On July 7th, Israel launched Operation Protective Edge and the Jewish world immediately mobilized to provide a range of services to soften the war’s impact, particularly on the lives of children and families, but also to assist those who are risking their lives in defense of Israel. Following are just some of the many initiatives underway (culled from list-servs of the various organizations, July 25th).
Alexander Muss High School in Israel
Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) students and staff helped raise $2,000 in a one-day drive for food and supplies which were delivered to IDF soldiers. The drive was initiated by AMHSI teens, who are spending six weeks in Israel this summer living on AMHSI’s Hod Hasharon campus, where they are on a study and travel program learning about Jewish history and exploring Israel.
“Our students were deeply moved and affected by the stories of courage on the part of the IDF soldiers currently serving in Gaza or at the Gaza border.” Yardena Spector-Nizri, Dean of Students said. “By supporting them, we have played our part in helping raise the mood and the morale of our troops, and the students feel that they’re doing their part to show support.”
The Schusterman Family Foundation, including ROI Community, REALITY and Connection Point participants
In recent weeks, we’ve been reminded time and again of the complexities Israel contends with and of the unbelievable dedication and resilience of our people. As we started to see more and more individuals within our circles taking action to help Israeli communities affected by the current situation, we began formulating a plan to assist our alumni with their relief initiatives.The Schusterman Family Foundation has initiated the #MakeItHappen: Eitanim micro grant program, a dedicated funding pool that offers alumni of Schusterman programs one-time micro grants that will enable our young leaders to swiftly create programs in response to growing needs in Israel. From running programs for children in bomb shelters to bringing hot dinners to soldiers, we believe that no effort is too small to make a difference and we are proud to see our alumni bring so many wonderful initiatives into fruition.
The Jewish Federations of North America, in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, have launched Stop the Sirens. Here are some updates. (For more on the Stop the Sirens campaign, please see our post, “The Jewish World Responds: Stop the Sirens Campaign.”)
JDC/American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
JFNA and the Federation system, through its generosity and ongoing support, has enabled JDC to deploy close to 100 new specialized emergency personnel and crisis experts, in addition to permanent staff, in dozens of locations in Israel’s South to care for the needs of nearly 10,000 elderly and people with disabilities by providing hundreds of hot meals, medicines, transportation, emotional support, groceries, and medical care to help them make it through the crisis; provided recreational bomb shelter activities for almost 20,000 children through the provision of nearly 1,000 activity kits – additionally, 500 volunteers from JDC’s Centers for Young Adults and Better Together communities across the South have been conducting those activities; distributed hundreds of portable toilets to the frailest people with disabilities to keep in their safe rooms and shelters; distributed more than 300 Hibuki dolls – huggable plush dolls – as part of an intensive JDC post-trauma program being conducted for hundreds of children in the South; and offered dozens of one-to-three day respite activities away from heavily bombarded areas for 1,500 at risk children and youth and their families, seniors, and people with disabilities.
The Jewish Agency
See our two articles from last week,
In southern cities in Israel, due to the dangerous situation and the constant barrage of rockets, children and adults must stay in secure locations and many regular activities cannot take place in their usual locations. As such, most educational and other activities in the southern cities have come to a standstill. World ORT Kadima Mada is looking to introduce the popular You-niversity programs into key southern cities (as identified by our partner the Ministry for the Development of the Negev and Galilee) in an alternative format. In cooperation with the municipality, WOKM is seeking locations, equipment and supplies to run the programs in secure spaces where the children and teens can gather safely, to learn and enjoy. This will offer the children a productive way to spend their time and perhaps minimize the trauma associated with being confined to a shelter and isolated from their friends. Many of these towns are suffer from poor socio-economic conditions and many teens have problematic situations at home – so it is even more challenging to be forced to stay at home for extended periods of time.
So far, there are 50 activities in Kiryat Gat and as of this past Friday, in Dimona too. Tutors from the north are going to the south to assist.
Respite – so far 750 families from Bnei Shimon, Lachish and Sdot Negev have benefitted from some respite. The program was coordinated with the local authorities. There have been three types of programs, one day, two day and three day activities.