Local Zumba class raises money for Israel

WWSB ABC7 News at 11pm
Published: Oct. 17, 2023 at 9:54 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Jewish Federation of Sarasota Manatee held a pop-up event on Tuesday that helped raise funds for Israel. The event, called Dance with Israel, was a Zumba class hosted by instructor Yael Campbell.

“What I can do is bring a lot of people together, dance together and show the world that, we say ‘Am Yisrael Chai,’ which means Israel is still alive,” said Campbell.

Campbell is originally from Israel and her entire family is still there. She told ABC7 that her brother is on the front lines fighting with the Israeli Military. Campbell said calling back home, she has heard sirens going off and her family running to the shelter until it’s safe.

“It’s hard to talk to them on the phone too because you hear the kids in the background, and you hear them screaming every time there is a siren going on. So, the situation is not easy. The day to day, and I’m not even talking about the families who lost their homes, I’m not even talking about the families who lost their loved ones,” said Campbell.

Many of those who came out to dance are also facing the same challenges as Campbell. She said the event is not only raising funds for Israel but helping those on the Suncoast deal with what’s going on in Israel.

“Get all those emotions and be together and move together to the music. I think that will not just show the world that we are still strong but will also heal each one of us,” said Campbell.

Shep Englander, the CEO of The Jewish Federation of Sarasota Manatee, said the auditorium was filled with smiles for a change.

“You can’t dance and be sad. So, it took us away from our pain for a short time and lifted our spirits to go forward,” said Englander.

Those attending brought a minimum donation of $20, according to Englander.