(photo credit: Gabi Bron)
For many years, KKL-JNF’s Blue Box was one of the organization’s most instantly recognizable symbols, and generations of children and adults were in the habit of slipping coins into it on a regular basis. Recently, the Blue Box has been enjoying a renaissance in Israel, as a means of educating young people to conserve the environment and adopt the habit of giving.
In Australia, the Blue Box has long been a focus for the activities of the country’s Friends of KKL-JNF network. The stream of donations that flow in through Australia’s Blue Boxes, funding a variety of KKL-JNF projects for the benefit of mankind and the environment, is the largest in the world. For this, we can thank KKL-JNF’s many activists in Australia, who regard Blue Box fundraising as their life’s work. Among these activists was the late Sol (Israel) Schildkraut, the most active and prolific of them all, a resident of Perth in Western Australia, who died last year.
“He was, quite simply, the salt of the earth,” Robert Schneider, Chief Executive of KKL-JNF Australia, said of him when he visited Israel together with the Schildkraut family and their friends to inaugurate a special memorial site in Western Galilee’s Australia Park.
Among Sol Schildkraut’s last requests before his death was a wish that one of the Australian-funded development projects in Israel should help to commemorate close family members of his who died in the Holocaust. A year after his death, this wish was granted at an intimate and moving ceremony held in Australia Park, a charming site established in the heart of the region that the KKL-JNF community in Australia took under its wing many years ago. The park includes paths, restful corners and a training center for all-terrain cycling – a hobby that is growing increasingly popular. It is also the main commemorative site for local IDF fallen, and its centerpiece is a Blue Box of white stone atop a basalt map of Australia. Two special memorial pillars record the names Australia’s annual Blue Box Champions, to which the name of Sol Schildkraut has now been added.
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