Project Hope, a crisis counseling program funded by FEMA and provided by Ohel, offers emotional support to the greater community in response to Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. On Sunday, February 10, Project Hope participated with Congregation Kneseth Israel, the Young Israel of Wavecrest and Bayswater, the Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula (JCCRP), and Nivneh, as more than 400 young children of the Rockaway Peninsula enjoyed a pre-Purim extravaganza. Special thanks to Brach’s for providing food items for the crafts and snacks for the children.

The program, Masks, Magic, and Miracles, was designed to instill a positive message to the children. The message, realized through engaging Purim-focused activities, was to look toward hope for the future and to brighter new beginnings. First, the children made mishloach manos for a significant person in their lives whom they identified as an individual they look to for hope and inspiration. Then the boys and girls were presented with a mesmerizing magic show that focused on turning bad to good and bringing sparks of light from darkness. They were also taught a magic trick which they could perform. Each child learned a trick where he or she was able to make a penny disappear, only to reappear as a dime! This taught the children that they have the ability to turn what seems like emptiness and despair into something even more valuable than what existed before. At the end of the magic show, they were each given a quarter to give for matanos l’evyonim on Purim with the understanding that everyone needs to be helpful and give hope to others.

In addition to crisis counseling and providing guidance to families and children to help them understand their own responses to trauma, manage stress, and identify and develop healthy coping strategies, Project Hope at Ohel provides educational programs and lectures. Project Hope at Ohel is confidential and offered at no charge. Counseling, educational, and referral services are available to individuals, families, groups, schools, and organizations at a time and place that works for them. For additional information or if you would like to benefit immediately from the services offered by Project Hope, please call 718-686-3321, or e-mail v


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