The Jerusalem Post
Gov’t signs $6 million deal with private family foundation, JDC

The government on Monday signed a $6 million deal with the US-based Ruderman Family Foundation and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to create new services aimed at improving the lives of Israel’s disabled population. Named Masad Nehuyot in Hebrew – it has yet to receive an official English name – the project involves a $2m. investment from each of the parties, both of which will be involved in the decision-making process along with representatives from the disabled community. “We have brought together many Jewish foundations to work with the Israeli government on projects here but none have been involved in such a high level of partnership,” Alan Gill, executive director of international relations for the JDC, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. “This is the first time we have created a national contractual partnership in this manner.”

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The Jewish Journal of San Antonio
Bar/Bat Mitzvah Family Retreat Rekindles Jewish Life in Siberia

Looking at Dasha Mazanik, one would never know that at one time her only Jewish experience was limited to what her grandmother, and sole guardian, Tamara shared. And yet today, Dasha, who was abandoned by her alcoholic mother after the death of her father, is an active participant in the JDC-suppoited Ulan-Ude JCC in Eastern Siberia, has taught Jewish tradition to youngsters, and participates in the JCC’s Shalom dance group. She even became a bat mitzvah in 2007. That transformation culminated this year in Dasha’s service as a madricha (counselor) at JDC’s week-long Bar/Bat Mitzvah Program for young Jews and their families in Krasnoyarsk, Siberia.

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The Jewish Journal of San Antonio
Young Jews from 20 Countries Gather for Leadership Training in Hungary

When Adir Bhastekar told his parents he had been offered the opportunity to leave the bustling, crowded streets of Mumbai this summer to travel to far-off Szarvas, Hungary, they told him to jump at the chance. They wanted him to join the more than 1,800 young Jews from around the world who woe experiencing a unique kind of Jewish community at the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation/American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) International Summer Camp in the serene forests of Southeastern Hungary.

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The Jewish Press
JDC Camp in Hungary Unites Young Jews

When 21-year-old Adir Bhastekar told his parents he had been offered the opportunity to leave the bustling, crowded streets of Mumbai this summer to travel to far-off Szarvas, Hungary, they told him to jump at the chance. They wanted him to join the more than 1,800 young Jews from around the world who woe experiencing a unique kind of Jewish community at the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation/American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) International Summer Camp in the serene forests of Southeastern Hungary.

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The Jewish Exponent
She Says ‘Da’ to a Rare Opportunity Abroad

Miriam Moody is working on her pronunciation of the consonant-laden word “Dnepropetrovsk” — the name of Ukraine’s third-largest city. Moody, who graduated in May from the University of Rochester and grew up in the Chestnut Hill section of Philadelphia, has reason to bone up on her Russian. Next week, the 22-year-old is set to leave for a year in the city that lies on the Dnieper River and has a population of roughly 60,000 Jews. Dnepropetrovsk has been on the radar for some; it’s been a sister city of the Boston Jewish community for 18 years. Moody was one of 10 volunteers nationwide — and the only one from the Philadelphia area — to be selected as an American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Jewish Service Corps Fellow. According to the JDC’s Web site, the program is a chance “for active, enthusiastic, knowledgeable Jews to serve and take part in the life of a Jewish community overseas.”

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The Jewish Advocate
Ruderman aids Israel’s disabled

A Boston-based philanthropy, the Israeli government, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee are launching Masad Disabilities, the first centralized Israeli organization with the authority to implement nationwide policies to serve disabled Israelis. “They have children, they have families, they have full lives, many serve in the army, yet they need special services,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation.

