What would it be like to be a minority within a minority in Israel? Abbass Abbass, a legally blind Israeli Arab, knows firsthand—but he prefers to characterize himself as a person with unique abilities rather than “disabled.” And that perspective and indefatigable spirit led him to found Al-Manarah (Lighthouse) Association to improve the lives Arabs with disabilities in Israel.
This week the Decade of Roma Inclusion initiative gives JDC a shout-out for its Campaign to Give Roma an Equal Chance Against Cancer in Hungary. Through its Women’s Health Empowerment Program, JDC, in partnership with the Open Society Roma Initiatives and Susan G. Komen for the Cure, has put on 40 health days throughout the country since 2007 and provided over 4,500 underprivileged women (60% of them Roma) with breast cancer screenings.
JDC-Israel Team Swaps Expertise on Serving the Disabled
Our hats off to the JDC delegation of Israeli experts and government officials serving the disabled who visited New York City and Boston last week to meet with their American counterparts and tour local facilities and programs. The visit was an outreach effort of Israel Unlimited, a pioneering partnership of JDC, the Ruderman Family Foundation, and the Government of Israel to meet the needs of Israel’s 700,000 disabled adults and improve their ability to live independently and integrate into Israeli society.
It’s Showtime: Theatre for Social Development Helps Haitians Heal
While quake-shattered Haiti still has many challenges ahead, the road to recovery has already been speckled with creative initiatives to help mend the lives of those affected by the disaster. With JDC support, members of the Bond Street Theatre (BST) company recently traveled to Port-au-Princeto develop the Theatre for Social Development: Haiti program. BST’s unique model, specializing in non-verbal street performances, has garnered social improvement and positively impacted the well-being and life skills of children and in crisis-hit communities in South America, Israel, China, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Myanmar, and beyond. We’re proud to say that JDC has previously supported BST’s work in the Balkans!
We’re thrilled for current Jointnik and former JDC Jewish Service Corps Fellow Gila Ward Menda, who logged on to JDC’s recently launched Our Shared Legacy site to discover a piece of her own family history. The site allows visitors to search a database of over 500,000 names and photos from 14 countries where JDC worked to help Jews in need during and following World War II. Gila intuited that the newly accessible trove might hold records of her grandfather’s experience during the Holocaust or his voyage to America. Find out what she uncovered on the JDC: In Service blog. And explore Our Shared Legacy for yourself to see if a piece of your family story might be just a mouse click away.
It may be Next Year in Jerusalem but this year, a not-to-miss seder graced Tallinn, Estonia. Esther Burson, the JDC Jewish Service Corps Fellow serving that community, brought together local teen volunteers and her JSC Fellow peers from Argentina and Israel for a unique yet traditional Pesach celebration.
New JCC in Kharkov Shines Light on Growing Community
When communism fell and the Soviet Union broke apart, Kharkov’s Jewish community was faced with the huge challenge of finding all of its members scattered and hidden by decades of anti-semitism. No one could have imagined 20 years later there would be a community 40,000-strong and in need of a new JCC to serve its thriving membership.
It’s been said that vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture. And recently we teamed up with the Israeli humanitarian organization Eye From Zion and MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, to actualize just that.
Apply Now for JDC’s 2011-2012 Jewish Service Corps
’Tis the season! We’re excited to announce that JDC is now accepting applications for its 2011-2012 Jewish Service Corps (JSC) through March 15, 2011. This unparalleled fellowship is a year-long, paid, professional opportunity for recent college graduates and young professionals to directly engage with JDC’s global mission and to turn the Jewish value of responsibility into action through international service.
We are excited to share a White House blogpost recognizing JDC’s work in Haiti and our partnership with USAID (the US Agency for International Development). The post, penned by Joshua DuBois, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, follows the one year anniversary of the tragic January 12th, 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Groundbreaking Agreement on Center for Disabled in Serbia
Last week, as the European Union (EU) ratified the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities—the first time in history the EU has become a party to an international human rights treaty—JDC celebrated its own small victory promoting these rights in neighboring Serbia.
You may know–or may be–the next Ralph I. Goldman Fellow! If so, there’s still time to submit a letter of intent for this premier fellowship opportunity in global Jewish service with JDC, the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization.
Four years ago in the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War, JDC – with the support of the JFNA Israel Emergency Campaign and others – launched its New Galilee Initiative, a broad endeavor to bring long-term strength, resilience and preparedness to Israel’s north.
We caught up with a group of evacuee families in temporary accommodation in Neve Yam who had fled the ahead of the fire that ended up burning their homes. We were impressed and moved by their hope and optimism despite all they had lost. One evacuee, Niv Horovitz, told us that they didn’t want to ask for help, “but sometimes you need to.” The goal isn’t just to fix the damage “but to make things better.”
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