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


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...]

In Eastern Ukraine, Glimmers of Hope Emerge

Winter relief 2 Ukraine

From JDC's Field Blog As Ukraine’s crisis continues, marked this past weekend by dozens of deaths in Sea of Azov coast city of Mariupol, JDC doubled down on its efforts to care for the most vulnerable Jews still living in the conflict-laden eastern part of the country. As indiscriminate artillery fire slammed into a market, schools, homes, and shops in the city, JDC’s local Hesed social welfare center, in cooperation with JDC’s office in Dnepropetrovsk, engaged in round-the-clock monitoring of the nearly 600 Jews it aids in the city as well as the general Jewish population. Among the poor elderly and families JDC cares for, homecare, medicine, and food services continue uninterrupted, and new needs that have emerged after the weekend attack are being addressed. As an example, JDC will … [Read more...]

Refugees Themselves, East Ukraine Chabad Emissaries Strive On

A Chanukah meal for families in Mariupol; its Jewish community, including a kindergarten and daily minyan at synagogue, continue to function despite the war.

By Dovid Margolin [This is the second of two articles on Jewish life in war-torn eastern Ukraine. The first, "Scattered Among States, Donetsk Jewish Community Inches Into 2015," can be found here.] The fighting was heavy when Maya and her family fled this summer from Lugansk, Ukraine. When she recently returned after three months in Moscow, her pantry was empty. Hungry neighbors had raided her home, taking any food products they could get their hands on. Canned goods, preserves, tea; all of it was gone. Nothing was spared, not even a few bunches of dill she had been drying to use for seasoning. “The only thing left in her kitchen were two forks,” recalls Svetlana, a friend of Maya’s who works for the Lugansk Jewish community, and asked that she be identified by a pseudonym due to the … [Read more...]

JDC & Mafteach Host International Conference on Haredi Employment

Experts from around the world are participating in a 3-day international conference in Jerusalem this week focusing on empowering Haredi Jews through employment and job training. The event - hosted by the Mafteach employment center network, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), and the government of Israel ­ will offer Haredi community leaders, educators, politicians, and employers a venue to discuss ways of reducing poverty in Haredi society by helping individuals find jobs while taking into account religious sensitivities. Topics on the conference’s agenda include Yeshiva accreditation, culturally sensitive employment screenings and a comprehensive examination of the future of Haredi employment policy. Participants will also go on site visits where they will meet with Haredi … [Read more...]