May 6, 2009 | 1:53 am
Posted by Karmel Melamed
During the course of the year I must receive nearly three or four dozen notices for various Iranian Jewish functions, fundraisers, networking events, religious gatherings and every other shindig you could possibly image coming from Southern California’s Iranian Jewish community. From my own experience the majority of these gatherings are pointless parties where many affluent individuals in our community come to pat each other on the back, show off their wealth excessively or just come hunting for spouses. However occasionally a few major Iranian Jewish organizations in the L.A. area that pursue worthy causes for the community and in Israel, often impress me with their fundraising objectives. The Magbit organization is one of the few local Iranian Jewish groups that deserves some acclaim for putting together substantial funds to help Israel’s future.
This year I was proud to learn that Magbit’s Young Leaders group will be providing funds to Israeli soldiers who fought in the latest Gaza war (Operation Cast Lead) many of these soldiers are just teenagers going to college and trying to protect their homeland. Every year Magbit raises funds through an elegant evening Gala event to provide needy but deserving Israeli college students with interest-free loans in order for them to pay for their university tuitions. These loans are later repaid by the students who join Israel’s advanced technological and medical workforce. However Magbit’s funds this year will be going to Israel’s brave young men and women who fought against terrorists in Gaza that were launching rockets against Southern Israeli cities. One of Magbit’s members gave me some insights into why the organization is now helping Israeli college students who fought in the Gaza War this year:
During the Gaza invasion a great deal of reservists were university students who had to drop their studies to serve their country. The classes they missed, has set them back a semester. In other words, they will have to repeat those courses the following semester or during the summer to get back on track with their studies. The problem with this is, that many of our interest free loan recipients, work during the summer to supplement their expenses during the school year. Now, that they will be repeating school courses in the summer, they will not be able to earn that extra income to pay for their dorms, food or school supplies. It is therefore our duty, to help those students continue paying for their living expenses and concentrate on their studies. - Shushana Djavaheri, Magbit’s Young Leaders’ vice president.
By the way, during the last 18 years more than 9,500 Israeli students have benefited from the Magbit Foundation’s student loan program and more than 95% of those students have repaid their interest-free loans within four years of their graduation. For their efforts this year on behalf of the Israeli veterans of Operation Cast Lead, I take my hat off to the board members and volunteers of the Magbit organization. Their decision to support Israel’s soldiers when the entire world has accused Israel of war crimes speaks volumes. We Iranian American Jews are now sending a clear message to the entire world that Israel is indeed our homeland and while many of us may be blessed with prosperity in the U.S., we have not forgotten our brethern who fight for the rights of all Jews to exisit on this planet. Many of our grandparents, great-grandparents and ancestors endured tremendous anti-Semitism, pogroms, forced conversions and violence in Iran—including horrors stemming from the 1979 Iranian Revolution, so we have a clear understanding of Israel’s importance to us as Jews. Which other country besides Israel will stand up and fight for us Iranian Jews today? We as Iranian American Jews who support Israel through Magbit and other non-profits, are also sending a strong message to those in Iran who want to bring about a second Holocaust in Israel. That message is that we will NOT stand idle and allow you barbaric terrorists to repeat one of the greatest crimes against humanity! Never again! Jewish blood is not cheap and we have not forgotten how Iran’s current regime has executed its Jews, intimidated its Jews and maniplulated its Jewish community for their own public relations efforts during the past 30 years.
Those interested in learning more about Magbit can listen to our blog’s podcast last year that can be found: here.
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