Welcome! to Bears from Bergenfield.com
Bears from Bergenfield: Bears or stuffed toys for traumatized children who need comfort or don't have any toys to hug. Just ask my son, Sam Goldstein, now 21. He started us off 10 years ago, while he himself was hospitalized. Can you imagine a life without toys to play with or teddy bears to hug? Well either could Sam or the rest of us at Cong. Beth Israel in Bergenfield, NJ 10 years ago. It was his idea to collect slightly used (*no battery, no dark colored, no stiff ones, just small, just soft, and just huggable) stuffed toys. We were hoping to collect 100. That was 10 years ago and 135,000 toys ago.
Now you can join us and be part of our CLAIRE'S BEARS team.
We fly our *toys, once we have collected the funds to pay for shipping, to: 1) Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba, 2) One Family Fund in Jerusalem, 3) Miklat bat Melech in Ramot and Beit Shemesh, 4) Migdal Ohr, 5) Sara Herzog Emunah Center in Afula, 6)Gilo Community Center Gan in Gilo, 7) Sheba/ Tel Hashomer Hospital. We also need volunteers to do pick ups at Ben Gurion for us from time to time. Please contact Ed Wolfe for details. firstname.lastname@example.org. or 0505354884.
We offer an opportunity to do hesed, gimilut hasadim, "hands on mitzvah" in a fun, creative, and fulfilling way.
1) Organize a *stuffed toy DRIVE at your shul, school, religious center, or youth group. After you collect and sort through the toys, organize a FUNDRAISER to pay the costs of shipping to Israel. We need your donated funds to pay for shipping. 1b) Donate from your loved ones' estates such as the Rosalie B. Levinstone estate of 2013. 1c) Some people don't have stuffed toys to donate so they have been sending us checks to cover the cost of shipping.
Each full DUFFLE costs $100 to ship.
We can't ship YOUR toys without YOUR donated funds to cover those shipping costs. Suggested donation starts at $36 per garbage bag of toys. Each duffle holds approximately 3 garbage bags full of toys.
2) We can be hired to provide your child with a teddy bear stuffing party for as little as $10 per completed stuffed animal set,(when you order 50 or more- $12.50 per set for 50 and under, includes shipping to Israel), or show him/her how to run a collection for gently used and much loved stuffed animals and collect them for us. We also offer yarn for knitting bear parties.
*toys desired that Israeli staff distribute to their children clients or patients
THE LAST TOY by Rabbi Claire Ginsburg Goldstein
It was a beautiful day in early December 2012. The sun was shining brightly. No sign of rain anywhere. Standing in the lobby of the King Solomon Hotel, we were about to board our bus, our appointed charity destination to an office that kept a toy collection for traumatized children in need.Destination One Family Fund in Jerusalem. Toys, sorted and packed were stuffed into three garbage bags. The three garbage bags were squeezed into the small space before my feet, overhead, and on the seat next to me on the bus. Little did we know that we were about to add to the "last toy".The ride to the One Family Fund center was relatively uneventful. We were all anxious to deliver the toys. We were proud of the 50 toys that we were about to present to this worthy institution.In wanting to get a sense of the "lay of the land", I jumped off the bus first so that I could meet and great the various workers and volunteers assembled there to meet us. After saying "Shalom" to Dena,the head professional volunteer, who had lost two children to terror, I was introduced to Gila Hershkovitz. She is the one who explained to all of us assembled that just that morning she had chosen the "last toy". How fortuitous it was that we arrived when we did with the bag of 50 toys to distribute to more children. She had needed to take the last toy to give over to one of her very young grandchildren celebrating a birthday. What we didn't understand is how difficult it is for children to celebrate birthdays after they have lost a parent to terror. These toys help to fill that gaping hole of the loss of that parent. As we settled down to hear Gila retell her story of what happened to her and her family living in Samaria, "Shomron" in Hebrew, we quickly understood the power of giving the toys to the children.Gila had been living with her husband for many years in their home,near the entrance of their development. That fateful night, her husband had offered a fellow worker a ride home. As they drove without incident towards Mr. Hershokovitz' home, a series of 6 shots were fired from the road. Three felled her husband, one entering his neck at the main artery. Luckily, the worker was able to steer the car to the side of the road and called the police. The police were on the scene momentarily and searched for the shooters. Gila had already heard that someone was ambushed along the side of the road, near where she lived,according to the recent TV report. She didn't want to believe that it was her husband. She picked up her cell to phone her husband. Of course he didn't answer. She didn't think anything of it. The shock hit her when the police turned into her corner and stopped in front of her home. Then the realization began to hit her. Her husband was gone.People came and went as she sat shiva, the 7 day mourning period for her husband. She tried to regain her life and continue on afterwards.It was so difficult. She had known her husband since high school. Three months went by and her son, Asaf suggested that it was time to begin to remodel her front porch, as she had always dreamed to do. She had begun the project right before her husband was gunned down. She ordered a certain tile from Jerusalem but was told by the company that they wouldn't deliver to her development in Samaria. Asaf volunteered to go to pick it up. On his way to pick up the tile at 630 AM in the morning, he too was gunned down. She was sitting shiva once more. Asaf left behind a very young wife and very young children. No matter how many hugs and kisses, his young wife could offer, her children were bereft of their father. In time, the young wife remarried, the porch was remodeled, and Gila also remarried. But living in the shadows of death, are not easily overcome. As Gila concluded her story, she explained to us, "it isn't the toys that make the difference so much, it is the gesture. It is the act of giving and thinking of those who have lived through death and for no reason at all. I could go to the store and buy my young grandchildren the toys as well. There are plenty of stores here for children. It is that you all took the time to think of us, we who don't have our husbands, our sons, our children any longer. Your actions speak volumes. Many thanks-yous for thinking of us and blessing us with your kindness. If you hadn't walked in when you did, we would have managed to do without. But now there are 50 more children who can benefit from such kindnesses as you have bestowed upon us. May your work be blessed."We don't want this collection to dwindle down to one last toy. Gila,means happiness in Hebrew, but it is happiness that has become a state of being. We would love to see the victims of terror pick up the pieces and return to a "Gila" state of mind. You too can make this happen by contributing to our worthy cause today.........
On your next trip to Israel, consider collecting your own *toys or take our *toy donations,1) get an email from me, sent from El Al, allowing you to bring the extra (3rd) duffle for only $100, 2) get the check from me, 3)and fly them on El AL to Ben Gurion airport where upon Betty and Ed Wolfe of Kfar Saba will pick the toys from you for distribution or 4)bring them to a donation site of your own choosing.You can also help us all save the money by taking a duffel to Israel yourself when you go! We usually have 5-10 duffels of toys ready to go. Please help us get the toys to Israel!
YOU can also order a Share with Claire's bears; BEARS FROM BERGENFIELD t-shirt for $18/ 2@ $30, limited timed offer. (designed by our new friend, Cari Snider).
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