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Florida Residents Collect Supplies for Israelis

Rebekah with Dr. Tovah Ellman, who is helping to ship medical supplies to Israel. 

At the Roth Family Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Maitland, Florida, three teens taped a sign that read “We stand with Israel” to a table. On the table were medical supplies, including bandages and tourniquets, that the students were collecting for Israeli soldiers. 

The items were being gathered for Israeli soldiers and residents displaced after a terrorist attack on October 7. More than 1,400 people were killed in the attack on the Middle Eastern country, which was staged from neighboring Gaza. More than 200 people, including Americans, were taken hostage. Most of the hostages still have not been released. It was the single deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust

Dr. Tovah Ellman is among the Central Florida physicians who have been communicating with Israeli physicians and soldiers to assess their needs. Ellman, who specializes in pediatric emergency medicine, and others are helping to transport the supplies to areas affected by violence. 

“I was looking for a way to help, for something that I could do from here,” she said. “I've been praying, but I wanted to do something else.” Ellman’s team has been using a truck to transport supplies between the Orlando area, where the Roth JCC is located, and South Florida.


Fifteen-year-old Florida students Ella Ravid (left) and Lian Giladi help label bags of supplies to ship to Israel.


Ziva Kurlansik has been leading the effort at the Roth JCC. “My whole family is in Israel,” she said. “I’m heartbroken by what’s going on there. I feel that I need to give something back to my community and be part of this mission.” 

Kurlansik’s daughter, Liann, is a student at Trinity Preparatory School in Orlando. Liann held a bake sale fundraiser and a non-uniform day to raise money for United Hatzalah. Volunteers from the organization, which is based in Israel, provide emergency medical services. The supplies will help members of the Israeli Defense Forces and their families, as well as people uprooted by the violence.

“I have a brother who’s serving in the Israeli military,” said Yahli Salzman, a volunteer at the Roth JCC. “I think it’s very important for us to help, even though we’re so far away. We can still feel it here, and we need to help in any way that we can.”      

Photos courtesy of the author