The Jewish Federation System: A Conversation for the Future

By Denis Braham and Lee Wunsch For more than 100 years, the Jewish Federations have been at the epicenter of the most significant events in the modern history of the Jewish people. From the birth and nascent years of the State of Israel through the liberation of Soviet and Ethiopian Jewry, the Jewish Federations represented and embodied the spirit of K’lal Yisrael and Am Echad. Through the force of their leadership and philanthropic prowess, this national collective of North American Jewish communities propelled American Jews forward. The golden years of the Jewish Federation system were an inspirational and visionary era led by individuals whose lives were shaped by the Six Day War and many transformational Jewish events of the last fifty years. Jewish Federations embodied the very spirit of … [Read more...]

The Ghosts of JFNA Past, Present and What Yet Might Be: A Call for Submissions

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), formerly the United Jewish Communities (UJC), is an umbrella organization representing over 150 Jewish Federations and 300 independent Jewish communities across North America. JFNA was formed over a decade ago by the merger of the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), Council of Jewish Federations, and the United Israel Appeal. According to JFNA, they provide fundraising, organization assistance, training, and overall leadership to the Jewish Federations and communities throughout the United States and Canada. ***** Writing in eJewish Philanthropy last week, Dr. Hal M. Lewis, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership, speaking of his own institution said, "The challenges confronting American Jewish … [Read more...]

Jewish Agency Presents NIS 50 Million Aid Package to Residents of Southern Israel

The Jewish Agency for Israel has developed a NIS 50 million ($13.22 million) aid package to help the communities of Israel's south recover from this summer's hostilities, thanks to contributions from the Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod-UIA, and other donors. The aid package includes a series of programs aimed at enabling the communities of southern Israel, particularly those closest to the border with Gaza, to expand their population bases and support a range of groups with an investment of NIS 25 million. It also includes NIS 25 million worth of aid extended to the residents of the South during the summer's hostilities. The aid package being developed includes scholarships for local students, assistance to local businesses, grants for victims of rocket attacks, the … [Read more...]

Southern Israel Comes Back to Life Thanks to the Jewish People

Children from southern Israel participate in a special summer camp run by The Jewish Agency for Israel's Fund for Victims of Terror. Photo credit: Sarah Bronson for The Jewish Agency for Israel.

By Rany Trainin At the conclusion of Simchat Torah, I had the opportunity to experience a truly moving event. More than one thousand people spanning four generations, all of them members and residents of Kibbutz Nahal Oz in the past and the present, gathered to celebrate the end of the kibbutz's sixtieth birthday year. As residents of the Gaza border region, the kibbutz members also took the opportunity to mark a return to normalcy after a turbulent and difficult summer. As Deputy Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel and a longtime resident of the region, I was overcome with emotion upon being asked to greet the gathering on behalf of the Jewish world. The event took place thanks to the support of The Jewish Agency and the entire Jewish people, whose contributions made the emotional and … [Read more...]

Stop the Sirens Campaign Allocates $16.8m for Current Needs

Kids try to stay positive while a rocket warning keeps them in a Sderot bomb shelter.

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 … [Read more...]

The Jewish World Responds: Stop the Sirens Campaign

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The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), in partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), has launched Stop the Sirens. The campaign, initiated with a $10 million goal, is now looking for $30 million in commitments to deal with immediate and critical needs. eJP has been informed that all federations are making an effort to participate. As of July 24th, $8,500,000 has been allocated to specific projects proposed by JFNA's major partners (The Jewish Agency, JDC, World ORT and the Israel Trauma Coalition) and the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) and Masorti movement in Israel. Shortly before Shabbat, eJP spoke at length with Heschel Raskas, the chair of JFNA's Allocations Committee, to both understand the process and … [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...]

The Jewish Agency Appears Marginalized in Aliyah

The Jerusalem Post has obtained a draft copy of the proposed new aliyah initiative. This according to a just published article in the paper. The draft appears to confirm a number of items previously published in the media, organizational denials non-withstanding, including: The establishment of a new corporation to be owned jointly by the four “national institutions, ” Keren Hayesod, KKL-JNF, The Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Organization. The initiative would initially be funded by a grant from KKL-JNF for 100 million shekel. But the bombshell, now clearly spelled out by the JPost article, is: "Under the plan, the Ministry of Aliya and Immigrant Absorption would [have] four seats on an eight person steering committee that would oversee the new corporation. The Director General of the … [Read more...]