At Centennial Celebrations, JDC Presents ‘Or L’Olam Award’ to the Philippines for Providing Sanctuary to Jews Fleeing Nazi Persecution

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) will present its Or L’Olam — Light Unto the World — Award to the Republic of the Philippines at its Centennial Dinner in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, December 11th. The award, which will be accepted by Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., was created especially for JDC’s 100th Anniversary to honor those whose heroic actions saved the lives of Jews in danger.
JDC Chief Executive Officer Alan H. Gill said the award is in recognition of the role the Philippines played in saving the lives of more than a thousand Jewish refugees by selflessly opening its doors to Jews fleeing Nazi persecution prior to the Second World War.
Gill said the Philippines, which was then led by Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon, accepted more than 1,300 Jewish refugees in an operation that was carried out by the JDC, and the Jewish Community in Manila led by the Frieder family with US High Commissioner Paul McNutt.
More than 70 years later, JDC has returned to the Philippines today as part of its global disaster relief work, aiding Filipinos in areas most devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.
“On this occasion of our 100th anniversary, it is our honor to bestow upon the Philippines our Or L’Olam Award for the country’s extraordinary life-saving actions,” Gill said. “The Philippines’ heroic decision to admit Jews at a time when the doors of many nations were closed has never been forgotten by us.”
“Our gratitude for this brave act and the kindness extended to Jews in their darkest hour underpins our relief and rebuilding efforts in the Philippines today,” Gill added. “We work every day to return that same measure of hope and life-affirming care to the Filipino people at their time of need.”
Ambassador Cuisia expressed his appreciation to the JDC and the Jewish Community not only for the award but for the generous assistance that has been extended to typhoon victims in the Philippines.
“On behalf of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, I would like to thank the JDC for recognizing a gesture that was extended more than seven decades ago,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “On behalf of the Filipino people, I would like to thank the Jewish Community for always being there for us.”
Ambassador Cuisia said the Philippines greatly appreciates the assistance extended to the Filipino people by the JDC and the Jewish Community around the world, particularly those affected recently by Typhoon Haiyan.
JDC has a history operating in the Philippines, previously helping to fight post-typhoon cholera through an Israeli partner in 2009 and working to enhance emerging Jewish community life through the inclusion of the Philippines Jewish community members in Pan-Asian Jewish events.
Since its founding in 1914, JDC has been engaged in humanitarian interventions for Jewish and non-Jewish populations around the globe. To date, JDC has raised more than $1.5 million to aid the Philippines, providing victims of the storm with food, shelter, clean water, and sanitation items through its local and international partners.
Over the following months and years JDC will continue to partner with local groups to help rehabilitate the hardest-hit areas of the country and put into motion long-term, sustainable programs for the future development of the island nation.
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 US Department of State, the US Agency for International Development, Interaction, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israeli relief agencies and the United Nations.

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JDC Kicks off 100th Anniversary in Washington DC

Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew and CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer Headline JDC Centennial Celebration

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) — the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian organization — will kick off its 100th anniversary celebrations at a 2-day gathering in Washington, D.C. on December 9. The program includes remarks from Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew as well as a Capitol Hill reception and a Centennial dinner event hosted by CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer. The conference will highlight the group’s century of life-saving care and Jewish community building overseas as well as the challenges and opportunities for JDC’s work in the decades ahead.

Speaker John A. Boehner (R-OH), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are the Honorary Co-Chairs of the Congressional Host Committee for JDC’s 100th anniversary celebration. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) will provide remarks at the Capitol Hill Reception. Other attendees include members of Congress, administration officials, foreign dignitaries, Jewish leaders from North America and abroad, NGO partners, and hundreds of others. It will be followed by a year of centennial events including celebrations in Jerusalem, Paris, and an exhibit at the New-York Historical Society.

“We are honored to be leading JDC during this upcoming centennial year and to celebrate this milestone with Vice President Biden, Secretary Kerry, and Secretary Lew, among so many other distinguished guests. Even as we recall JDC’s historic contribution to the Jewish people and to countless others over the last century, we are inspired and energized for what lies ahead in the next 100 years,” said JDC President Penny Blumenstein and CEO Alan H. Gill. “Every day we put into action the timeless ideal that all Jews are responsible for one another. During our time in Washington, we will explore how today that mission continues to inspire new paths to Jewish identity, lifts the most vulnerable out of despair, and allows us to connect new generations of Jews eager to save lives and strengthen their communities.”

Active today in more than 70 countries, JDC provides a broad range of programs that are alleviating poverty among the neediest Jews in the former Soviet Union and economically strapped Jewish communities in Europe. The group also fosters innovative Jewish community programming and paths to self-expression from Argentina to Poland. In addition, JDC creates and scales pioneering, strategic solutions to Israel’s social challenges by working with its government to help the country’s most vulnerable citizens integrate, work, and succeed.

