JDC Joins Google Cultural Institute, Shines New Light on Jewish History

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) joined other prestigious museums, archives, and organizations with the launch of its own Google Cultural Institute page, bringing its renowned Jewish historical collection online to a wider audience. The includes close to 70 items from the 102 year-old humanitarian organization’s Global Archives including photographs, documents, artifacts, film, and audio, along with two abridged exhibits based on the centennial exhibit, “I Live. Send Help.,” originally presented at the New-York Historical Society in 2014.
“Our collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute affords JDC the opportunity to reach even wider groups of people who may have connections to JDC’s historic work over the last century or have interest in the harrowing journey of the Jewish people during this period. By significantly expanding our digital presence and becoming part of a family of institutions known the world over for their legendary holdings, we are ensuring that our efforts to rescue those in danger and provide relief for the neediest are given new significance and attention,” said Linda Levi, Director of the JDC Global Archives.

Highlights of the collection include a letter from Albert Einstein offering thanks and praise to JDC for helping French children escape to America during the Holocaust; a photo of artist Marc Chagall at a JDC-funded children’s colony in Malakhovka, Russia, where he taught art; a pair of eyeglasses held together by string, wire, and rubber bands, with the original prescription from 1947, owned by an elderly Jewish man who did not have the glasses replaced until the 1990’s when JDC came to his aid; and rare excerpts from JDC films detailing the plight of Jews during WWII.

Officially debuted in 2011 on the heels of the Google Art Project, the Google Cultural Institute enables global visitors to seamlessly navigate through content divided by key categories, scroll through select time periods, zoom in on ancient treasures, and take 360 degree virtual tours of museum and heritage sites – with solely an Internet connection. Users can also leverage the Google search tool on the site to browse broadly through projects, artists, mediums, colors, art movements, as well as historical events and figures. Partner institutions of the Google Cultural Institute, who have made their exhibits and archival content available online, include the British Museum, Yad Vashem, the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, and the Museum of the City of New York.

Boasting one of the most important collections in the world for the study of modern Jewish history, JDC Archives comprises the historical records of JDC, which has worked overseas with Jewish communities and others in distress since WWI. With records of activity in over 90 countries from 1914 to present day, the archives includes over 3 miles of documents, 100,000 photographs, a research library of more than 6,000 books, 1,100 audio recordings including oral histories, and a collection of 2,500 videos. For more information, .

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JDC’s Social Impact Hackathon Focuses on Israeli Social Gaps

Microsoft, HP, and Other Tech Firms, Together with Programmers and Designers Partner to Help Vulnerable Populations

In an organizational first, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Israel (JDC-Israel) teamed up with tech giants Microsoft and HP, among other leaders in the tech space, for the inaugural JDC Social Impact Hackathon to benefit vulnerable Israelis. Bringing together 100 programmers and designers, as well as 30 mentors from 7 global tech companies, the Social Impact Hackathon leveraged state-of-the-art technology to create apps and programs to solve challenges faced by at-risk Israeli populations like the elderly and people with disabilities. While over 95 social impact ideas were originally gathered, 21 were chosen to be developed, with three receiving top prizes. Participants worked in teams on tech solutions evaluated by judges from JDC, the tech industry, and the NGO sector. JNext -; a joint project of the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA), the Ministry of Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs, and the Municipality of Jerusalem, which aim is to strengthen and empower the technological ecosystem in Jerusalem -; was another key partner for the event. “One of the hallmarks of JDC’s work in Israel is channeling cutting-edge innovation in a variety of sectors, like the booming tech industry, to ensure a better life for Israelis whose needs aren’t met by established social services,” said JDC CEO David M. Schizer. “We are privileged to join with leaders in this field, and our government of Israel partners, to harness the enthusiasm of participants and make Israel a better place for those living on the edges of society.”
First prize went to Connected Community, an app for managers of senior communities to efficiently follow-up with clients, prioritize goals, and manage emergencies. Second prize went to Yad2All, a platform for people with disabilities to access rental apartments via the Web. And third prize went to IRemember, an app to help the elderly track daily medication schedules and family members’ birthdays. The winning groups will continue the development process via the new social entrepreneurship hub powered by JDC-Israel and the National Insurance Institute, with the potential to be adopted by JDC on a larger scale as well. “We saw some great ventures that hold potential for serving populations in need and can truly become valuable tools for JDC professionals in their work at the Social Impact Hackathon. The atmosphere enabled everyone to engage in open, non-formal efforts to identify real life needs and find matching solutions that can solve their target population’s needs,” said Elion Tirosh, an early stage investor, tech entrepreneur, and JDC Board member, who served as a judge. Additional judges of the Social Impact Hackathon included: Professor Mimi Ajzenstadt, dean of the Paul Berwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Gali Konky, vice president of product management at LivePerson; Yossi Tamir, director general of JDC-Israel; Professor Eugene Kandel, CEO of Start-Up Nation Central; Ilan Cohn, Ph.D, patent attorney, and senior partner at Reinhold Cohn and Partners Patent Attorney; and Dr. Michal Tsur, co-founder, president and CMO at Kaltura. “Israel is considered to be the start-up nation as well as one of the countries with the worst inequality in the OECD. Combining JDC-Israel’s social innovation with Israel’s brightest technological minds is what JDC’s Social Impact Hackathon was all about. We must incorporate cutting-edge technology into the planning and development of social services, whether in Israel or worldwide. We achieved some great solutions during this Hackathon-some of which we might even implement on a large scale. There are tons of new technologies out there and it’s up to us to make better use of them for Israel’s most vulnerable populations,” said Yossi Tamir, director general of JDC-Israel. JDC-Israel partners with the government of Israel and the NGO sector to create innovative strategies, solutions, and pilot programs to combat the country’s biggest social challenges and empower Israel’s most vulnerable groups.

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2nd European Jewish Resilience Conference: Staying in Place, in Strength

JDC, EJCJ, and EJC gather more than 150 European Jewish leaders to plan for future

