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...]

From Nursing Home to Stay at Home

Community members make a toast at the St. Louis NORC; photo courtesy St. Louis NORC.

From nursing home to stay at home: Jewish organizations try to shift senior living by Michele Alperin For many Jewish organizations, it has become clear that older adults are happier if they can live independently and “age in place,” in their own homes rather than in nursing homes. “It has been a longstanding priority of Jewish federations and affiliated agencies to encourage aging in place, the feeling being that when older adults age in place, as distinct from being in an institution, they are able to live healthier and fuller lives,” says William Daroff, senior vice president of public policy and director of the Washington Office of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). It is also more cost-effective to age in place because medical costs skyrocket for seniors who … [Read more...]

Major Jewish Organizations Give More Away to Telemarketers Than They Keep


The latest “Pennies for Charity” report issued by New York State Attorney General's office shows that - once again - for-profit telemarketers operating in New York during 2012 retained the bulk of donations raised on behalf of charities. … [Read more...]

Jewish Communal Service: A Field for Professionals and Volunteer Leaders

Over the last few years a number of senior appointments at Federations and other communal agencies have been filled not by trained professionals but by active, involved, and committed volunteer leaders. This development has spurred much discussion among professionally educated and trained communal professionals on the direction(s) of Jewish communal organizations. When they entered Jewish communal service, most professionals envisioned that they would make a career of working with agencies and their professionally trained staff and their volunteer leadership. Few gave any thought to their being in competition for paid positions with those people who occupied volunteer leadership positions. It was understood that there were parallel leadership tracks for professionals and volunteer leaders. Now … [Read more...]

Five Federations to Participate in New Disability Employment Initiative

The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) are joining with the Ruderman Family Foundation to place young adults with disabilities in internships and fellowships at five Federations as well as in JFNA’s Washington office. Through the Ruderman Family Foundation Opportunity Initiative, each of the five federations will lead its own search to fill positions specially designed for their individual offices. In addition to JFNA’s Washington, DC office, the following federations have been selected to participate in this new initiative: The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore; The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles; the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ; the Minneapolis Jewish Federation; and UJA-Federation of New York. Each of the five participating federations has … [Read more...]

Change Does Not Always Mean Progress: Looking at JFNA Today


I am concerned that the Federation system has been and is being weakened by an approach that seeks to protect vested interests instead of initiating and developing ways for Federations, individual and collectively, to meet the challenges of the local and international Jewish community in the 21st century. by Stephen G. Donshik Over the last few years I have written a number of postings about the status and needs of the North American Jewish Federation system and the umbrella organization of the local Federations, now called the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). Although at times I have been critical both of the Federation system and the JFNA, I am a staunch supporter of them and their central role in strengthening the Jewish community as a whole and in meeting the needs of individual … [Read more...]

We Have Proven Good at Talking the Talk. Now it’s Time to Walk the Walk.

Ben Avrum Jerusalem

We are fond of using timeless quotes at conferences and gatherings talking about the importance of change ... Yet, our basic playbook is the same today as it was 15 years ago. How we do business hasn’t changed. by Keith Greenwald The Pew study is not “breaking news.” It is the latest in a long series of studies, reports, white papers and conversations to highlight these trends. Declining donor numbers in both absolute terms and as a percentage of the community population was an established issue when I first got involved over 15 years ago. Assimilation, intermarriage, generational values, etc etc were the known challenges (I could say excuses) back then and still seem to be today. As I read the commentary and opinions on the Pew study two main questions jump to mind: Why is the … [Read more...]