Additionally, JDC provides a Jewish response to disasters, wars, and humanitarian crises in places like Philippines, Haiti, Japan, and Ethiopia. As part of these efforts, JDC has established major humanitarian partnerships with a broad range of governments and NGOs, including the U.S. Department of State and USAID, the Government of Israel, IRC, Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, ProDev, Susan G. Komen, and the Clinton/Bush Tsunami Fund. The D.C. gathering will include speakers and sessions on the special role of JDC in addressing the broader challenges of international relief.

Along with the Board and a range of special invitees, the event will also feature participants from JDC Entwine, JDC’s movement of young Jewish leaders, influencers, and advocates. Entwine sends more than 500 young Jews a year overseas to contribute 100,000+ hours of service to both Jewish communities and others in need. Through nine Learning Networks across America and the UK run by Entwine service alumni, Entwine fosters meaningful, peer-to-peer learning, combined with socializing and networking, to educate young Jews about issues from Jewish Cuba to social innovation in Israel.

JDC’s centennial events are steered by an esteemed ad-hoc committee chaired by Andrew Tisch and leading members Nancy Grosfeld, Sam Pollack, Jerry Spitzer, Patricia Werthan Uhlmann, Caryn Wolf Wechsler, and Jane Weitzman.

“For a century, JDC has been and continues to be a pillar of continuity and assure quality Jewish life around the world,” said Tisch. “I’m incredibly proud to be a small part of its story and to lead the efforts to recognize and celebrate JDC’s historic milestone.”

JDC was founded in 1914 to aid distressed Jewish communities in Ottoman Palestine and Eastern Europe suffering as a result of the First World War. Over the decades, JDC has played a key role in the lives of many of the 20th century’s most important political and social leaders, creative giants, and other luminaries: Artist Marc Chagall worked at a JDC’s children’s home in Russia teaching children; JDC helped future Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin escape Nazi-occupied Poland; and the organization worked with Raoul Wallenberg to save the lives of thousands of Jews during the Second World War. After the war, Holocaust survivors Elie Wiesel and former Israeli Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau were cared for by JDC in a children’s home in France.

Influential Americans like New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and entertainers Eddie Cantor, Edna Ferber, and Henry Fonda contributed to or helped promote JDC’s fundraisers. Scientist Albert Einstein took a strong leadership role in JDC’s efforts to save children from Europe during and after the Holocaust. Activists Helen Keller and Eleanor Roosevelt visited JDC’s early work sites in Israel and famed conductor Leonard Bernstein gave concerts for Jewish Holocaust survivors in JDC-supported Displaced Persons Camps after WWII.

JDC also touched the lives of artist Peter Max, former Treasury Secretary Michael Blumenthal, fashion designer Ilie Wacs, novelist David Bezmozgis, and family therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer. These historical connections and JDC’s dramatic narrative will be recalled in a centennial volume, I Live. Send Help. 100 Years of Jewish history in images from the JDC Archives, which is due out in January 2014.

Over the past century, JDC has been a key player in the lives of Jews during some of history’s most tragic and meaningful moments:

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Advance Team Heads to Island Nation to Ensure Impactful Response

As part of its ongoing response to the extraordinary devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is shipping a container of critically-important food, shelter, hygiene, and medical supplies to the island nation and will ensure fresh water, sanitation items, and shelter support for those on the ground through its partners the Afya Foundation and Catholic Relief Services. JDC will also provide life-saving equipment and supplies to the Israeli Defense Forces Field Hospital when it arrives in Philippines. JDC previously partnered with the field hospital in Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Japan. Additionally, JDC is providing emergency support for children through its partnership with UNICEF. JDC’s advance team of disaster relief and development experts, including a medical doctor and emergency field medic, is heading to the Philippines later this week to assess needs and work with its local/international partners and the Filipino Jewish community to ensure maximum impact for survivors.

“Even while we mourn the loss of so many lives, we are working around the clock to ensure that the Filipino people are cared for as quickly and responsibly as possible. There are serious challenges ahead in the short term, but our partnerships with the IDF Field Hospital, Afya Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, and UNICEF represent a strategic and high-impact solution to the overwhelming despair Filipinos face everyday,” said JDC CEO Alan H. Gill.

Harrowing reports out of disaster zones detail hundreds of thousands of people left homeless, extreme supply shortages, and slow-moving rescue and recovery efforts. These efforts are even further complicated by the vast scale of the Philippines — made up of thousands islands — and the overwhelming medical, nutritional, and emotional needs of millions of people in the most-affected regions. JDC has therefore focused its immediate response on the organization of relief supplies and state-of-the-art medical care to address the growing crisis among storm survivors.

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, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Israeli relief agencies, and the United Nations.

JDC has provided immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters around the globe, including 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 Super Typhoon Haiyan

JDC Once Again Works in Philippines, Which Saved Jews During WWII.

