jnf_ti-of-natick-7121 Nearly 200 people, including a Bar Mitzvah class, joined Jewish National Fund (JNF) at the first ever MetroWest Community Breakfast on Sunday, September 25, 2016 at Temple Israel of Natick. This event featured guest speaker Sorin Hershko, an elite IDF paratrooper and co-founder of JNF-partner LOTEM, the leading organization in Israel offering accessible hikes, outings, and educational workshops in nature to children and adults with special needs.

Sorin Hershko served as an elite paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces. Shortly before his release from military duty, Hershko was charged with flying to Entebbe, Uganda and as part of a mission to rescue hostages being held by terrorists. During the daring operation he was shot and became paralyzed from the neck down, making him the most severely wounded soldier from that rescue mission.  Despite his disability, Hershko went on to complete a B.A. in sociology from Tel Aviv University and founded a private software company.

Although his needs were taken care of by the Israeli government as a wounded warrior, he saw that this was not the case for many Israelis. As such, Hershko became chairman of LOTEM-Making Nature Accessible, an Israeli nonprofit organization dedicated to making nature accessible for people with special needs. Under Hershko’s leadership, LOTEM brings close to 35,000 participants per year out of their confines to learn about nature and to enjoy a normative experience together with the rest of society.

Attendees of the breakfast also learned about the vision of JNF and how it provides a unique voice in building a prosperous and secure future for the land and people of Israel. JNF strives to bring an enhanced quality of life to all of Israel’s citizens and translate these advancements to the world beyond. JNF is “greening” the desert with millions of trees, building thousands of parks across Israel, creating new communities and cities for generations of Israelis to call home, bolstering Israel’s water supply, helping develop innovative arid agriculture techniques, ensuring that no citizen is left behind by making parks and public spaces inclusive for people with disabilities and special needs, and educating both young and old about the founding and importance of Israel and Zionism.

jnf_ti-of-natick-7200Breakfast Chair Dubi Gordon remarked, “We are honored to be hosting the first JNF MetroWest Community Breakfast at Temple Israel! It was very exciting to hear from Sorin Hershko, who embodies boldness, innovation, fortitude, inclusiveness, and leadership—many of the strong qualities of Israel and JNF.”

To learn more about the work JNF is doing in Israel and how you can get involved, please contact Gali Gordon, JNF Campaign Executive, at 617.423.0999 ext.814 or ggordon@jnf.org.