In the face of continued challenges for Europe’s Jews, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) concluded yesterday its 2 annual conference in Barcelona fostering Jewish community resilience and planning for the future. Dozens of Jewish leaders, experts, and professionals from across the continent took part in the two-day gathering focusing on training in governmental and intergroup relations, security and preparedness, and communications best practices. The conference was co-organized with the European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC), the European Jewish Congress, and supported by UJA-Federation of New York.
“A year after the horrors of the Bataclan terror attack, and despite many remaining challenges, it was an encouraging sign of the tenacity of Europe’s Jews to find community leaders and professionals, thought leaders and experts from across a vast spectrum of preparedness practices, forging ahead to secure a future for Jewish Europe,” said Diego Ornique, JDC Regional Director for Europe. “We are proud to partner with ECJC, the European Jewish Congress, UJA-Federation of New York, the Pillar Foundation, and so many others in an effort which offers working solutions for tensions on the continent, fosters stronger Jewish communities, and further invests in Jewish life, an enduring strength at difficult times.”
Keynote speakers included renowned historian and Padeia Director Fania Oz-Salzberger, who spoke about Jewish tradition’s teachings on resilience and community survival, and Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, who focused on extremist trends in Europe and the west, the Jewish response to these movements, and the need for societies to re-dedicate themselves to enlightened, democratic values.
“Working on the different aspects of resilience should be the task of every community wanting to guarantee their permanence on the map of European Jewry. By bringing together over 150 leaders from communities, we achieved the first goal of making them partners in the process, so together we can dedicate our future efforts and energies in providing them with the tools required to invest in a strong presence and ensure their vibrancy and uniqueness so that “community” can be experienced by all local Jews. ECJC was proud of being one of the drivers of this conference with JDC, our strongest partner in the field,” said Benjamin Albalas, of Greece, and President of ECJC.
A conversation with Katharina von Schnurbein, the coordinator on combating Anti-Semitism from the European Union, and a special panel on the French Jewish community -; including Rabbi Delphine Horvilleur of the Liberal Jewish Movement of France),
Yonathan Arfi, Vice-President and Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), and Jean-FranÇois Guthmann, President of OSE, the French Jewish welfare organization -; contributed to larger conversations on major trends in Europe.
Among others, David Gidron, a social psychologist and expert in community resilience and crisis management, provided resilience best practices to community leadership in attendance, and Rabbi Robert (Bob) Kaplan, Director of the Center For Community Leadership of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, led sessions on partnership building and conflict prevention from an intergroup relations standpoint. Adam Cannon, a UK media expert and community leader from London, offered sessions on public relations and communications best practices for Jewish communities finding themselves at the center of media stories.

Among the delegates from 31 nations who participated were: Josh Spinner of the Ronald. S. Lauder Foundation; Raya Kalenova, the Executive Vice-President of the European Jewish Congress; Spanish Jewish community leader Uri Benguigui; Edwin Shuker of the Board of Deputies of British Jews; Petr PapouŠek, President Federation of Jewish Communities in Czech Republic; Leslaw Piszewski, President of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland; Minos Moissis, President of Jewish Community of Athens; Alek Oscar, President of the Organization of the Jews in Bulgaria, “Shalom”; Luciana Friedmann, President of the Jewish Community of Timisoara, Romania; Arturo Tedeschi of the Union of Jewish Communities of Italy; Gabrielle Rosenstein, President of VSJF- Association of Swiss Jewish Welfare organization; and Jonathan Boyd, Executive Director of the UK-based Institute for Jewish Policy Research.

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Kiev Jews, JDC Debut New Jewish Community Center in Ukrainian Capital

Holistic Facility Combines Lifestyle, Jewish Culture, and Social Service Offerings

Despite ongoing challenges in Ukraine, Jewish life is thriving and was given new expression with today’s official dedication of the Halom Jewish Community Center (JCC), a new 17,000 square foot facility located in central Kiev. The center — a project of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Kiev’s Jewish community — serves as a multi-generational hub for Jewish cultural, educational, community, and social service programs and activities. Ukrainian, American, and Israeli government representatives joined local municipal and Jewish leaders, as well as JDC President Stan Rabin, JDC CEO Alan H. Gill, JDC CEO designate David Schizer, JDC FSU Regional Director Michal Frank, and Jerry Silverman, CEO of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), for the ceremony and celebration.
“Today’s dedication of the Halom JCC is yet another step forward in the evolution of Jewish life in Kiev, showcasing the revitalization of Jewish culture, state of the art care for the poorest Jews, and the tenacity of Ukrainian Jews to forge on in their community building despite the issues faced by their country. JDC is honored to have once again partnered with the Jews of Kiev to open this new center, a reflection of their empowered and creative Jewish identity,” said JDC President Stan Rabin and CEO Alan H. Gill. The Halom JCC, which has been open for two months, is a multipurpose center housing a variety of organizations and services. They include: Jewish Family Service (JFS), where at-risk families are aided and displaced Jews from Ukraine’s east are given opportunities to seamlessly integrate into their new location, and a JDC office. Halom JCC has early childhood programs, baby and prenatal yoga, speech therapy, and mental health assistance. Classes range from music to Hebrew and English language courses, from cooking, arts and crafts, and dance, to sports hobby groups. Teens can attend or take advantage of the JCC-based Youth Club, leadership-training program, Sunday school, cinema club, vocational assistance program, weekend camping experiences, or tours to historic Jewish sites in Kiev. Kiev, home to the largest Jewish community in Ukraine with an estimated 60,000 + Jews, has numerous synagogues, community programs and institutions, schools and cultural offerings, all demonstrating the vibrancy of Jewish life in the capital city. JDC has been a major player in Ukrainian Jewish life in the post-Soviet period, operating today 4 major offices and supporting a network of 32 Hesed social welfare centers serving tens of thousands of Jews in need in more than 1,000 locations across Ukraine. JDC also supports 21 JCCs, runs Jewish family camps and informal Jewish educational opportunities, and operates the decade old METSUDA program, a highly successful young adult leadership training initiative which has more than 250 graduates who have become active in their Jewish communities. JDC’s long history working with Ukrainian Jews dates back nearly to the group’s founding 102 years ago. JDC worked with the American Relief Administration in 1921 to administer an aid program for Ukrainians impacted by war and famine, including the Jewish community. Additionally, Agro-Joint, established in 1924, created Jewish agricultural colonies and industrial schools in Ukraine and Crimea.

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Days After Hurricane Matthew, JDC Increases Aid to Haitian Victims, Deploys Relief Expert

Less than a week after Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is now helping provide hygiene kits, water purification tablets, and other basic aid to hundreds of people and has dispatched its veteran disaster relief expert/emergency field medic to help coordinate JDC’s on-the-ground response and directly assist in emergency medical care with JDC partner Heart to Heart International’s medical team in Jeremie, a town decimated by the Hurricane. JDC’s partnership with UNICEF ensures relief for hygiene and water needs.
“As the death toll in Haiti continues to rise, our efforts to aid the hardest-hit communities are vital as needs like shelter, food, water, medicine and medical services have dramatically increased,” said Mandie Winston, Director of JDC’s International Development Program “Our response is especially crucial as concerns about the public health situation and fear of diseases like cholera continue to further underline the need for rapid care of the most vulnerable victims. ”
Following the Hurricane, JDC’s relief work in Haiti — in the form of emergency medical aid and care –has been directed towards the most impacted areas located in the south of the island where hundreds have been reported dead and widespread destruction has taken a toll on tens of thousands of homes, livelihood, critical infrastructure like cell communications, key bridges, and roads, as well as food supplies and long-term food security.
A fourth JDC-supported medical team from Heart to Heart International was dispatched yesterday to Fondwa, a small community village in the Western Department of Haiti. JDC has a history of working in this area, having built a school and created livelihood projects there in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
JDC’s Haiti relief partners include Heart to Heart International and UNICEF.
JDC’s disaster relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors to JDC. JDC coordinates its relief activities with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, Interaction, and the United Nations.

