The Greatness of the Jewish People – Global Jewish Learning and Ralph I. Goldman


By Karen Klieger Sponder Ralph I. Goldman was the ultimate global Jew. Born in the Ukraine, he grew up in United States, and later moved to Israel. More importantly, the impact of his life's work is still changing lives, still guiding the values and principles of the Jewish world. His life inspires me greatly. It is a privilege and an honor to announce that the Global Day of Jewish Learning is being dedicated to the life and legacy of Ralph Goldman. Ralph described himself as “a civil servant of the Jewish people.” Indeed, while serving in the US Army in WWII he volunteered to work in Displaced Persons Camps and he served the founding government of Israel, organizing Prime Minister Ben-Gurion's first state visit to the US. During his 100 years of life, Ralph both served and led the Jewish … [Read more...]

JDC Resilience Conference: European Jews Must Be Prepared For Challenges As Vast Majority Remain In Place

Ana Libl, President of the Jewish Community of Croatia and Avital Livneh, Headmaster of Tikva School, Barcelona.

"By the time you hear the thunder, it's to late to build the ark." conference participant Barcelona, Spain, June 29, 2015 - In a year of growing challenges and threats to European Jewish communities and with immediate concerns over the impact of a potential Greek default, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) concluded a multi-day international conference in Barcelona aimed at strengthening Jewish community resilience in the face of adversity. Dozens of Jewish leaders, experts, and professionals from across the continent took part in the pan-European discussions that focused on bolstering crisis management and response, community security, and streamlining inter-communal cooperation. The conference was co-organized in cooperation with the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation and … [Read more...]

On World Refugee Day, JDC Urges Support for Ukrainian Displaced People

A Ukrainian mother poses with her daughter and a young friend in the room where she lives with her family in a centre for displaced people in Slavyansk. Most of the people are from the Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20th, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) CEO Alan H. Gill called on the Jewish and international community to redouble its efforts to aid Ukraine's million plus internally displaced people, including thousands of displaced Jews who like their neighbors have fled fighting between the Ukrainian government and separatists in the east. "At a time when refugee and internally displaced populations are surging worldwide, we call on people of good will to join us in our ongoing efforts to address the plight of Ukraine's internally displaced, a critical humanitarian crisis that has fallen from the headlines. As we know from our work with displaced Ukrainian Jews, there is no end in sight to their suffering - and the suffering of millions of others … [Read more...]

No Decision About Me, Without Me

JCC Global Special Needs Seminar visits Kisharon UK; photo courtesy

By Smadar Bar-Akiva "No decision about me, without me" - this core statement presented by Janet Leech, the Head of Learning Disabilities at Enfield Council in London at the conclusion of JCC Global's Amitim Fellows Special Needs Seminar captures the essence of a groundbreaking experience. … [Read more...]

A Green Thumb, and Leg Up, for Israeli Children

Gail Asper (The Asper Foundation) with Students at Yitzhak Sade School in Dimona - June 4 2015.

Deep in the heart of the Negev, Dimona is a desert town not known for its greenery. And yet on June 4th, more than 200 Israeli children and teachers welcomed Gail Asper - the president of the Winnipeg-based Asper Foundation - to their Edible Gardens Initiative in Dimona to demonstrate how the desert can bloom. The Edible Gardens Initiative, based on the Edible Classroom model from California, offers at-risk children and youth an "outside of the classroom" space - a garden - where they acquire essential life skills, foster leadership potential, and gain new insight into academic subjects like science, history, literature, nutrition, and health. A part of the daily school curriculum, the garden is tended by students and, at the same time, professionals from Society for the Protection of Nature … [Read more...]

Genesis Philanthropy Group, JDC Entwine Partner to Engage Next Gen of Russian-Speaking Jews in International Service

Russian-speaking Jewish college students from across North America traveled with JDC Entwine on a service trip to Argentina, pictured here volunteering at SUIM community center in Mar del Plata.

In a first initiative of its kind, Genesis Philanthropy Group (GPG) and JDC Entwine - the growing younger adult platform of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) - have announced a partnership to develop and launch the first global Jewish service program uniquely crafted for Russian-speaking Jewish young people. The partnership will increase the number of Russian-speaking Jewish college students and young professionals involved in JDC Entwine’s overseas Insider Service Trips and Learning Networks in North America. Recognizing the critical importance of the next generation of Russian-speaking Jews in the future of Jewish community life, the initiative is geared toward engaging this demographic with global Jewish issues, from Jewish identity-building to ending Jewish poverty to … [Read more...]

Seven Things to Know As Ukraine’s Crisis Continues

Screenshot from JDC Crisis Update: Ukraine

As we enter the summer months, with a focus on family, friends, and general respite from taxing schedules and demands, let’s also reaffirm our commitment to the Jews of Ukraine. By Alan H. Gill Despite a fragile ceasefire between the Ukrainian government and separatist forces, news of violence is once again making headlines with major fighting near Donetsk. And yet the humanitarian toll of this crisis - impacting tens of thousands of Jews - is no longer in the news and is naturally slipping way from our communal agenda. Challenges to personal safety, widespread devastation, instability in the separatist-controlled regions, economic collapse, and a total lack of public services exacerbate the already harsh lives of some of the poorest Jews in the world. And it is our responsibility to … [Read more...]

Judafest Celebrates Hungarian Jewish Pride, Identity

For eight years, the JDC-sponsored Judafest festival has brought thousands of members of Hungary’s Jewish community to the streets to celebrate their culture and share their pride in their identity. The festival is especially remarkable in the face of Hungary’s unsettling rise of right wing, anti-Semitic political rhetoric. Peter Berenyi, who coordinates Judafest as part of his deputy director post at Budapest’s Balint Haz Jewish Community Center, took a few minutes to speak to JDC about the value of the street festival and the importance of resilience in Jewish Europe. Q: What's new with Judafest this year? What programs or sessions are you most excited about? A: The festival can’t grow bigger in a tangible physical way, because we already use the full street, but we always come up with … [Read more...]