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Hot-selling Chai Bond attempts to connect young people to Israel

NEW YORK, June 10 (JTA) — Since its release in early April, the new Chai Bond has been selling “like wildfire,” according to the State of Israel Bonds. The bond aims to foster the connection between younger Jews and Israel through endeavors such as the B’nai Mitzvah Bonding Program, which promotes the bond in synagogues by giving participants recognition of purchases made in their names during Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremonies. As its name suggests, the Chai Bond intends to “give life” to Israel. Gideon Patt, State of Israel Bonds president and CEO, said the Chai Bond “provides a means of introducing children to the importance of connecting to Israel while enabling them to begin saving for their future, a future that will hopefully include a visit to Israel.” Along with the bond statement, the recipient of the Chai Bond is given a certificate of original artwork by Jewish artists such as Arthur Szyk, Kalman Schemi and Peter Max. Raphael Rothstein, State of Israel Bonds national director of marketing and communications, said the bond’s key selling points are its relatively low price — $136, maturing at $180 five years later — and the artwork that comes with it. The Chai Bond has also been marketed on the Israel Bonds Web page, but State of Israel Bonds officials said the bond has essentially been selling itself through word of mouth even before the advertising campaign was launched. (For more information about the Chai Bond, call 800-229-9650.)