Coding the Next Iron Dome?

It is clear that there is every possibility that one of the people in the room could be the next Iron Dome inventor, and that their time in Israel has made them even more connected to the possibility of doing something big. Photo courtesy The Jewish Agency.

A group of young 20-somethings stand in a Soho-like loft space in a tech incubator in South Tel Aviv, presenting the future of traffic to a panel of the Start Up Nation’s leading lights. The CTO of PayPal Israel is there (they are sponsoring the event), as is a representative of the Prime Minister’s Office, and so are several experts on the emerging field of smart cities. … [Read more...]

Israel: Not a Time for Zealotry or Shyness with Children

IDF Protective Shield

by Cyd Weissman Minutes after coming out of the bomb shelter last week, I saw a father and his twin daughters finish a meal and quietly chat in a Tel Aviv restaurant as if nothing had just happened. On the streets of Jerusalem a mother told me that her 7 year old son was managing the incoming rockets just fine. "Can we do it again" (go in the shelter), he asked? "I want to hear the boom, like the video game." What can we do as parents and educators when our children are experiencing danger either in real time or in virtual space? Firstly, we can’t be shy about it. Educators and parents often avoid the subject of Israel for reasons including their own uncertainties or the potential divisiveness of the subject. On the other hand, some adults approach children on the subject of Israel with a … [Read more...]

The Jewish World Responds: Stop the Sirens Campaign


The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), has launched Stop the Sirens. The campaign, initiated with a $10 million goal, is now looking for $30 million in commitments to deal with immediate and critical needs. eJP has been informed that all federations are making an effort to participate. As of July 24th, $8,500,000 has been allocated to specific projects proposed by JFNA's major partners (The Jewish Agency, JDC, World ORT and the Israel Trauma Coalition) and the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and Masorti movement in Israel. Shortly before Shabbat, eJP spoke at length with Heschel Raskas, the chair of JFNA's Allocations Committee, to both understand the process and … [Read more...]

I Pray that God will Bring Quiet to My Home

Hadar Hollander with her brother; photo courtesy The Jewish Agency

“I ask God that the war should end and the IDF should return home in peace, that this entire situation will stop, and there will be no Code Red alerts and we will live a calm life.” by Nathan Roie Hadar Hollander, eleven years old, was stopped on her way from Kibbutz Alumim this morning, two kilometers from Gaza City, because of a difficult exchange with terrorists, during which the roads were closed by the IDF. “Our home, the Kibbutz, is like a military camp, and there is firing around it,” she tells me. She does not remember quiet times on the Kibbutz. Her parents were Bnei Akiva Shlichim in Italy, and they moved to the religious Kibbutz of Alumim. She remembers that, when she was in kindergarten, “there was trouble” in the area already. “We have a green Kibbutz with good people. I … [Read more...]

Keeping Life Normal in Southern Israel

Puppet therapy at the Cheruv Absorption Center in Be’er Sheva; photo courtesy The Jewish Agency.

by Ravit Elia-Leib The question on our minds these days is how can we best grapple with and confront this emergency situation, which continues on and on - endlessly, it seems. How can we help our small children, who waited so long for their summer vacation, to overcome their fears and disappointments? In my own home, we decided to deal with things by making light of them. We make games out of the experiences and try, to the greatest extent possible, to maintain routine. When the air-raid siren goes off, we sing and dance in the bomb shelter, and we have a clear schedule of activities for what we’ll do when we can leave the ‘safe area.’ Last weekend, I was traveling in Be’er Sheva with my 6-year-old son, Itai, in our car, when the siren went off. Itai has been drilled many times about what … [Read more...]

100 North American Olim Children Land in Israel

Ilana Barta, 23, from Teaneck, NJ, came to Israel to marry her fiance next month. Ilana has not heard from her fiance, a  Paratrooper who is currently on active duty in Gaza, since the ground operation began.

Jerusalem, July 22, 2014 - Despite the tense security situation in Israel, 228 new Olim, including 100 children, from the United States and Canada arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport today as new citizens, on a Nefesh B’Nefesh Aliyah charter flight, in collaboration with the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA. The children included 39 girls and 61 boys. Altogether, 29 families and 54 singles joined the landmark flight, which included Olim planning to live in Israel’s south and north, as part of a joint project to settle Olim in the Negev and the Galilee. Those who are planning to live in the south also received special briefings about the security situation, such as information about trauma counseling and support … [Read more...]

The Jewish World Responds: Better Together

JDC Better Together

These photos showcase Better Together, a JDC program serving children in disadvantaged Ashkelon neighborhoods. During this time of crisis, Better Together is operating in community centers and shelters, working with at-risk children to provide them with a respite from the stress of Operation Protective Edge and with daily activities and program. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee benefits from centralized emergency fundraising coordinated by the Jewish Federations of North America in partnership with the Reform and Conservative movements. … [Read more...]

Youth Futures: In the Full Sense of the Word

Youth Futures, Operation Protective Edge, July 2014; photo courtesy The Jewish Agency.

1,421 participants in the Youth Futures Program: “A day like this affirms the strength of the South” "It is good to get out of the house for a little bit, to break from our routine, Aviv, a participant of Youth Futures from Sderot, tells. “Today I played in the pool and on the slides, it was really fun ... At home, I usually play on my cellphone, on the computer, and watch television.” Whenever the Water Park of Shefa’im would make announcements on the loud speaker, the hearts of the managers and mentors of “Youth Futures” would skip a beat - the announcements sounded too much like 'Code Red' alerts - the sirens blaring all over Israel warning of incoming rockets from Gaza. In times like these, every sound on the loudspeaker reverts them back to their roles as managers, mentors, and parents. … [Read more...]