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The Jewish Week
Picture of Young Innovators Emerging

The business of grooming and funding young Jewish social entrepreneurs and innovators – essentially the search for the next big Jewish idea – is now a big one. The ROI (Return on Investment) five-day conference held last month in Ramat Gan, Israel, was proof if this international phenomenon. Jeremy Applebaum [an ROI participant], a Kansas native and real estate entrepreneur is running a series of events aimed at introducing Kansas City Jews to the work of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

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The Jerusalem Post
Learning on the Job

Corporate social responsibility benefits everyone involved. Just ask the employees of Applied Materials, a global high-tech company that decided to do more than just drink coffee at the Aroma caf̩ located in its Rehovot office building. In June 2003, Applied Materials opened a non-profit caf̩ in partnership with Aroma Israel, the Ashalim organization for children at risk and the Havayot community center of Rehovot. The branch, called Aroma Applied, celebrated its sixth anniversary on June 24 and employs about 45-50 youth at risk, typically between 16 and 18. The caf̩’s work-training and educational programs equip these teenagers with professional skills, work experience and a supportive environment. Applied Materials was initially approached by Ashalim’s youth entrepreneurship program, It’s a Deal [a JDC-Ashalim program], which wanted to set up a small business run by youth at risk.

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The American Jewish World
Beth El Congregants Experience Cuba

The exterior is impressive: a grand staircase leads to doors decorated with symbols of the Twelve Tribes, which, in turn, rest under an enormous Mount Sinai-like arch. Ascending the stairs in the late afternoon sun, it indeed felt like we were approaching holy ground – the famed Patronato Synagogue in Havana, Cuba. And after 40 years in which Judaism was not practiced, it slowly making a comeback. An entire generation of Jews – from 1959 to the 1990s – was lost, but through the heroic efforts of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a beneficiary of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation and the United Jewish Fund and Council of St,. Paul, Cuba Jews are rediscovering their heritage – and they are embracing it.

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The New York Jewish Week
A Wide Angle On Compassion

The Fortress is a nondescript warehouse building in Long Island City, Queens, where corporations, institutions and individuals store irreplaceable documents and works of art. Inside, past the security check and down a series of spotless corridors, you arrive at the climate-controlled room where for the last five years Peter Goldberg has been digitizing the photographic archives of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The Joint has almost 100,000 photographs in its collection, of which 24,126 had been scanned by the day I visited the Fortress early in June. With his present technology Goldberg can scan 7,000 pictures a year, so there is plenty of work yet to be done.

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Jewish Community Voice
Federation leaders hear firsthand how dollars are spent overseas

Rick Goldstein, Federation immediate past president, also addressed the leadership briefing about his experiences at the recent American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) Ambassador Circle conference. The JDC’s mission focuses on three areas: rescue of Jews at risk; relief of Jews in need and renewal of Jewish life in communities where the Jewish population has been significantly diminished or where residents are in dire need. The JDC often fulfills its mission by establishing partnerships with public organizations to provide programs and services to address these areas. “I had the privilege of seeing first-hand the incredible impact the JDC has on the lives of the small, mostly elderly, Romanian Jewish community,” said Goldstein.

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Jewish Community Voice
JDC provides local student with hands-on Israel experience

For Jews living anywhere but Israel, we can only imagine what it is like to be whisked away to a dreary bomb shelter when sirens signal that incoming enemy rockets are hitting our town. Many of these shelters, often occupied for several days, are a far cry from the comforts of home. For Cherry Hill native Kate Herron, helping to make a bomb shelter a more pleasant place was truly an invigorating experience. Herron recently participated in a 10-day, groundbreaking mission to Israel sponsored by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), an overseas partner of the Jewish Federation that is supported each year through the Federation Annual Campaign.

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New Jersey Jewish News
An Uncommon Bond

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is set to dedicate its first youth village in Rwanda. Modeled after Israeli youth villages built to serve children who lost their parents in the Holocaust, the Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village will eventually house 500 high school-age students orphaned by the Rwandan genocide. “The village is a place where children can heal, experience renewal, and prepare for the responsibilities of adulthood,” said JDC’s William Recant. “Agahozo-Shalom is a special project for us based on a shared bond of survival.”

