Aussie fans in J’lem raising money for Africa

A group of young olim organize World Cup screenings to raise funds for African villages.

There is not much more an Australian soccer fan could ask for than to watch his team on the soccer field while holding a beer or two, or perhaps three, in his hands.
With this in mind, a group of young Australian olim – Elise Best, Danny Brill, Aryeh Gluck and Iain levy – have taken it upon themselves to organize screenings of this month’s 2010 World Cup at the The Gov Sports Bar in downtown Jerusalem. The group has also organized a “sister event” for South African supporters.
What initially began as a low-key social event publicized on Facebook, with the intention of inviting Aussies to to cheer on “the Green and Gold,” has turned into a large-scale fundraiser for Jewish Heart for Africa, a non-profit organization that brings sustainable Israeli technologies to rural African villages.
“I was invited to join the group, and decided that if we were already bringing so many people together, that we should do it for a cause, and suggested that we do it for a charity, namely Jewish Heart for Africa,” said Best.
Jewish Heart for Africa utilizes some of Israel’s most successful alternative energy initiatives to provide schools, medical clinics and remote villages throughout Africa with electricity, clean water and drip irrigation technology.
“Apart from raising money, we also hope to achieve a bit of tikkun olam [repairing the world],” explained Best. “I really believe that Africa is a forgotten part of the world. But Jewish Heart for Africa makes Africa a focus, and we really like that.”
The organizers have enlisted the help of David Kramer, founder of NU, a campaign that raises awareness and funding for important Israeli causes through the sale of t-shirts. Kramer will be selling Australian World Cup t-shirts at the screenings for NIS 50 each, the proceeds of which will go to Jewish Heart for Africa.
In addition, The Gov Sports Bar has agreed to donate five percent of the night’s earnings to the cause.
Asked about the fundraising objective of the night, Best was quite optimistic.
“Obviously we hope to raise a decent amount of money for Jewish Heartfor Africa. I would love to present them with one of those giant checksfor NIS 20,000,” she said. “I hope that this is not wishful thinking.”
The first game, Australia vs Germany, will be screened at the Gov Sports Bar, Yoel Solomon 5, on Sunday, June 13th at 9:30 p.m.
For more information, join Facebook groups, ‘Australian WorldCup Matches Live Site – Jerusalem, Israel’ and ‘World Cup -SouthAfrican matches- for Jewish heart for Africa.’