JDC Steps Up Emergency Ukraine Response

Destruction in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, near Donetsk; photo by Rachel Calman/JDC.

As the crisis in Ukraine worsens, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has stepped up its emergency response as more Jews flee cities in eastern Ukraine and critical aid is delivered to those who stay behind in areas of unrest. The organization has been providing a robust emergency response for Ukraine’s most vulnerable Jews since the crisis began. JDC has provided a comprehensive aid program to more than 1,000 Jews who have fled violence in some areas of eastern Ukraine and found new homes in places like Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Odessa and even Rostov in Russia. This includes accommodation and rental subsidies, food and clothing, Jewish community connections like family summer camps, and post-trauma counseling services. Through its network of Hesed social welfare … [Read more...]

Szarvas @ 25: A Jewish Camp, Fueling Europe’s Jewish Engine

I Love Szarvas

By Diego Ornique For Europe’s Jewish communities, facing rising anti-Semitism and economic decline, the last three decades of achievement in rebuilding Jewish life could be easily forgotten. But in rural Hungary, more than 1,300 young Jews from twenty plus countries are enthusiastically exploring Jewish culture, customs, and history all while playing sports, gathering around bonfires, and raiding the canteen for candy and ice cream. This seeming oasis - business as usual during the 25th anniversary summer session of the JDC-Lauder International Jewish Summer Camp at Szarvas - stands in the face of those who doubt a Jewish future in Europe. So what is it about the Szarvas experience that is emblematic of the revival of Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe, especially after the decimation … [Read more...]

In Israel, What Community Means

Alan Gill July 2014

by Alan H. Gill July 29, 2014: As the war against Hamas continues - with more lives tragically lost, continuous rocket attacks, terrorist infiltration attempts, and ceasefires that come and go - I want to share with you three scenes from the last several days here that underscore, for me, the meaning of community and resilience during wartime ***************************** As any of you have been to Tel Aviv know, parking is a difficult business, to say the least. If you don't have a private parking space in your apartment building, you often have to circle on the streets for a long time to find a spot nearby. So when I was walking down the street late last night in Tel Aviv, I saw a car that looked like it had been abandoned, covered in rotting fruit that had fallen from the tree above. I … [Read more...]

Delivering Hope to Jews Fleeing, and Staying, in Eastern Ukraine

Even amidst the ongoing crisis, a little boy finds comfort in a new stuffed animal (May 2014); courtesy JDC.

by Ofer Glanz When an endless stream of breaking news competes for our limited time and attention, some stories fall between the cracks - like that of the war in Eastern Ukraine, afire with constant shelling, electricity cuts, shortages of food and medicine, and widespread unrest. Three Jewish women’s lives were cut short last month in this region. Did you know? Svetlana and Anna Sitnikov, a 57-year-old grandmother and her 31-year-old daughter, were killed by artillery fire when they went shopping for shoes in Lugansk, a city fought over by rebel and government forces. Larisa Faschuk, 75, died on her way to buy groceries in a separate shelling incident in the same town a few days later. They joined the growing number of civilian casualties in Ukraine’s ongoing crisis, a terrible toll … [Read more...]

From HS Students, to Foundations, to Global Organizations, the Jewish World Mobilizes

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 … [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...]

The Jewish World Responds

A child victim of terror participates in a Jewish-Agency-run respite camp; photo courtesy The Jewish Agency.

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. Following is a partial list of initiatives underway (culled from list-servs of the various organizations). JDC / The Joint Since the crisis began, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) immediately activated its network of programs for the most vulnerable Israelis to quickly ensure the needs and safety of the elderly, people with disabilities, and children and youth throughout the country as rockets rain down from Gaza. JDC’s emergency response includes: For the Elderly: JDC’s Day Centers for the Elderly in Netivot, Merchavim, Sdot Negev, and Rahat delivering … [Read more...]

Jewish Life Takes to the Streets at Hungary’s Celebrated Judafest

Judafest 2014

An outdoor street festival with over 9000 visitors. Art projects for children and senior citizens. A musical performance by a choir composed solely of Holocaust survivors. Kitschy jewelery, books, Judaica, organizational tables, kosher food and more. And a "fun run." It could have been almost anywhere. But it wasn't. It was in Budapest - a city where many would not have expected such a public celebration - in a country where some say Jewish life is mostly finished. Yet on a recent humid Sunday, with the sun shining bright, Kazinczy Street in the historic Jewish quarter - dubbed the Street of Culture (a Kultúra utcája) - came alive as thousands joined together to celebrate the richness of Jewish life that exists in Hungary today. The photos say it all. Judafest is the … [Read more...]