From the CEO: In Jewish Europe, the Present Mirrors JDC's Past

Alan H. Gill

– Chief Executive Officer

CEO Alan Gill shares his JNS oped on how JDC’s economic recovery work in European Jewish communities today reflects 100 years of impact on Jewish life.

As we start the first few weeks of 2014, there is a palpable sense of excitement in the air: JDC’s 100th anniversary is here and we have much to be proud of over that long history. Our accomplishments — ten decades of life-saving care for millions of Jews and others in need and the kindling of Jewish life around the world — were recently highlighted at our Centennial Celebrations in Washington DC by the Vice President, Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary, House Majority Leader, and CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer, among many others.

It is a time to reflect on the impact of our service to the Jewish people and Israel. And it's a privilege to lead an organization that has done so much to improve countless lives.

But as I have often said before, JDC can never rest on its laurels. And for us, this milestone is a signpost pointing us forward to all the work that remains to be done, especially in these highly challenging and uncertain times. That’s why we're focusing on building and fostering strong, independent, and mutually responsible Jewish communities and cultivating a new generation of Jewish leaders around the world. And we will set a course for the future that is inspired, action-oriented, and in service of the principles that have driven us since our founding.

In that spirit, I want to share with you my JNS (Jewish News Service) op-ed that was just published today on JDC’s economic recovery work in Europe. In many ways, this work is “back-to-basics” for JDC and historically resonant with JDC's interventions in our earliest years when we worked to train poor European Jews in new skills and supported communities devastated by poverty and war. Today, we are partnering with local Jewish communities — in places like Greece, Bulgaria, and the Baltics — to ensure that the economic downturn that has plagued the continent since 2008 does not drag them under. And to guarantee that for a Jew hard-hit by these tough financial times, their community is a central address for aid.

This work is expertly executed by JDC’s extraordinarily dedicated professionals, using a model that we developed in Argentina for its Jewish community during that country’s economic collapse. As I write in my op-ed, this effort is a testament to our 100-year fulfillment of the precept that kol Yisrael arvevim zeh la zeh — all Jews are responsible for one another.

Until next time,
Alan H. Gill



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