KIRYAT BIALIK, ISRAEL, March 27, 2011, 12 p.m. – Our “life-protecting” work overseas could not be exemplified more than by the bomb shelter that our very own Federation built in the new all-purpose community center in Kiryat Bialik. The shelter, which cost $103,000, can house hundreds of residents and includes the latest ventilation systems for keeping out biological and chemical weapons. In the event of a war, the shelter would serve as the city’s headquarters.
In addition, the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County has paid for renovations, computers and furniture for bomb shelters at nine different schools in our sister city. At the Kadima School (Grades 1-5), the computers are used all year round to teach English and math. “We choose to stay busy in the shelter and keep it functioning as a classroom, not just hide from the bombs,” said Yossi Halvani, principal of the school. Although work stations are divided by ladders and double-pane protective windows.
Yossi doesn’t even think of the room as a bomb shelter. “We know we have to have it and we know what we need to do. But focusing on learning takes our students up!”
Following my visit to the school, I visited the playground area that was built through our generous Federation donors, happy to see children of all ages enjoying the different swings, ladders and slides. I was also proud to see our two plaques standing strong on both sides of the playground area.