Displaced by Conflict in Ukraine, a Young Jewish Activist Shares Her Story with American Jewish Audiences

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When the daily shelling began to be too much to bear last June, 23-year-old Masha Shumatskaya packed up her belongings and left her hometown of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine for the safety of Kharkov. Since then, she’s become one of 2,500 internally displaced Jews aided by JDC after they fled fierce fighting between government and separatist forces. Today, JDC also continues to serve thousands of needy Jews in the separatist-controlled regions as well. In response, JDC has deployed emergency services assisting Jews caught up in the conflict, including: extra food, medicine, and medical care; crisis-related home repairs; extra winter items such as warm bedding, clothing, utility stipends, and space heaters; and a full aid package, emergency housing, and post-trauma care for displaced Jews - … [Read more...]

Apply Now for the The Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship in Global Jewish Leadership

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The Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship in Global Jewish Leadership is JDC's premier leadership opportunity, awarded to one person annually, for young Jewish thinkers and doers - policy makers, writers, business innovators, artists, and community builders. The Fellowship enriches a rising leader through direct exposure to local communities and key challenges confronting the Jewish people. Fellows plan their year alongside senior JDC staff, identifying and designing 2-3 unique overseas placements shaped by their skills, interests and the critical needs of communities abroad. This is a paid, professional opportunity for an exceptional young Jewish leader who is committed to impacting the global Jewish world. Application deadline: May 31, 2015. For additional information, click the image above. … [Read more...]

New Legacies in the Making – Vibrant Communities, Vibrant Limmuds

Young Leadership team at Limud Keszet Poland; photo courtesy  Piotr Kulisiewicz.

To celebrate Limmud’s 35th year, eJewishPhilanthropy is offering a look into Jewish communities around the world, through the eyes of Limmud volunteers. Limmud, the global grassroots Jewish learning movement which was founded in the United Kingdom in 1980, is today in 80 communities and 40 countries. This installment focuses on Limmuds in Jewish communities with ancient roots in central Europe which had been under Nazi occupation followed by Communist domination and are today seeing a renaissance - Bulgaria, the Czech and Slovak Republics and Poland. ******** Limmud Keshet Bulgaria Bulgaria’s roughly 5,000 Jews are part of a vibrant community with a long and fascinating history. Dr. Joseph Benatov, who teaches at University of Pennsylvania, lectures regularly on the fate of Bulgaria’s … [Read more...]

Amid Crisis, JDC Ensures Purim Celebrations for Ukraine’s Jews

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Despite an ongoing crisis in Ukraine, exacerbated today by growing humanitarian needs, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and Jews around Ukraine celebrated Purim this week with a series of events across the country, including in cities in and near the conflict zone. For Jews who are displaced or those remaining in separatist controlled areas, Purim will be marked by synagogue services, concerts, and other special holiday gatherings at JDC-supported Jewish community and social welfare centers. Additionally, JDC and its local volunteers will deliver mischloach manot (gift packages) to homebound elderly and displaced Jewish families. Purim events and gift package delivery - including the holding of humorous Purimspeils (traditional holiday parody plays) - are due to take … [Read more...]

Two Halves of a Whole: The Amalgamation of Marketing and Fundraising

By Maayan Jaffe Marketing and fundraising are two halves of a whole and when they don’t operate that way, explains fundraiser and consultant Janet Levine, the outcomes are less than they could be. Levine, a Los Angeles-based fund development consultant, recalls the pattern that emerged from her years working in advanced higher education: “Working together enabled us to create a powerful approach - for example, we wrote press releases on key stories; those stories were re-purposed into newsletter article; shared with our board members to help them be more effective messengers for us and served the focus of our direct mail appeals.” The need for telling stories and repetition of those stories in the marketplace has become ever more important to fund development in 2015, says Levine, because … [Read more...]

JDC Hesed Jewish Center in Kramatorsk Hit By Rocket Attack

Damage from an artillery attack is seen in a residential area of Kramatorsk, Feb. 10, 2015. Photo Voice of America.

The JDC-supported Hesed social welfare center in Kramatorsk was hit by two rockets earlier today. The rockets, which damaged the 9-story building where the center is located, did not explode as one hit the roof and another landed in the backyard. No injuries were immediately reported and the building has been evacuated. The attack was part of a barrage that landed near the city center, reportedly killing 5 and wounding 26. "This latest development is another stark reminder of the harsh conditions on the ground that impact the lives of the most vulnerable in Ukraine everyday," said JDC CEO Alan H. Gill. The Kramatorsk Hesed, which serves over 560 elderly and poor Jews and employs 42 people, is part of a network of 32 JDC-supported social welfare centers serving 60,000 needy Jews in more than … [Read more...]

In Aftermath of Paris Massacres, JDC & French Jewish Community Partner on Resiliency Programs

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New York, February 3, 2015 - In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher massacres, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is partnering with the French Jewish community on resiliency programs addressing trauma, crisis management training, and the relocation of at-risk Jews from troubled neighborhoods in the French capital. The multifaceted response, organized at the invitation of the French Jewish community, expands and upgrades JDC’s current work with French Jews which includes leadership skills seminars, community development best practice cultivation and promotion, and the inclusion of young French Jews in pan-European networking initiatives. Collaborating with the French Jewish community - a vibrant, self-sustaining, and multi-faceted population of more than 500,000 that … [Read more...]

Jewish Life in Romania under Ceausescu: Dealing with the Devil

Jewish Life in Romania 1978

By Liam Hoare In 1978, the Federation of Jewish Communities of the Socialist Republic of Romania produced a commemorative pamphlet, celebrating the three decades since Dr. Moses Rosen was elected the country’s Chief Rabbi. “The descendant of a brilliant rabbinical family whose genealogy goes back to Rashi,” the pamphlet says of Rosen, “he was habilitated as a rabbi by great contemporary gaons. His Eminence has made a considerable to the solution of problems facing Jews today.” Rosen is shown receiving an honor from Nicolae Ceaușescu “for his social and political activities.” The exultant, purple-hued language of this pamphlet is demonstrative of how, during the time of communism, Chief Rabbi Dr. Moses Rosen dominated Jewish community life in Romania. From 1963, Rosen was also President … [Read more...]