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JTA
Cuban Jews ambivalent about possible thaw in U.S.-Cuba ties

The recent thaw in relations between Cuba and the United States is being greeted with caution by some Jews in Cuba. In April, the Obama administration announced it was moving to ease restrictions on American travel to Cuba and money transfers to the island. Cuba has approximately 1,500 Jews and nine synagogues, three of which are in Havana. The JDC has a permanent office in Cuba that helps runs cultural, educational and religious programs, including religious education for children and youth, bar mitzvah prep courses, Shabbat meal assistance, youth camps and activities for the elderly. It even has a drugstore. JDC’s executive vice president, Steve Schwager, said he was not concerned that the personal ties would suffer if travel restrictions were eased.”I am confident that Jewish interest and visits with Cuban Jews will not be diminished by political changes,” he said.

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JTA
Ramat Hasharon, Beersheba lead the way in youth volunteers

The recent thaw in relations between Cuba and the United States is being greeted with caution by some Jews in Cuba. In April, the Obama administration announced it was moving to ease restrictions on American travel to Cuba and money transfers to the island. Cuba has approximately 1,500 Jews and nine synagogues, three of which are in Havana. The JDC has a permanent office in Cuba that helps runs cultural, educational and religious programs, including religious education for children and youth, bar mitzvah prep courses, Shabbat meal assistance, youth camps and activities for the elderly. It even has a drugstore. JDC’s executive vice president, Steve Schwager, said he was not concerned that the personal ties would suffer if travel restrictions were eased.”I am confident that Jewish interest and visits with Cuban Jews will not be diminished by political changes,” he said.

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Jewish News of Greater Phoenix
JDC: Aiding World’s Needy Jews

An Interview with Steven Schwager “The critical issue is that as bad as things are here, we are a global people, and we’re all responsible one for the other, and if we don’t take care of our brethren overseas, we won’t be a global people anymore.” So says Steve Schwager, the CEO and executive director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (better known as the JDC or “the Joint”). He was in Phoenix recently to press the case that, as tempting as it is to turn the focus inward in these trying times, the American Jewish community should not lose sight of the growing needs of Jews around the world. Schwager, who joined JDC in 1989 as chief operating officer, took on his current role in 2002. The Joint aids poor and struggling Jewish communities in 70 countries around the world. “You can’t manage in 70 countries sitting in New York,” he says, so he and his staff are generally on the road about 130 days a year.

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The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Cookies and Camaraderie

Elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union are sometimes known as “double victims,” terrorized by the Nazis and persecuted under Communism. But nearly two decades after the Soviet regime’s fall, many have reclaimed their faith and are rebuilding their lives around Jewish traditions. A New York charity is helping them do so. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee spends $120-million each year, or roughly 40 percent of its budget, to assist impoverished Jews in Russia, Ukraine, and nearby countries. “These people were lost in the fall of the Soviet Union,” says Steven Schwager, the nonprofit group’s chief executive. “When Communism ended, state support of people and taking care of the elderly fell off the table.”

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The Chronicle of Philanthropy
A Rwandan Charity Has Roots in the Holocaust’s Aftermath

When Rwandans commemorate the 15th anniversary this month, a group of students on a hilltop village in eastern Rwanda will be remembering in their own way. The 125 teenagers are students at Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, a home for orphans of the genocide. The village is modeled after an Israeli community built in 1953 to serve children who lost their parents in the Holocaust. Agahozo was started by Anne Heyman, a former lawyer in New York. She recruited the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a New York nonprofit group to which she had donated in the past, to take on the project.

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The Miami Herald
Rwandan boarding school is place for orphans to dry their tears

Fifteen years ago, the world was stunned by images of Nile River tributaries jammed with human bodies, victims of an ethnic bloodbath that claimed a mind-boggling one million lives in roughly 100 days. Tuesday, on a rural mountaintop, 125 orphans and their adult mentors will stop to weep for loved ones lost and for families and communities ripped apart.The children are students at the three-month-old Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village, a high school set in the Rwandan highlands that models itself after an Israeli village for Holocaust survivors. Founders Anne Heyman and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee stress that the $13 million project is much more than an orphanage or boarding school. The students here are adopted for life.

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