New Jersey Jewish News
Greater Middlesex County Feature

Survivors’ group seeks to raise money for veterans

by Debra Rubin
NJJN Staff Writer

In the almost five years since Monroe Township Holocaust Survivors took up the cause of disabled Israeli war veterans, the group has raised $70,000 for Beit Halochem (House of the Soldier) rehabilitation centers in Israel.

“We sent along about $25,000 last year and about $25,000 the year before,â€? said Jack Chevlin, president of the survivors’ group. “We hope to raise the same amount this year.â€?

That will hinge on the success of the group’s biggest annual fund-raiser, to be held Sunday, Aug. 6, at 7 p.m. at the Marasco Performing Arts Center at Monroe Township High School. The show features comedian Mal Z. Lawrence, cabaret singer Judy Kolba, and singer Gary Willner, who has been recognized as a leading artist carrying on the Frank Sinatra sound.

For the last two years, money raised through three annual events has been hand-delivered by seniors going on the annual Solidarity and Tzedakah Mission of the Jewish Congregation of Concordia. The third such mission is scheduled to be in Israel this year from Oct. 23 to Nov. 6.

A June 6 “Salute to Israelâ€? program featuring dinner and entertainment also brought in contributions; an annual dinner-dance held in October also raises funds.

“We decided this was a very important cause because without soldiers there would be no country,â€? said Chevlin, who also serves as ritual chair of the Concordia congregation. “Just look what’s going on now. It’s been going on since 1948, and it’s still going on in 2006. There are young people 18 or 19 years old who have lost their sight or legs. The only thing we can do is try and raise some money to make their lives a little more livable. Not that other causes are not important — but we thought this was very important.â€?

Chevlin is a survivor from what is now Belarus. A retired instrumental music teacher, he spent the last 28 years of his career in the Roselle Park school system.

The Friends of Israel Disabled Veterans is the American fund-raising arm of the Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization, which runs Beit Halochem centers in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, and Nahariya. It is building a new $12.5 million center in Beersheva, expected to open next year, to serve the approximately 3,200 disabled veterans in that area.

The centers allow the vets to participate in sports and related activities suited to their disabilities and provide them and their families with emotional and physical rehabilitation. In addition to Florida and New York, there is another American branch in Los Angeles.

To attend the Aug. 6 fund-raiser, send a check for $33 per person for regular seats or $38 for special seating near the stage to the Monroe Township Holocaust Survivors, PO Box 6015, Monroe, NJ 08831. Greenbriar-Whittingham residents may use lockbox no. 16. For information, call Doris at 609-655-0622 or Carl at 609-409-0808