Donate Shop Register Volunteer


Sacramento honors L.A. teen for his gift to Israel
Sacramento honors L.A. teen for his gift to Israel


PHOTO CREDIT: George Bravo

By Emma Silvers
JWeekly
January 17, 2013


Robert Leeds, 13, never had much of a personal connection to Sacramento. He grew up and continues to live in Los Angeles. So why did the Sacramento City Council honor the teen in a special ribbon-cutting ceremony the morning of Jan. 8?Inspired by the city’s decision last summer to partner with Ashkelon, Israel as its newest sister city, Leeds decided that in lieu of gifts or money, attendees at his bar mitzvah should donate money to a fund that would go to Magen David Adom, Israel’s emergency response agency. He ended up raising enough money to purchase an ambulance to donate to Ashkelon.

Dina and Fred Leeds, Robert’s parents, are board members of the Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs, which was instrumental in getting Sacramento council members to approve Ashkelon as a sister city.

Dina Leeds wrote letters to council members supporting the resolution, and was so impressed when two of them wrote back that the donation idea began to take shape. Dina is also a board member of American Friends of Magen David Adom. Invitations to Leeds’ bar mitzvah asked attendees to “come together and do a very special act of kindness in our Holy Land. Join hands and put a lifesaving ambulance on the ground in Israel.”

The drive raised over $200,000, enough money to purchase not one but two ambulances for the MDA, one of which was dedicated specifically to Ashkelon in Robert Leeds’ honor in the Jan. 8 ceremony in Sacramento.

“At age 13, a Jewish boy becomes a man … becoming a man to me meant standing up for my brothers and sisters in Israel and helping to cushion the blows that they experience on a daily basis,” said the teen in a speech at the ceremony. “I wanted not only for the ambulance itself to save actual life, but I also wanted the very action of sending it to be the message that you do not stand alone.”

Speakers at the morning ribbon cutting were council member Steve Cohn; Arnold Gerson, CEO of the American Friends of Magen David Adom; Gideon Lustig, deputy consul general of Israel for the Pacific Northwest; and Barry Broad, a board member of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento region and a former chair of the Sacramento Jewish Community Relations Council.

That evening, at the regularly scheduled city council meeting, the council presented a resolution honoring Robert Leeds for his commitment to Israel and to tikkun olam.

Gail Rubin, the coordinator of the Sacramento/Davis chapter of StandWithUs, who last summer gave Sacramento council members a petition with 3,500 signatures supporting the Ashkelon sister city resolution, had this to say about Leeds: “This ambulance dedication is a ‘thank you’ to the city of Sacramento for upholding its principles of sister city partnerships, despite the efforts of anti-Israel groups who opposed the resolution last August.”

Cohn, one of the city council’s main proponents of the Ashkelon-Sacramento sister city relationship, said in an email the following day: “I’ve been on the council for 18 years, but this was one of the most positive inspiring moments in my memory.”




READ ARTICLE HERE

Other stories
8/28/2015
His Excellency Ambassador Dave Sharma, Australia`s envoy to Israel, hosted Alumni of the S...
8/27/2015
During the past 20 years, the U.S. has invested $4.5 billion in promoting democracy among ...
8/27/2015
Terrorism survivor Kay Wilson visited Toronto this summer to speak with Jewish students, i...
8/27/2015
A group of retired brass says the deal would threaten national security and that Congress ...
8/27/2015
The country seems divided on the Iran Nuclear Deal and the same goes for Rhode Island....
8/26/2015
What do one of the nation`s leading oncologists, an economist, detective and a former Indi...
8/26/2015
Hi, my name is Israel Girl and I am a feminist. ...
8/24/2015
After failing in an attempt to have Jewish-American singer Matisyahu banned from a Spanish...
8/24/2015
For years, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has worked to make Israel an int...
8/24/2015
The lead attorney for 10 American families who secured $655 million in civil damages again...
8/21/2015
Iran is the leading state sponsor of global terrorism. Iran was directly involved in the I...
8/20/2015
As concerned U.S. citizens, we need your help!...
8/19/2015
More than 250 supporters of Israel, including dozens of high school and college students, ...
8/18/2015
At a press conference held at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Herzliya on Monday night, pop supe...
8/18/2015
Self-declared `liberal Democrat` slams nuclear deal on many fronts, but admits that Congre...
8/18/2015
Haisam Hassanein grew up surrounded by anti-Israeli stereotypes but found a very different...
8/17/2015
Local responses to what the Jewish community considers is the new face of anti-Semitism, t...
8/14/2015
THE columnists, commentators, professors and idealistic students who push a one-sided imag...

 

About Us
Get Involved
Resources
Shop For Israel
Social Media
StandWithUs Websites