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JDC Aiding Hurricane Matthew Victims in Haiti

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the world’s largest Jewish humanitarian assistance organization, is responding to Hurricane Matthew’s widespread destruction in Haiti, focusing on medical aid and other basic needs provision for beleaguered storm victims. JDC -; which deployed extensive relief and rebuilding efforts aiding hundreds of thousands in Haiti following the devastating earthquake in 2010 -; is providing medical supplies and medical team assistance through its partner on the ground, Heart to Heart International. Donations for JDC’s efforts can be made at
“Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti, and the wider region, in the wake of Hurricane Matthew’s devastation. All too familiar with the acute needs facing Haitians, JDC activated its network of international and local partners and is mobilizing relief efforts in an expression of humanitarian solidarity and Jewish values,” said Alan H. Gill, JDC’s CEO. “Our response to this crisis is especially poignant during the Jewish High Holidays, when we examine carefully our actions in the last year and recommit to our obligation as individuals and a global people to aid those in dire need.”
JDC’s relief work in Haiti will focus on the hardest-hit areas in the south of the island where reports of torrential rains, flooding, and strong winds were accompanied by damage to homes, farming stock and land, and infrastructure like bridges. JDC is in communication with its local civil society and NGO leadership contacts and long-term partners in Haiti to assess needs and ensure the most vulnerable victims are cared for in an expedient manner.
JDC has provided immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters around the globe, including Ecuador, Macedonia, Italy, Nepal, the Philippines, Japan, and South Asia after the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and continues to operate programs designed to rebuild infrastructure and community life in disaster-stricken regions.
JDC’s disaster relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors to JDC. JDC coordinates its relief activities with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, Interaction, and the United Nations

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The Fellowship, JDC Announce Milestone $52M “Food and Medicine Lifeline” for Poor, Elderly Jews in the FSU

“The Lifeline” critically expands the Fellowship's stalwart commitment to the world's most impoverished elderly Jews through JDC partnership

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) today announced the launching of The Fellowship’s “Food and Medicine Lifeline,” a milestone $52 million Fellowship commitment to ensure that impoverished elderly Jews including Holocaust survivors in the former Soviet Union (FSU), receive the critical food and medicine they need to survive. The announcement is the result of a significant expansion of the two-decade partnership between The Fellowship and JDC.

The newly established IFCJ Food and Medicine Lifeline ensures that life-saving assistance is delivered to tens of thousands of needy Jews across the vast expanse of the FSU via JDC’s local network of humanitarian services. The four-year, $13 million-per-year partnership significantly expands longtime cooperation between the two organizations and marks a new era in The Fellowship’s longstanding commitment to help the poorest of elderly Jews in the FSU.

“There are countless hungry and sick elderly Jews across the FSU, including over 100,000 needy elderly and Holocaust survivors, who depend on our help,” said , The Fellowship’s founder and president. “Through this powerful new partnership, we will, G-d willing, be able to come to their aid.”

“Too many Jews around the world, but especially in the former Soviet Union, struggle to meet their most basic needs, including securing the food and medicine they need simply to survive. On behalf of our Christian supporters and friends of the Jewish people worldwide, we are very pleased to be partnering with JDC, the Jewish people’s legacy communal welfare system, to address this dire situation.”

Through the Food and Medicine Lifeline, The Fellowship is taking responsibility for addressing the basic food and medicine needs of one of the world’s most vulnerable Jewish populations.

“JDC is proud to be selected by The Fellowship as its operational partner to provide food and medicine to impoverished elderly across the former Soviet Union,” said , CEO of JDC. “The Fellowship’s commitment enables JDC to ensure that this humanitarian challenge is met and that, together, we can relieve the desperation of the most vulnerable Jewish elderly in the world.”

The Fellowship’s commitment significantly expands the longtime cooperation between the two organizations, which together have worked to relieve the suffering and uphold the dignity of the FSU’s poorest Jews. The Fellowship’s Food and Medicine Lifeline will ensure the continuation of life-saving services to the FSU’s vulnerable Jewish elderly, support critical to an aging population facing overwhelming challenges and providing a sense of community to many who have no one to turn to in their time of need.

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Macedonian Jewish Community, JDC Aiding Thousands of Flood Survivors After Catastrophic Storms in Country

Relief efforts a partnership between JDC, The Jewish Community of the Republic of Macedonia, and the Holocaust Fund of the Jews from Macedonia

A week after disastrous floods struck Macedonia, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) together with The Jewish Community of the Republic of Macedonia and the Holocaust Fund of the Jews from Macedonia, have assisted thousands of flood survivors by creating and distributing 1,000 hygiene relief kits throughout the hardest-hit areas of the Balkan nation. The packages, created at a Jewish community volunteer event on Sunday, August 14, will help address personal and household hygiene needs, a critical component in flood recovery zones.
“Our response puts into action the Jewish teaching that every individual life has value and it is our duty to offer care and relief in in times of disaster, no matter a person’s background or faith. We’re honored to join our partners in the Macedonian Jewish community to deliver life-saving aid, and a sense of hope, to those Macedonians who have lost everything,” said Alan H. Gill, CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). “Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones, and cherished possessions, as a result of this tragedy.”
In the wake of the sudden floods last Saturday, JDC partnered with the Macedonian Jewish community to both assess needs and strategically target aid to the most vulnerable. To address growing needs among flood survivors, 1,000 hygiene relief kits -; including medical soap, disinfection solutions, and cleaning supplies to sanitize homes filled with flood debris -; were assembled by the Jewish community, including the local youth group, and distributed to aid approximately 5,000 people in Stajkovci, Smiljkovci, Brnjarci, Indzikovo, and Chento.
“The Jewish Community of the Republic of Macedonia, the Holocaust Fund of the Jews from Macedonia, and our partner JDC extend our sincere sympathy and condolences to all those who have suffered great loss from the natural disaster that struck Skopje and the surrounding regions. We have come together to help victims in need, regardless of religious or ethnic background, in the spirit of , repairing the world,” said the Boards of Directors of The Jewish Community in the Republic of Macedonia and the Holocaust Fund of the Jews from Macedonia.
Macedonia is home to approximately 250 Jews, mostly of Sephardic heritage, with an extensive network of social welfare services, Jewish educational, and religious programming. This is the second time that JDC and the Macedonian Jewish community have provided humanitarian relief in response to a local crisis. In 1999, JDC and the Macedonian Jewish community created an organization called , or Good Will, to provide nonsectarian humanitarian aid to Albanian, Serbian, and Gypsy refugees who fled to Macedonia during and after the Kosovo War.

JDC, which has a longstanding partnership with the Macedonian Jewish community since the 1930’s, focuses its work today on empowering and training Macedonian Jewish leaders and including them in pan-European Jewish cultural and educational activities. These activities include regional Jewish leadership seminars; Macedonian Jewish youth attending the JDC-Lauder International Jewish Summer Camp at Szarvas, Hungary; and a program for Macedonian Jewish teens to network with their Jewish peers globally and engage in service work through JDC’s partnership with BBYO, the pluralistic Jewish teen movement.

