When nature calls

June 5, 2012 Agencies
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Melbourne family has donated a much-needed facility to one of Israel’s most populat nature reserves…wheelchair accessible bio lavatories.

“When you plant a tree in the name of someone, keep watering it, because you never know if the belief in life after death won’t come true.” This is Michael Krape’s take on life. With sixty-six years of life experience, Krape, from Melbourne, Australia, decided to change the paradigms of fundraising for the benefit of the community.

L-R: Michael Krape, Dorit Sadovsky & Inbar Rubin in front of bio-toilet. Photo: KKL-JNF

Michael Krape, a man with an original way of thinking, has been active in Jewish organizations in Australia for decades, through which he has been fundraising for different projects for the benefit of the people in Israel. These include Hadassah, Keren Hayesod, WIZO and, of course, KKL-JNF. He started getting interested in philanthropy forty-four years ago, on his first visit to Israel, when he saw ambulances with long dedications on their sides in honor of donors, “who donated an ambulance, or its tires, its rear lights, or its seats,” as he explained it.

Michael and Judy Krape unveil the dedicatory sign. Photo: Gabi Bron

He learned a few facts about fundraising over the years. “I learned that a healthy ego is not a human flaw,” said Krape, “but an asset that calls out to active fundraisers. Another important thing: at times when God alone determines our fate, it doesn’t hurt to help others a little, as much as possible, because as meaningless as everything might seem, we do have the ability to change the lives of others. This means knocking on doors to collect coins for the blue box, financing the purchase of an ambulance, founding a library, supporting scientific research for controlling the eucalyptus gall wasp, or installing environmentally friendly bathrooms.”

This is what Michael Krape did. Why bio-lavatories in particular? “The simple answer is the name Krape,” said Krape, “which my wife Judy decided to adopt thirty-four years ago. A less simple answer is that the goal of a marketer is to turn a disadvantage into an advantage. Just like an alchemist tries to turn lead into gold, we believed that we could use our name as a means to achieve good ends. As a result, not only was our family name often a source for jokes, but we believed that if we could inspire others to find original ways of their own to support Israel, then we could say we succeeded.

The flags of Australia, Israel and KKL-JNF were waving by the new facility with bio lavatories at the Pelican Lookout by the lake, and, at the donor appreciation site nearby, there was a stone monument to commemorate their much-needed contribution.

An Aussie loo in Israel

Efi Naim, the director of the Hula Lake Park, and Aviram Zuk, the KKL-JNF northern region director, took part in the event, which evoked chuckles from beginning to end. In his greetings, Andy Michelson, KKL-JNF master of ceremonies, spoke about the importance of the Hula Lake Park in the leisure culture of Israel and about connecting to nature. “Hundreds of thousands of people a year come here to see the millions of birds that stop here when they migrate. The Hula Lake Park could be called the Club Med for birds. Although this is a very unique contribution, it is not the first of its kind donated through KKL JNF,” said Michelson.

Michael Krape produced a pack of T-Shirts emblazoned with a colorful print of the bio lavatories, words from the relevant blessing and the meaningful inscription, “The Krape Convenience – When Nature Calls – Hula Valley, Israel.”

After unveiling the commemorative plaque on the stone monument at the donor appreciation site, the small party of friends was taken on a wonderful tour of the expansive park. When they reached the Pelican Lookout, Michael immediately entered one of the lavatory cubicles. After a few seconds he peeked out, his hands up signaling victory. It seems that this is how bio lavatories are inaugurated in Israel and maybe even in Australia!


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