by Heidi Krizer Daroff with Eliana Lebson
Very often we come across articles stating that today’s teenagers are too busy taking selfies to actually care about the world around them.
Eliana Lebson from the Kemp Mill section of Silver Spring, Maryland, is proving that assertion false. Eliana created "I Support Israel” as a Facebook page on a Thursday evening, October 15th, in reaction to the horrendous wave of terrorism that is happening in Israel.
By Sunday October 18th, 1,000 attending people had clicked attending and by the time of writing this 58,000 people had been invited. Being as this is a private page with people having to be invited the numbers are astounding.
Throughout her life Eliana’s connection to Israel was strengthened through her aunt and uncle living there and several trips to visit. She attends a very Zionist school, the Berman Hebrew Academy and is a B’nei Akiva Madricha. Eliana’s best friend from when she was a little girl made aliyah when she was in second grade and her Aunt Ariel moved there when she was a baby. Her connection to Israel has always felt very close and positive.
Her connection to Israel has always felt very close and positive.
Eliana’s mother, Aviva, is extremely emotional at the response they have received from Israelis and people around the world who care about Israel. She is grateful for the power of social media to bring people together for an important cause such as standing with Israel. Aviva credits Eliana’s school and the Silver Spring community where they live with instilling a strong sense of zionism in her daughter.
As the number of invited participants began to rise Eliana was approached by older students and members of the school administration to participate in this effort after they came across it on Facebook. Students from younger grades also joined in the campaign and the school was awash in blue & white for Israel.
Eliana explains that, “A couple weeks ago, before I was going to bed I received an invitation for a Facebook event "blue, white and zahal." It was the night before the "event" was taking place so I hoped that I would remember to wear blue and white. On the bottom of this event it said it was sponsored by the Jewish youth group NCSY. At my school the next day there were some people wearing blue and white but it wasn't such a big thing."
A couple of days later my Mom told me that one of my grandparents friends, who made Aliyah several years ago had been stabbed and shot during a terror attack in Israel.
When this friend of our family was hurt, when I really had a connection to him, it made me think. Thursday night, of last week. I had an idea of telling people to wear blue and white to show their support for Israel. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, and at first I wasn't even sure if I wanted to create it because I was afraid that if it didn't get really popular then it would be awkward.
Every day on facebook I would see all these stories about what was happening in Israel, and it was really sad, I wanted it to stop but I didn't know what to do!
On Friday on the way to school there were at about 300 people who were going to the event of those invited. Throughout the school day I did not have access to wifi, so I did not know if there was any progress. But on the bus home from school I checked and it was up to like 1000 people invited!
Today in school the whole high school gathered together to take a group picture and I kept on getting compliments and compliments. It felt so good! It felt so good that I, a 15 year old could make such a difference for Israel! I was so happy! I never expected the numbers to get this high! I never even expected it to get past 300 and we had several thousand people attend. I am so happy how this turned out! ‘Am Yisrael Chai’! I was smiling the whole day. It was amazing.”
The Israel Forever Foundation applauds Eliana’s efforts on behalf of the people of Israel. We are proud to present her with a Certificate of Recognition for standing with the Jewish Homeland during this difficult time.
Heidi Krizer Daroff enjoys sharing her passion for Israel with others as North America Director of The Israel Forever Foundation. While her passport indicates that she does not reside in Israel, her heart definitely does. Through her storytelling, Heidi invites you to grow your involvement and add more Israel Forever into your daily life.