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Heart to Heart International’s PowrServ Division, the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, and JDC Join Faith Leaders and Corporate Sponsors to Help Meet Basic Needs for Syrian Refugees

Hundreds of volunteers representing different religions join together to bring products to support hygiene and women’s health to thousands of Syrians in refugee camps.

In a groundbreaking humanitarian initiative, the PowrServ division of Heart to Heart International (HHI), a leading health delivery and crisis relief agency, has teamed up with the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, the nation’s premiere interfaith coalition addressing the crisis, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the global Jewish humanitarian group, to unite diverse faith groups – as well as corporate sponsors including Henry Schein, Inc., FedEx Corporation and BD – to assemble thousands of emergency relief kits that will be distributed to needy Syrians in refugee camps in Turkey by our partner Orient for Human Relief.
The event, called “Faith and Heart: Uniting to Help Syrian Refugees,” brings together hundreds of volunteers representing different religions on Sunday, June 26, 2016 from 12pm to 5pm ET at the 69 Regiment Armory in New York City. This is the largest and most religiously diverse gathering held to assemble emergency supplies for Syrian refugees. Special guests scheduled to join the volunteer effort include Academy Award-winning actor F. Murray Abraham.
“Heart to Heart International is extremely proud of today’s humanitarian event. Volunteers from New York City’s faith-based organizations will assemble desperately needed hygiene kits for Syrian refugees. Personal hygiene is one of the top needs for people impacted by crisis and these kits can be the first line of defense against the spread of illness,” said Jim Mitchum, CEO of Heart to Heart International.
“In addition to the kits built today, Heart to Heart will contribute an incremental 7,500 hygiene kits to the shipment designated for Turkey, bringing relief to over 15,000 refugees, primarily vulnerable women and children,” added Mitchum.
“MFA is honored to be working with Heart to Heart and our partner JDC to deliver urgently needed aid to thousands of Syrian refugees,” said Dr. Georgette Bennett, founder and president of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, who launched MFA in 2013. “This is the first time that members of so many different faith groups -; Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Mormons and Muslims -; have been brought together to work, shoulder to shoulder, to help Syrian refugees in dire need of the most basic necessities of life. As we grapple with the divisiveness in the public square, this event is a shining example for our city, our nation, and the world, demonstrating how religious communities can rise above politics and work together to alleviate enormous suffering.”
“We’re proud to join our long-time partners, and the wider NYC faith community, in this remarkable volunteer effort to aid Syrian refugees. As our participation is driven by the Jewish value of , repairing the world, and the Jewish people’s long history of displacement and oppression, we understand deeply the curative power of hope — whether in the form of food, medicine, clothing, shelter, or a shoulder to cry on — for those facing unbearable odds and a humanitarian crisis which requires global action,” said Alan H. Gill, CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC).
During the five-hour event more than 750 volunteers will work together to assemble more than 7,500 kits to help refugees meet many basic needs in hygiene and personal health by providing resources including shampoo, soap, combs, toothbrushes and toothpaste, all of which can be difficult or impossible to find in refugee camps. Event participants will also assemble kits designed to meet the specific needs of women and girls living in refugee camps, who can be especially vulnerable when displaced from their communities. The women’s kits will also include products such as reusable menstrual pads. Once the kits are assembled in New York, they will be shipped to Turkey for distribution to refugees by the non-governmental organization Orient for Human Relief.
Registered Syrian refugees now number 4.8 million, while another six million people remain displaced inside of Syria. Most of those displaced are women and children, with over 50 percent of refugees being children under the age of 18. Thousands of families are struggling to survive, and efforts to relocate mean that millions of people routinely lack many necessities to address basic needs in personal care or hygiene that can help to prevent illness.
Each year, HHI organizes volunteer efforts to produce and deliver hygiene kits to thousands of refugees and other displaced people in need around the world. The kits can offer a first line of defense against the spread of disease and can also help refugees maintain dignity and care for their families under often very challenging circumstances.
“Henry Schein has long been committed to supporting the health needs of vulnerable populations through our global corporate social responsibility program, Henry Schein Cares, and we are pleased to join with our partner organizations to provide Syrian refugees with the hygiene supplies they need to maintain their overall health,” said Stanley M. Bergman, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Henry Schein, Inc.

“FedEx is honored to mobilize our global network and deliver aid to the children, women and men affected by the ongoing conflict in Syria as a part of our FedEx Cares initiative,” added Neil Gibson, vice president, corporate communications, FedEx Services.

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JDC Names David Schizer its New CEO

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is delighted to name David Schizer as its next CEO. Schizer -; the Dean Emeritus of Columbia Law School and a noted Jewish community leader -; will take the helm of the global Jewish humanitarian organization on January 1, 2017, pending his approval by the JDC Board at its regular Board Meeting next week. Succeeding Alan H. Gill as CEO, Schizer was unanimously nominated by a Selection Committee of JDC’s Board of Directors and confirmed by the Board’s Executive Committee after an extensive global search conducted by executive search firm Spencer Stuart. “We are extremely proud of David Schizer’s appointment as JDC’s next CEO, confident that his vast professional accomplishments and boundless passion for the Jewish people and Israel will be critical components of his leadership of an organization at the vanguard of Jewish life for more than a century,” said JDC President Stanley Rabin. “In a world facing many challenges, JDC remains steadfast in its protection of the most vulnerable Jews and its efforts to foster strong, resilient Jewish communities and leaders. David will surely take up that historic mantle and deploy his wide-ranging talents and innovative vantage to bring a new energy and vision to JDC’s timeless mission and to building the Jewish future.”
Brooklyn-born Schizer was the youngest dean in the history of Columbia Law School, where he presided over a $150 million annual budget and 400 employees. During his ten years of service as dean, he launched and successfully completed a $353 million capital campaign, doubling the school’s traditional fundraising. Schizer also expanded the faculty and forged a new partnership with Columbia Business School. A seasoned leader in the Jewish community, Schizer is a member of the Board of Directors of the 92nd Street Y and Ramaz School, is President of America’s Voices in Israel, and Co-director of Columbia’s Center for Israeli Legal Studies. He also served previously on the boards of Natan and Columbia-Barnard Hillel, and as a senior advisor to the Tikvah Fund.
“Although I am part of an incredibly fortunate generation of American Jews, I am named for a grandfather who fled pogroms and political upheaval in Ukraine. Every Jewish family has a history of poverty, religious persecution, or violence -; the only difference is how long ago it was. So for me personally, it is profoundly meaningful to be appointed CEO of an extraordinary organization that has been a lifeline to Jews in their hour of need, and that renews Jewish life throughout the world, including in places where my own family once lived,” said Schizer. “In these difficult times, JDC’s work has never been more important, and I am proud to be a part of it.”
Schizer holds undergraduate, graduate, and law degrees from Yale University. He clerked for Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9 Circuit.
“We are very excited about David Schizer’s appointment as the next CEO of JDC. He represents the enormous accomplishment and talent among rising Jewish leadership in action today -; bright, passionate, and committed to innovating and strengthening the Jewish world and Israel. Those values are at the heart of JDC and I look forward to welcoming David to ‘the Joint’ and working with him to ensure a successful transition,” said current JDC CEO Alan H. Gill, who will retire from the position at the end of this year after twenty-four years of service with the organization.
Schizer and his wife, Meredith, reside in New York together with their three children.

