Costumes and Kassams

Sderot has in recent months become the symbol of national unity.

Ron Huldai 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Ron Huldai 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy)
SDEROT HAS in recent months become the symbol of national unity. People on different sides of the political fence, of different ethnic backgrounds, of different faiths and of different streams of the same faith have all united to show solidarity with the people living there. Papouche Teperson of Kfar Shmaryahu was with the first huge convoy that brought people from all over the country to shop in Sderot for Shabbat. It was such a moving experience for her, that when she returned to the quiet luxury of Kfar Shmaryahu, she rounded up a bunch of friends to contribute to pay for some of the basic needs in the Kassam-struck town. She made contact with a young Chabadnik by the name of Ze'ev, who lives in Sderot, and asked him to suggest a project. Most children, he said, come from families too poor to be able to afford Purim costumes, and suggested that's what they should buy. He provided Teperson with ages and sizes of recipients and she and her group duly purchased 500 costumes, which they distributed in 14 kindergartens. They even arrived unannounced at each one to keep up the momentum of the surprise. Of course, after the first trip they all wanted to go back, and this time they brought cosmetics and toiletries including baby wipes for young mothers. They also brought a lot of cash with them and went shopping in neighborhood stores rather than the mall. Teperson was extremely moved when she entered the greengrocer's store and asked him for a short list of the poorest of the poor, so as to pay for a week's worth of supplies for them. He produced a notebook with some 50 names, of which he gave her only a handful. "He could have easily taken advantage of us, but he didn't," said Teperson, who has been back several times and intends to keep doing so. In the local supermarket, the owner told the group from Kfar Shmaryahu that he tries as much as possible to maintain the dignity of his clientele. Every week he distributes coupons worth NIS 200 each, for which he receives no compensation. The recipients then come with the coupons to make their purchases. Teperson has fallen in love with Sderot, partly because the people are not waiting for handouts and are busy helping each other. MEANWHILE, the Jewish Agency allocated $1.7 million in scholarships to 1,700 students from Sapir College in Sderot; leading entertainers visit all the time to give free concerts, and Tel Aviv fashion designer Golan Sivan, who manufactures under the Torso label, designed an "I Love Sderot" T-shirt in which the cupid's arrow in the heart has been replaced by a Kassam Rocket. In addition, a senior citizens club in Hadera invited seniors from Sderot for a day of fun, laughter and dance, and the list goes on. WHILE THE winds of war were on the verge of sweeping through Venezuela and Colombia, representatives of both countries, both a long way from home, preferred to distance themselves from hostilities when they met last week at the Susan Dallal Center at a reception hosted by Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai. The two, who were extremely civil to each other, were among some 100 diplomats representing the EU, Italy, Poland, which is currently celebrating Polish Year in Tel Aviv, Korea, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Peru, Costa Rica, Nepal, Albania, Ethiopia, Lithuania, Moldova, Slovenia, and Cameroon. Ambassador Henri Etoundi Essomba of Cameroon is dean of the diplomatic corps. The guests were treated to snippets of the program planned for next year as well as a dance performance by the Inbal Pinto Dance Company. PRIME MINISTER Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat are eternally locked in the embrace of history as a result of having signed a peace treaty between their two countries. Now they will also be locked in the daily consciousness of the residents of Haifa. The Haifa Municipality has announced that it will name a street in Sadat's memory. The street will be located in the Begin neighborhood.