As a follow-up to our post last month, eJP spoke with Susan (Susie) Stern, JFNA’s immediate past National Campaign Chair, about the allocations that have been made through the Stop the Sirens Campaign. Through August 18th, $16.8 million has been allocated to support “needs needed right away.” And while the situation on the ground has been changing on an almost daily basis, the allocations process has been generally looking at needs for a two week basis and is focusing on needs up to Rosh Hashana. Here are some highlights of current allocations:
One of the most important area of needs is trauma support where thirteen years of siren blasts have taken a significant toll. In towns like Sderot, 28 percent of adults and 94 percent of children are showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress. The long-term effects – depression, a decline in physical health, bereavement and disability – are likely to be faced by many in the weeks, months and even years to come. Almost $5 million has been allocated to date through JFNA’s year-round partner organizations and the Masorti Movement and Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism.
With schools on vacation and many summer vacation programs cancelled, or – at best – running haphazardly, many organizations provided tens of thousands of children from Israel’s south to safer areas for fun activities and a much-needed day away from shelters. Approximately $5.2 million has been allocated here.
Another crucial area of needs is the economic recovery of small businesses. With consumers in southern Israel keeping close to home or relocating, small businesses have had a difficult time making ends meet. And, according to Ms. Stern, the committee is thinking about how philanthropic dollars can be helpful in this area. One way, modeled after a program initiated following the 2012 hostilities, is a loan program targeted to local entrepreneurs. While only a small amount has been allocated to date (under $1 million) this area – like trauma counseling including support for care-givers – will require longer term support.
With a meaningful ceasefire still not in place, actual needs are changing on a daily basis. One thing is certain, both the social and the economic needs will continue long past the silence of the rockets from Gaza.
photos courtesy The Jewish Agency, JDC and JFNA