Today, JDC’s Board of Directors voted to appoint David Schizer, 47, as the organization’s next CEO.

Schizer, who is 47, was born in Brooklyn and named for a grandfather who fled pogroms and political upheaval in Ukraine. Coming from a family of attorneys and deeply committed Jews, he is one of America’s leading tax scholars. Schizer holds undergraduate, graduate, and law degrees from Yale University. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

As the youngest dean in the history of Columbia Law School, Schizer presided over a $150 million annual budget and 400 employees. During his ten years of service as dean, he launched a $300 million capital campaign and completed it with a $353 million total; more than doubled the school’s traditional fundraising; hired 43 new professors; and forged a new partnership with Columbia Business School.

Schizer is also deeply involved in the Jewish community: he serves on the Board of Directors of the 92nd Street Y and the Ramaz School, is President of America’s Voices in Israel, and is Co-director of Columbia’s Center for Israeli Legal Studies. Schizer has previously served on the boards of Natan and Columbia-Barnard Hillel, and as a senior advisor to the Tikvah Fund.

Schizer and his wife, Meredith, and their three children reside in Manhattan.

“I have every confidence that David’s unbridled passion for JDC’s mission in a world plagued by troubles; his fresh and clear-eyed understanding and vision of JDC’s values, opportunities, and challenges; and his strategic focus for how we move into the future make him the clear leader to effectively move us forward,” JDC President Stan Rabin said. “We are proud that David came to embody the leadership we were seeking.”

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In Global First, JDC Entwine and HUC-JIR Announce Graduate Fellowship for Global Jewish Leaders

Jane Weitzman – distinguished Jewish community and philanthropic leader – provides founding gift to foster activism on global Jewish issues among HUC-JIR rabbinic, cantorial, and Jewish education students

In a first initiative of its kind, JDC Entwine -; the growing young adult initiative of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) -; and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) announced the establishment of the Weitzman-JDC Fellowship for Global Jewish Leaders. The pioneering graduate fellowship -; founded by Jane Weitzman, a JDC Board Member and Jewish community and philanthropic leader, together with her husband, shoe designer Stuart Weitzman -; will provide HUC-JIR rabbinic, cantorial, and Jewish education students significant expertise in Jewish needs around the world and in Israel. “While all major U.S. universities today have top graduate programs developing the next generation of leaders to face the challenges of our changing world, there is a desperate need in the North American Jewish community to immerse our up-and-coming leaders in issues confronting Jews internationally,” said Jane Weitzman. “I am proud to combine my passions for Jewish life and education worldwide to ensure that our rising rabbis, cantors, and Jewish educators understand the complex world that Jews live in.” Over the coming five years, the Weitzman-JDC Fellowship at HUC-JIR will train fifteen fellows to bring a deep understanding and passion for global Jewish issues to their congregations, classrooms, and communities across North America. These fellows will travel to some of the 70 countries that JDC works in today. The fellowship will also have significant impact on the wider HUC-JIR student body with increased opportunities to engage in international Jewish issues as part of their HUC-JIR course work. The intention is that future Jewish leaders will emerge with an expanded awareness of these issues in congregations and beyond. “This inspired, creative and exciting collaboration will offer our students ever greater opportunities to influence the global Jewish community, and bring Jews together in shared purpose around the world. When Jews face challenges anywhere, we must feel a deep sense of responsibility that transcends national borders. We are exceedingly grateful to Jane and Stuart, and to our partners at JDC, for helping to build this compelling new paradigm of global training for our students,” said Rabbi Aaron Panken, President of HUC-JIR. Weitzman-JDC Fellows will work from a special curriculum developed with HUC-JIR to foster the concept of global Jewish responsibility and activism on Jewish issues among their congregants, students, and the wider North American Jewish community. “We believe in investing in our rising Jewish professional and lay leaders, setting them up for high-impact, fearless leadership in a complicated, shifting world that also has so much potential and opportunity for meaningful Jewish life. It is inspiring that philanthropists like the Weitzman family, and institutions like HUC-JIR, are as excited as JDC to pioneer new models of global Jewish leadership,” said Sarah Eisenman, Executive Director of JDC Entwine and JDC Assistant Executive Vice President. Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America’s leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates men and women for service to North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR’s scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement’s congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR’s campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. For more information, visit .

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More Than One Week Later, JDC Provides Critical Aid to Hundreds in Ecuador

More than one week after the devastating earthquake in Ecuador, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and its partners are providing aid to hundreds of people, including food, water, medical equipment and supplies, water filters and purification tablets, solar panel lamps, and post-trauma kits for children. JDC’s assessment team, comprised of its veteran disaster relief expert/field medic and Latin American community development expert, is on the ground in Ecuador, deploying and coordinating JDC’s response as well as distributing food to quake victims in an effort organized by the President of the Jewish Community in Guayaquil. “While the headlines on the disaster in Ecuador have faded, our efforts to aid beleaguered earthquake victims and communities are critical as needs like shelter, food security, and access to income and education sharpen,” said Mandie Winston, Director of JDC’s International Development Program “Our response is especially poignant at this time as it embodies Passover’s message to do all one can to alleviate great suffering.” JDC joined the aid distribution operation organized by noted CEO and Guayaquil Jewish Community President Johnny Czarninski to distribute 800 food packages and water to scores of people living in San Isidro, badly hit by the quake. This food distribution will continue in the coming weeks. You can read more about JDC’s response in this blog by JDC’s team on the ground:

“I am encouraged by the solidarity of the people of Ecuador and their willingness to help one another in this time of crisis,” said Czarninski.
JDC’s Ecuador relief partners include the U.S.-based Afya Foundation; CADENA; and UNICEF. JDC’s disaster response and recovery efforts are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Jewish Federations as well as individual donors and foundations. JDC has provided immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters around the globe, including the Philippines, Haiti, Japan, and South Asia after the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and continues to operate programs designed to rebuild infrastructure and community life in disaster-stricken regions.

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One Year After Nepal Quake, JDC Empowers Women to Build a New Future

In the year since Nepal was hit by its biggest earthquake in 80 years, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) relief efforts have directly impacted over 49,000 Nepalis, with a special focus on empowering women in the areas of livelihood and health. Five new community centers have been established by JDC with local partners, serving hundreds of women and their families with childcare, psychosocial counseling, and tools and skill training. Recent seminars trained women to weave local materials into rugs and cushions for purchase by Kathmandu businesses and instructed local women community health volunteers in safer motherhood and neonatal care methods. To date, 80 percent of the $2.4 million raised in donations from the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors has been invested by JDC in Nepali emergency and recovery efforts.

