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Fishing for a Lifetime

I know I think of the girls a lot, but I never imagined how they’d come to mind on a remote, scenic peninsula.

Let me explain:

After so many summers of talking about camping, my family finally decided that THIS would be the summer to do it.

That’s how we found ourselves – and loads of equipment and supplies – at the Promised Land State Park, located in Pennsylvania’s stunning Pocono Mountain region. (Yep, we traveled to the ‘Promised Land!’)

Setting up camp unified us in a common endeavor and everyone was eager to help out. We gave each child a job that suited him or her, according to level of skill. The point was to give them something they could accomplish and come away with a feeling of success.

Then it was time to explore.

There was swimming and boating, fishing and just plain doing nothing, which was made easier by limited cell phone reception and no wifi.

We didn’t encounter too many people, but those we met were pleasant. Surprisingly, one man shouted, “Shalom, Aleichem!” (“Hello, to you!”) as we set up camp. And then there was the boat rental guy, who had an interesting way with giving instructions. Handing us the engine to attach to our boat, he said,

“Make sure this side stays up or it’s 150 bucks. Attach it, then turn this knob until you pass out. That’s how you know it’s on good and strong.”

I held back from saying, “But then it won’t matter.” But we got his point.

“And what about the fish? Are they biting?” my husband asked.

“Not this late in the season,” the man answered. “They’re uninterested in the normal bait people have used all these months.”

Wow. Before that moment, I never knew that even fish can be food connoisseurs.

Our next stop was the small convenience store nearby, which not only sold every food and staple one would need on a campsite, but also bait (read: worms…) which was, thankfully, kept in a separate room.

The owner was friendly and explained that the fishing is usually good in the region. She told us of an event in the spring that was open to children and families who enjoy fishing.

“Children of all ages with their own fishing rods come to the lake for a contest,” she explained. “Whoever catches a fish, wins. And they even get to keep what they catch!”

We asked how little children remained patient until they caught a fish?

“Oh, it’s easy to catch a fish,” she said. “We stock the lake before the children come. After all, we WANT them to catch the fish, right?”

Right.

And standing at the counter, just a few feet away from our gourmet fish bait, I thought of our girls.

More precisely, I thought of the expression: Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

Here in our blog and elsewhere, we often discuss ways in which we strive for the girls to cultivate their talents, reaching beyond their heartbreak to create new lives for themselves.

Every day in Netanya, almost one hundred orphaned and disadvantaged girls receive the basic care to make it happen. Specialized services help them recover from the severe emotional trauma of abuse and neglect. All of this is provided because hundreds of generous individuals like you from around the globe believe in making every effort to ensure that each girl can feel pride in her success.

As our valued partner, you are ‘stocking the lake with fish’!

Each nourishing meal and piece of new clothing they receive is not simply a ‘fish for a day’. It is sending a message of hope to each traumatized child that her life is treasured. When she receives tutoring to excel in school and therapy to process her pained and complex emotions, she is being provided with every tool she will need to have a successful future and one day stand on her own.

In the words of the store owner, “After all, we WANT them to catch the fish, right?”

At this point, the girls are just days away from beginning a new school year. They need backpacks and other supplies to start it off right. Click here to see how you can make a difference.

Wishing you fond memories of a summer well-spent,

Rachel Weinstein

Director of Development

P.S. Rosh Hashana begins on Sunday evening, September 16th! Let’s make this holiday season more meaningful than ever with Lev LaLev Rosh Hashana Greeting cards, hand crafted by the girls at Lev LaLev.

 

1 comment

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