with our brothers in the Diaspora is one of the greatest challenges of our generation,” he exclaimed.
“The warm embrace our brothers in the Diaspora will receive in the form of a sweet package of mishloach manot will make them with an Israeli feeling. I hope for and look forward to strengthening the unity of the people of Israel. We are brothers – whether we live in Israel, France, or Australia.”
In recent years, both sides have expressed concern over the weakening connection in the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jewry. According to a recently published study by the Jewish People Policy Institute, nearly half of the participants – and 60% of young people – feel a great distance between Israelis and Jews of the Diaspora. 71% of young Israelis who participated in the study agreed with that statement. Most participants said that Israelis do not know Diaspora Jewry and its needs.
About the SonShine Association
During the summer of 2014, terrorists kidnapped and murdered three Jewish boys as they made their way home from school. For 18 days, an entire nation prayed for the recovery of Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah until their terrible fate was known. The SonShine Association was established in their memory with the goal of increasing love, optimism and connecting all parts of the Israeli people.
The work of the three families to promote unity and connection within Israeli society and the Jewish world was recognized when the three mothers were given the honor of lighting a torch at the national Independence Day ceremony in 2019, commemorating the Israeli spirit.