“As we’ve learned from our experiences in other disasters, women, though hardest hit by a crisis, are critical to the recovery of families, communities, and nations in challenging times,” said Mandie Winston, director of JDC’s Disaster Response and International Development Program. “Together with our local partners, we have deployed a variety of programs including these new community centers to bring Nepali women together in the spirit of mutual support and empowerment.”

When the earthquake hit Nepal, 63-year-old Bimla, a farmer, returned from the fields to find her home destroyed. Living in a temporary shelter for the past 11 months and unable to return to farming, she recently completed weaving training at a JDC-established community center. “This training has brought me new joy. To be able to be with other women in the community and share common experiences have given me strength,” said Bimla. JDC has long deployed a community center model — where a variety of human and cultural services are developed around vulnerable and evolving communities — among Jewish and non-sectarian populations. These include a network of Jewish Community Centers developed in emerging Jewish communities in the former Soviet Union as well as Community Cafes for displaced people in Japan after the tsunami and earthquake in 2011 and a series of multi-purpose community centers developed in Sri Lanka after the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004.

JDC has also focused on livelihood development, disaster mitigation, public health access, and education in Nepal. JDC, working with local partners, has built resiliency among more than 3,000 people in over 20 vulnerable villages in the event of future disasters through youth leadership, strategic disaster planning, and community empowerment programs. JDC is additionally supporting the reconstruction and upgrade of two medical clinics in the Dolakha district. The clinics, scheduled to open by June 2016, will serve more than 4,700 Nepalis, providing maternal care, orthopedic treatment, and other services. To date, JDC has delivered shelter supplies, hygiene items, medical supplies, clean water, and food to over tens of thousands of people living in the country’s most remote and hard hit areas.

JDC’s Nepal relief partners include: The Afya Foundation, All India Disaster Mitigation Institute, Heart to Heart International, Homenet, IDF Field Hospital, Integrated Development Society -; Nepal, Israel Trauma Coalition, Magen David Adom, NATAN, Possible Health, Rural Reconstruction Nepal, Teach for Nepal, Tevel b’Tzedek, and UNICEF.

JDC’s disaster response and recovery efforts in Nepal are made possible thanks to the generous support of the Jewish Federations of North America as well as thousands of individual donors and foundations. JDC has provided immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters around the globe, including the Philippines, Haiti, Japan, and South Asia after the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and continues to operate programs designed to rebuild infrastructure and community life in disaster-stricken regions.

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JDC Responds to Ecuador Earthquake

Collecting Funds, Coordinating Relief -- Emergency Grant Also Distributed in Japan Following Major Earthquakes

In the wake of a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador, killing at least 272 people and injuring more than 2,500, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has begun assessing needs and coordinating relief efforts with both the Jewish community of Ecuador and long-standing partner Heart to Heart International focusing on medical care, medical supply provision, and water purification efforts. Donations for these efforts can be made at
“As devastating images from Ecuador surface, JDC extends its deepest condolences and joins our partners to deploy a speedy response that ensures relief to survivors at their greatest time of need,” said JDC CEO Alan H. Gill. “Our response in Ecuador, and in Japan, are proud expressions of the Jewish value of tikkun olam, repairing the world, and are fortuitous as we lead up to the Passover holiday when we celebrate our redemption from great odds. May all those impacted by these crises experience the same solace and strength that can be found in family and community.”
In Ecuador, the earthquake devastated coastal areas nearest the epicenter, including the cities of Manta, Portoviejo, and Pedernales, a major tourist destination, but damage was widespread throughout the country. Members of the Jewish community, mainly located in the cities of Quito and Guayaquil, are actively involved, like their neighbors, in earthquake relief efforts.
In addition to JDC’s response in Ecuador, a $25,000 JDC grant for emergency supplies including food and non-food items was made to JDC’s longstanding partner, Japanese humanitarian agency “JEN,” to aid people impacted by the recent earthquakes in the Kumamoto province. JDC, with a long history of working in Japan, provided emergency relief and long-term recovery aid following the 2011 earthquake and Tsunami.
JDC has provided immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters around the globe, including Nepal, the Philippines, Haiti, Japan, and South Asia after the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and continues to operate programs designed to rebuild infrastructure and community life in disaster-stricken regions. JDC’s disaster relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors to JDC. JDC coordinates its relief activities with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, Interaction, and the United Nations.

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U.S, Israeli Experts Gather to Advance Next-Gen Disability Services

JDC, Government of Israel, Ruderman Family Foundation, Ted Arison Family Foundation, and U.S. Embassy in Israel

At a time when the Israeli Government is planning a strategic restructuring of its welfare services with the aim of making them more inclusive, Israel Unlimited -; a disabilities-focused partnership of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in Israel, the Israeli Government, and the Ruderman Family Foundation -; is cooperating with The Ted Arison Family Foundation and the United States Embassy in Israel to bring a renowned delegation from The National Leadership Consortium at the University of Delaware to address a seminar tackling the most pressing issues in the field of disabilities today. The confab, which will be held on February 8 in the central Israeli city of Ma’ale Hachamisha, is focused on promoting cutting-edge innovation among Israeli leaders and decision makers in the field of disabilities.
“It’s time to advance and adapt our system to focus on individuals with disabilities and tailor services to his or her needs. Together, we can help the million plus Israelis with disabilities fulfill their dreams and fully and robustly participate in everyday life, including work, housing, education, leisure , creating families, and fostering friendships, ” said Avital Sandler-Loeff, JDC’s disabilities expert and Director of Israel Unlimited. “We’re excited by the opportunity to bring together Israeli and American policy makers, leaders with disabilities, and all of the other relevant stakeholders to learn about and implement significant change. An inclusive society, after all, is a better and stronger society.”
Seminar workshops will include creating individualized plans for the disabled, personal budgeting, independent living, developing leadership roles within the field of disabilities, alternatives to guardianship, and addressing systemic changes in employment, relationships, recreation, and education. Additionally, best practices from the U.S. that have enabled the country to improve its level of disability services will be highlighted. The one-day seminar is a part of a wider week-long conference in which leading professionals will discuss up-to-date policies and services in the sector with Israeli officials and advocates, including housing and independent living solutions.
“The issue of housing in general, and for people with disabilities in particular, demands a big revolution in Israel. The conference’s purpose is to promote the securing of resources for one, and a revolution in the perception of someone with disabilities as worthy and entitled to live in the community. Finding the answers will also facilitate solutions for additional target populations, and generate a quality of life that enables real inclusion and a change in attitudes among the general public,” said Shira Ruderman, Israel Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation.
Speakers will include Steven Eidelman, the University of Delaware’s H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Human Services Policy and Leadership; Lynne Seagle, Executive Director of Hope House Foundation; Professor Nancy Weiss, Director of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities at the University of Delaware; and Ari Ne’eman, President and Co-Founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. The group has led over 30 leadership workshops in the United States that have led to significant changes within the leadership of senior government officials, non-profit organizations, and disabilities foundations and leaders. Ne’eman, nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama to the National Council on Disability, is Jewish and autistic. He will tell his personal story, as well as stress the importance of using community integration concepts in residential, employment, and day services.
“Disabilities has been one of the foundation’s main fields of operation in all its years of philanthropic activity in Israel, rooted in its aspiration to advance an equal, tolerant and inclusive society by supporting organizations and projects that raise awareness and assist children, young people, and seniors with a wide spectrum of disabilities. The foundation’s activities stem from our firm belief that inclusion of people with disabilities constitutes the cornerstone for independent living within the community, based on the values of respect, innovation, and creativity,” said Shlomit de Vries, CEO of The Ted Arison Family Foundation.
Currently, Israel has 10,000 people with disabilities living in institutions and one of Israel Unlimited’s goals is to create services to allow people who want to leave these institutions or their parents’ homes to live independently.

