Zelman 'Just Horrified'; Federation Stands Ready to Help

Tags: Federation, Israel, Overseas

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Israeli forces outside the entrance to the southern Israeli town of Sderot, Oct. 8, 2023. Flash90 / Chaim Goldberg


Article reprinted with permission from Cleveland Jewish News

In the early morning of Oct. 7, Dan Zelman, board chair of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, like many people, checked his phone immediately upon waking up. To his surprise it was flooded with news about terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip on the state of Israel.


His initial reaction was a combination of shock, horror and heartbreak, Zelman told the Cleveland Jewish News on Oct. 8.

“I like many or most of our community are just horrified by what we’ve seen and shocked that people, human beings, could do this, and we want to provide whatever help and assistance that we can,” he said.

As he continued to learn about the atrocities Zelman said he was “sickened” by the videos and magnitude of the situation. At least 700 Israelis were killed, over 2,000 wounded and more than 100 people taken hostage.

“It’s not people in the army, it’s whoever these barbarians could find,” Zelman said. “It’s women, kids, babies, grandparents, it’s really just sickening that people would do this kind of thing to other people.”

To assist Israel, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland has created the “Cleveland Stands with Israel” fund to aid victims of the attacks and their families through monetary donations, according to the Federation website. To make a donation, visit www.jewishcleveland.org, call 216-593-2909 or send a check to Jewish Federation of Cleveland, P.O. Bix 74320, Cleveland, OH 44194-0002.

The Federation has been working with partners, including The Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to remain “up to speed on what’s happening there” and determine what humanitarian aid is needed he said,.

“Over the next several days, we will be receiving information from our partner agencies to figure out what need is going to be needed and then we will do our best and be responsive,” Zelman said.

He said he is certain that Cleveland, as always, will provide “significant” funding.

“We’ve always helped when there’s a crisis and this is as big as we’ve ever faces, and we’ve been helping since the founding of Israel 75 years ago,” Zelman said.

Zelman last traveled to Israel in April with the Federation to celebrate the country’s 75th anniversary. While nothing is planned, he said that “there’s going to be a delegation of local and U.S. leader of the community that will probably visit Israel to show solidarity and further understand what we could to do help them out.”

The Federation will hold a special community gathering at 5 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Building at 25701 Science Park Drive in Beachwood, with local clergy, community leaders and others to demonstrate support for Israel.

Learn More: Federation, Israel, Overseas