Local Jewish group raising money to aid Israeli victims | AspenTimes.com

Local Jewish group raising money to aid Israeli victims

Amy Meyerson
Special to The Aspen Times

Rabbi Mendel Mintz and the Chabad of Aspen are hoping to make a difference in the war-torn Middle East by asking the community to raise money to buy medical supplies for a struggling town in Israel.

Mintz said he believes that the best way to help Israel at this time is through actions that counteract the violence. The money collected from fund-raising will be used to buy an ambulance and other safety supplies for a city in Israel that is in the greatest need.

“Magen David Adom, The Red Star of David” is the sole organization responsible for first aid and hospital care for those injured in Israel. They do on-the-spot surgeries and also help people cope with the emotional anxieties of the violence.

Mintz believes “that it is crucial to be responsible for our brothers and sisters that are being killed in the streets.”

He also explained that the Chabad became involved in the national fund-raising effort because “they asked if I could help out. I said I would hand out a letter, and thousands are being raised. More than anything, our prayers are with them in this time of need.”

Mintz said that donating an ambulance and safety equipment is a way to assist Israel “because there is terrorism and Israel is not in a state of peace, and those there are being torn to pieces. … Hopefully the money we raise will save a life.”

The effort to help out the Israelis is not strictly a Jewish issue, said Mintz. “We just hope everyone can help us,” he said. “A couple of churches have been helping out to support in this time of need. … From a religious point of view, we want to help anyone, Jew or non-Jew, in the state of Israel.”

Mintz said it is always apparent to him the difference between living in war-torn Israel and living in the safe environment of Aspen. That’s partially what movitated him to take part in the fund-raising effort.

“Some years ago, I was talking with the former Israeli ambassador to the U.N., and we were sitting outside Paradise Bakery,” he said. “It was one of those nights where the music students were playing, and there were probably 50 people outside eating ice cream.

“We were saying that if we were in Israel we’d be scared to do that. He said that he tells his children not to go out. If they’re going to watch a movie, they should rent one, and if they want to get coffee with a friend. they should invite their friend over and make coffee.”

Mintz is also planning a community trip to Israel to take place either this winter or the following summer.

“We’re hoping to make a community trip to the Holy Land to show our support, and to get a better understanding of the situation,” he said.

Mintz and the Chabad of Aspen believe that raising funds fits well with their ideology of ending violence. “Our way is to fight evil with good,” he said. “To defeat evil by doing acts of goodness and kindness.”

For more information about the fund-raising effort, call 544-3770.

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