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Noted Business and Philanthropic Leader Stanley A. Rabin Elected New President of JDC

Stanley A. Rabin, the distinguished business and philanthropic leader from Dallas, Texas, has been elected the 17th President of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. Rabin — a past Chairman of the Board of Commercial Metals Company where he served as CEO for 28 years — has been a member of the JDC Board of Directors since 2007, serving most recently as the organization’s Treasurer.

“I’m truly honored to serve as JDC’s President and ensure this storied organization can fulfill today its historic mission to save lives and build a strong Jewish future. Together, we will continue to confront and overcome the daunting challenges facing the Jewish people and Israel and create innovative opportunities that foster confident, resilient Jewish communities and leaders eager to put into action the ideal that we are all responsible for one another,” said Rabin.

Along with his work at JDC, Rabin is Immediate Past Chairman of the Board of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas and serves on the boards of the United Way Foundation of Metropolitan Dallas, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Temple Emanu-el of Dallas, the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation, and the Dallas Holocaust Museum. He served on the Board of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and the Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee. He is a past President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas, Temple Emanu-el, and the Jewish Family Service. He and his wife, Barbara, have two children and five grandchildren.

“JDC’s ability to carry out its critical work over the last 101 years has been grounded in its visionary leadership — we are therefore extraordinarily proud that Stan Rabin will be carrying forward that legacy as our new President. His passionate dedication for JDC’s work, the Jewish people, and Israel, will help guide our endeavors and bring hope to a world where it is sorely lacking,” said JDC CEO Alan H. Gill.

Rabin, a first generation American born to parents who fled pogroms in Eastern Europe, feels a deep connection to JDC’s Jewish humanitarian aid program in 70 countries around the world: “As time passed and the older I got, I began to connect deeply to this idea of a global Jewish people and being collectively responsible for Jews around the world,” Rabin said.

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JDC and Ukraine’s Jews Celebrate Chanukah Despite Crisis

Amidst the protracted crisis in Ukraine, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and its network of Hesed social welfare centers, Jewish Community Centers, and youth groups are helping Jews in the beleaguered nation celebrate Chanukah through a variety of activities for thousands of people, including both internally displaced Jews (in their new communities) and Jews in the separatist-controlled regions. JDC cares today for 65,000 Jews throughout Ukraine, has been providing a robust response to the ongoing crisis, and provides a variety of programs related to Jewish holidays, identity, and culture.

“Our work in Ukraine is emblematic of Chanukah’s message to light up the darkness. By providing these celebrations for Jews and Jewish communities in distress, along with the ongoing relief we’re deploying for the crisis, we are enabling those who need it most to find comfort in their Jewish community. As winter sets in, the warm glow of the Chanukah candles, and of our solidarity with those in need, is critical for the longterm,” said Michal Frank, Director of JDC’s Former Soviet Union Department.

Chanukah activities include:

In Lugansk and Donetsk, inside the separatist-controlled region where JDC cares for more than 7,000 needy Jews, Chanukah activities are happening uninterrupted.

The Lugansk Hesed is holding a Chanukah educational program to teach community members of all ages about the holiday and its observance; a party for teens and members of the local family club that will include the traditional candle lighting and Chanukah foods, games, a light show, and a dance program; and children from the community will participate in a performance of “Malishock Mazal Tov” preschool program, featuring a costume show, games, children’s performances and an illusionist show.

The Donetsk Jewish Community will celebrate Chanukah at a holiday performance in Shahtar Plaza which will include games and other activities. The “Eight Hanukkah Miracles” food fair — organized by the JDC-supported Donetsk Hesed social welfare center — will offer a variety of sweet Chanukah foods prepared by elderly Jewish Hesed clients of different ages. Additionally, the Donetsk Hesed created an interactive Chanukah card for use on social media that allows participants to send the card to friends and Jews around the world (an especially important feature for a Jewish community that has been impacted by the crisis).

Chanukah events arranged by JDC’s Hesed social welfare centers and Jewish Community Centers in the region include: holiday concerts in the cultural, musical, or theater spaces in Chernigov, Khmelnitsky, and Chernovtsy; family-focused celebrations offering workshops on making sufganiyot (traditional Chanukah jelly donuts) and Chanukah candles, holiday-related games, concerts featuring Yiddish jazz and drumming, and traditional menorah lightings in Kiev and Lvov.

The “Juice” young leadership group in Kiev is holding a Chanukah charitable event with a proceeds from the gathering will fund medicines and treatment for a 9-months old girl from Vinnitsa with leukemia. Additionally, a Chanukah-related awards ceremony for Kiev’s young Jewish adults will recognize the community’s major Jewish public figures in the social and cultural spheres.

The renowned Dnepropetrovsk JCC is offering Chanukah holiday events for families including menorah lightings and holiday workshops, games and holiday quizzes, dancing and music with a DJ, and a comedy show. The JDC-supported Dnepropetrovsk Hesed social welfare center is organizing a large concert with performances by local actors and a special Chanukah meal for elderly Jews and displaced Jewish families. Volunteers — young Jewish adults and displaced Jews new to the city — will organize and run a holiday concert and activities for elderly Jews.

In the cities of Zaporozhe, Krivoy Rog, and Kremenchug, JDC-supported groups will hold Chanukah concerts and holiday food offerings. Additionally, over 100 young Jewish adult leaders will gather for a Chanukah Shabbat weekend seminar that will draw particpants from Zaporozhe, Krivoy Rog, Dnepropetrovsk, and Melitopol.
The JDC-supported Zaporozhe JCC is holding a traditional Chanukah volunteer ball, which is dedicated to both International Special Needs Day and and International Volunteer Day. The program includes a holiday concert and traditional Chanukah foods.

