When the missiles and mortars began falling again on Sderot and other besieged Gaza-belt communities last week, social entrepreneur Nir Kouris went into high gear to give local teens a break. He immediately approached ROI Community of Young Jewish Innovators, where he is a member, with an idea to find the funding to bring 700 kids to the Justin Bieber concert Thursday night. The Schusterman Foundation in Israel, The Morningstar Foundation, a private family foundation based in the Washington, DC area, and ROI Community responded with lightning speed. This enabled the entire project to move quickly.
“I feel blessed to partner with The Morningstar Foundation to counter the din of missiles and mortars with the exuberance of rock music for these young Israelis,” said Lynn Schusterman.
Impresario Gad Oron, the Bieber concert producer, agreed to provide discounted tickets for the children from the southern communities. The Israel Association of Community Centers is identifying and chaperoning teens in Sderot, Shaar Hanegev, Ofakim, Merchavim, Gan Yavneh, Shafir, Yoav, Yavneh and Kiryat Malachi, as well as providing buses.
Justin Korda, ROI Community’s executive director, emphasized the speed and dynamism of the operation, despite the daunting logistics. “We’re a global network with Israel at the center,” he said from ROI headquarters in Jerusalem. “Our member identified an opportunity to bring some joy where it’s urgently needed and, thanks to The Schusterman Foundation, The Morningstar Foundation and the Israel Association of Community Centers, we will be able to give these kids an unforgettable evening.”