Jewish community funds soccer field for earthquake-hit Italian town
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Jewish community funds soccer field for earthquake-hit Italian town

New ground is first sports facility to reopen in Amatrice, which was devastated by series of quakes in August 2016

Rescuers search amid rubble following an earthquake in Amatrice Italy, Wednesday, August 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Rescuers search amid rubble following an earthquake in Amatrice Italy, Wednesday, August 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

A central Italian town devastated last year by earthquakes has a new sports field, provided by the Italian Jewish community.

On Sunday, a soccer field donated by the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, or UCEI, was formally opened at Amatrice, with a friendly match between Maccabi Italia and a local team.

Amatrice was at the epicenter of a series of quakes starting on August 24, 2016 that destroyed much of the town and other nearby localities. About 300 people were killed in the natural disaster.

The new soccer field is the first sports facility to reopen after the quakes. “It’s a small gesture, a drop in the ocean of the emergency, but I hope that it can renew the hope and faith in the future,” UCEI President Noemi Di Segni said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The game resumes,” she also said – quoting the name of the initiative. She then recited the shehecheyanu prayer, recited over new beginnings and firsts.

The UCEI has provided aid to Amatrice and the earthquake zone ever since the quakes hit. It organized a blood drive, collected funds and material for relief operations, and opened a special bank account for earthquake relief donations. Volunteers from the humanitarian NGO IsraAid also worked in the affected area.

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