In Kharkov, the JDC-supported Beit Dan JCC is hosting a is holding a large-scale Chanukah event to support children with special needs. The event will bring together more than 100 families with children with special needs, the general public, and representatives of different organizations. It will include holiday workshops for children with special needs, a festival performance, and a bubble show.

The Beit Dan JCC will also host a Chanukah Shabbat event for its members, displaced Jews, and elderly Jewish clients and families of JDC-supported local Hesed social welfare centers. The gather will include a menorah lighting, Sabbath worship, and the sharing of the Chanukah story. Additionally, the local Jewish youth association is leading a Chanukah program — including educational components and entertainment — for Jewish children.

JDC-supported Hesed social welfare centers, Jewish Community Centers, and youth groups are engaging in a wide variety of Chanukah programs, including educational programs for people of all ages. Other events include exhibitions of Chanukah books and craft items made by participants of Hesed and JCC hobbying groups; volunteer visits and Chanukah gift deliveries by young Jews to displaced Jewish families and homebound elderly in Kherson and Nikolaev; and Chanukah gatherings for groups of needy Jewish elderly in individual homes. JDC’s flagship JCC Beit Grand in Odessa is holding numerous Chanukah programs, including: a Chanukah jazz concert, an art exhibition, and a charitable concert to raise funds for children in Odessa orphanages. Hundreds will also attend the Beit Grand’s annual “Mishpa-Hanukkah” fair, a large-scale Chanukah event including a parade of cars decked in Chanukah decorations delivering sufganiyot (traditional Chanukah jelly donuts) and gifts around the city to educate the city’s Jews and general population about Chanukah. At the same time, holiday performances and workshops for children will be held within the Beit Grand Building.

The JDC-supported Migdal JCC is hosting a guest performance by the Jewish soloists of “Tal Tal” ensemble visiting from the JDC-supported Kedem JCC in Kishinev, Moldova. The JDC-supported Odessa Hesed social welfare center is holding two large Chanukah concerns for elderly and family clients that will include performances by members of Hesed’s cultural club, local Odessa theaters, the State Conservatoire, and Stolyarsky Music School.

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JDC Responds to South Asian Earthquake

Immediate Emergency Grants to Partners Working in India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan

In the wake of a powerful 7.5 magnitude earthquake in South Asia — impacting Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan — the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has made two emergency grants to partners who will provide medical and emergency aid in India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. In addition to the grants to the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute and International Blue Crescent, experts from JDC’s Disaster Relief and India teams are consulting with local and global partners to assess damage as the situation unfolds and ensure survivors’ immediate needs are addressed. Donations can be made at

“As we anxiously await details on the tragic loss of life and extent of the damage in South Asia, we are drawing on our vast experience, network of partners, and standing presence in the region to deploy a speedy Jewish response that ensures relief to survivors at their time of need.” said Alan H. Gill, JDC’s CEO.

The earthquake — which is believed to have caused widespread damage and a growing death toll — hit northeastern Afghanistan near the Pakistani border and caused large tremors in India, Pakistan, and Kyrgyzstan.

JDC has provided immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters around the globe, including Nepal, the Philippines, Haiti, Japan, and South Asia after the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and continues to operate programs designed to rebuild infrastructure and community life in disaster-stricken regions.

JDC’s disaster relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors to JDC. JDC coordinates its relief activities with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, Interaction, and the United Nations.

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Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief Collects Funds to Aid Refugees and Migrants in Europe and Middle East

In light of tragic events involving a swelling population of migrants and refugees in Europe and the Middle East, the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief (JCDR) has acted to expand the scope and mandate of its Jewish Coalition for Syrian Refugees in Jordan to include refugees and migrants in Europe and the Middle East. The Coalition is assessing needs on the ground and raising emergency funds for humanitarian aid. “As horrific images from this crisis flood the news, social media, and our inboxes, we have been moved to action, reminded of Jewish tradition’s deep value for a single life in crisis. As we have learned from our decades of work with refugees and displaced people, the humanitarian toll and needs will be massive and we must respond now,” said Alan H. Gill, CEO of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the lead convener of the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief. The Coalition — comprising a now growing group of Jewish organizations — previously aided thousands of Syrian refugees through more than $500,000 in grants to humanitarian groups operating in Jordan and its efforts led to the founding of the MutliFaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees, an interfaith movement that advocates for the needs of Syrian refugee populations. To make a contribution, visit: www.jcdr.org. Or make a check payable to the “Jewish Coalition for Syrian Refugees” and post it to: JDC, P.O. Box 4124, New York, NY 10163.Over the past several years, the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief has responded to major crises in Sudan, Haiti, Japan, Philippines, Nepal, and the Horn of Africa.About JCDRThe Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief (JCDR) brings together the experience, expertise, and resources of national, primarily North American Jewish organizations that seek to assist victims of natural or man-made disasters outside of North America on a non-sectarian basis. JCDR maximizes the use of financial resources, coordinates the activities of its member agencies, educates the members’ constituencies and the general public about current disaster situations and the Jewish response, and demonstrates the long tradition of Jewish humanitarianism.

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JDC Expo Aimed At Promoting Inclusive Employment In Israel

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) will hold a unique expo here on Thursday, July 23rd introducing employers to programs aimed at facilitating the integration of people from diverse socio-economic backgrounds into Israel’s work force. Dozens of major private-sector companies –Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, Teva, Migdal Insurance, The Fishman Group, the Ashdod Port Authority, WIZO, El Al — are set to take part in the special private-third sector collaboration organized by Tevet, JDC’s employment advancement partnership in Israel, and hosted by Bank Hapoalim. “This is a unique opportunity for the for-profit and not-for-profit worlds to come together to help underemployed and disenfranchised segments of Israeli society ,” said Sigal Shelach, CEO of JDC TEVET and Senior Deputy Director of JDC’s overall Israel operation. “By the end of the event, we hope to raise awareness to the myriad ways companies can work with NGOs to improve employment practices, advance individuals from underprivileged backgrounds and offer jobs to people.”Among the innovative initiatives being launched at the expo are: The Apprenticeship Program which offers vocational training to employees through their employer together with classroom study and certification from Israel’s Ministry of the Economy. The Kidum initiative aims to help working poor obtain higher-paying positions and strengthen their family’s socio-economic status through a job-training course.As one of the greatest challenges facing Ethiopian Israelis in the job application process is screening tests — often inherently biased against them — EMET is an initiative studying employee screening practices used by human resources departments and working to develop tools and practices that employers can use to hire more fairly and diversely. And finally, the Mentorship program teams vulnerable Israelis with accomplished professionals with the hope of advancing their careers.In all, six intervention processes will be shared in order to foster best practices and employment advancement within participant companies. JDC’s TEVET employment initiative — formed in partnership with the Government of Israel and the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation in 2005 — has helped more than 140,000 chronically unemployed Israelis through services such as job training, skill enhancement, and the securing of employment. About JDCThe American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters. For more information, visit www.JDC.org

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