Friday, August 31, 2012

Celebrating Sha’ar HaNegev, with Shimon Peres and Your Federation

On June 26th, the San Diego Federation and our partners in Sha’ar HaNegev celebrated the opening of the Yitzchak Shavit School and the special dedication of the Alexander Joseph Viterbi Arts Center. International and Israeli dignitaries, including Israeli president, Shimon Peres, attended the school’s opening and lauded the school’s state-of-the-art campus.

At the grand opening, Shimon Peres was received by students waving Israeli flags and holding out long stemmed red roses. He praised the students for their courage and for their commitment to their studies, despite the frequent rocket attacks from Gaza.

“I see here a wonderful and strong stance in the face of rockets,” Peres said. “This fortified school inaugurated today is the least that can be done for you. In response to the rockets you are making a strong statement.”

Peres sat down at a desk in a 9th grade classroom and happily joined in the activities. He took notes, smiled, and raised his hand when seeking permission to speak. The teachers said afterwards that over all, he was “a very good student.” Peres could have easily gone to a school much closer to his home in the Jerusalem area. But despite the rocket attack the previous day, he celebrated the opening of the Yitzchak Shavit School with the students of Sha’ar HaNegev. The students were clearly thrilled that he was there.

Over the past 10 years, the Federation and San Diego Jewish community have contributed more than $11 million to Sha’ar HaNegev. Since the escalation of rocket attacks in 2008, schools have often been shut for long periods, with parents fearing for the safety of their children. The San Diego Federation took a bold step as the first organization to commit its support to building this safe, specially shielded school.

This fall, the Yitzchak Shavit School opened its doors to over 1,200 students. For many, it will be their first opportunity to study in safety. The sprawling school grounds include a science center, synagogue, archeological park, concert stage and the special Alexander Joseph Viterbi Arts Center -- and chemical warfare safety rooms, 28 bomb shelters, and a unique architectural plan designed specifically to absorb and deflect rocket fire.

“The State of Israel is proud of you,” Shimon Peres said to the students of the Yitzchak Shavit School. And we at the San Diego Jewish Federation can be proud of our community’s generous support of the children of Sha’ar HaNegev.

Click here for more great pictures.


Post a Comment