In the aftermath of the destruction wrought by super Typhoon Haiyan in the , The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee () has begun collecting funds for relief efforts. Responding to a quickly rising death toll and catastrophic destruction, staff experts are consulting with local authorities, the Filipino Jewish community, and global partners to assess the unfolding situation on the ground and ensure survivors’ immediate needs are addressed. The typhoon, one of the strongest storms in recorded history, caused widespread damage to the island nation, especially the hardest-hit central city of Tacloban, and is barreling its way towards Vietnam.

“Our heartfelt prayers go out to the Filipino people in the wake of yesterday’s deadly storm. We immediately activated our network of global partners and will leverage our previous experience in the region to provide immediate, strategic relief to survivors in their time of need,” said Alan H. Gill, ‘s Chief Executive Officer. “These efforts are especially poignant for us given the ‘s life-saving actions during the Second World War when the country offered safe haven to more than 1,000 Jewish refugees fleeing the Nazi onslaught. It is our privilege today to honor that historic debt.”

As damage reports and casualty rates continue to grow, hundreds of thousands of Filipinos remain inaccessible, without power and shelter in the wake of Haiyan, called Typhoon Yolanda in the . has a history operating in the , previously helping to fight post-typhoon cholera through an Israeli partner in 2009 and working to enhance emerging Jewish community life through the inclusion of the Filipino Jewish community members in pan-Asian Jewish events. During the buildup to World War II, ensured the emigration of more than 1,000 European Jews escaping Nazi persecution to the island nation. The story of European Jews who took refuge was the subject of “Rescue in the ,” a recently released documentary. It followed the remarkable story of how one family — the Frieders — together with the helped bring hundreds of European Jews to Manila, saving them from near certain death in the Holocaust.

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

has provided immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters around the globe, including 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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Warsaw Jews to Open First JCC in Polish Capital

JDC, The Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, and Koret Foundation Empower Polish Jews at New, Boutique Center

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jews of Warsaw will inaugurate the city’s first-ever modern Jewish Community Center in the Polish capital on October 27. Funded by JDC, the Taube Foundation for Jewish Life and Culture, the Koret Foundation, and many other donors, the new JCC is the second in the country and will serve as a boutique hub for a vast array of Jewish cultural, educational, and community programs and activities, many taking place outside the JCC’s walls, for Warsaw’s multi-generational Jewish community.

“The opening of the JCC is yet another chapter in the remarkable story of the revival of Jewish life in this country,” said JDC CEO Alan Gill. “It’s a testament to the perseverance of Polish Jews that they are continuing to rebuild their institutions after surviving near annihilation followed by decades of oppression. JDC is delighted to have teamed up once again with the Jews of Warsaw and esteemed funding partners and passionate activists like Tad Taube to help facilitate this new flagship for Polish Jews to be empowered, innovate, and create their own brand of Jewish identity.’

Warsaw Deputy Mayor Włodzimierz Paszyński, Israeli Ambassador Zvi Ravner, U.S. embassy representatives as well as Jewish community members — including the Beit Warsawa, Beit Polska, and Etz Chaim progressive congregations and the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland — will also be in attendance. The dedication ceremony will include a jazz band, kosher food, an exhibition of photography of JCC Without Walls programs, and activity demonstrations by JCC members. Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich will hang the mezuzah and recite the dedication prayer.

The 3,000-square-foot free-standing building will serve as the boutique center for Jewish activities that will take place in the space and also continue outside its walls in venues like museums, cafes, and other alternative spaces. Located in one of Central Warsaw’s hippest neighborhoods, the JCC will offer a range of activities around the year including cooking classes, childcare, training programs, Jewish education, theater classes, and a book club to the 900 preregistered members. Before its conversion, the building was a popular cafe.

The JCC will also be the central hub for the numerous “JCC Without Walls” programs that have become popular in Warsaw in the last number of years. These have included Jewish street festivals, artistic sukkah installations, and cafe educational programs that draw newly engaged, curious, and fully involved Jews in Jewish life in the city. This formula — a small, centrally energized building that creates programming inside and on the street — addresses the new reality of Jewish engagement that requires various entry points for involvement.

Today, Poland is home to an estimated 25,000 Jews who have access to synagogues of every Jewish denomination, community-wide Sabbath dinners, camping experiences, Jewish learning conferences, Jewish music and food, as well as youth clubs, urban holiday events, study groups, and classes for those who have just discovered their Jewish roots. Poland’s first JCC opened in Krakow in 2008, is supported by JDC, and has quickly become a fixture in the life of the local community.

These activities and programs are the result of investments by local and international Jewish organizations, philanthropists, and advocates running the full, pluralistic gamut of religious movements and cultural options. Poland was once home to Europe’s largest Jewish population before the Nazis murdered 3 million Jews during the Second World War. The country’s remaining Jews were then persecuted under Communist rule.

Although JDC has worked in Poland since shortly after its founding in 1914 and through WWII, it re-entered Poland in 1981 to provide relief services during the Cold War era. Today, JDC continues that work with the local community and across the vast spectrum of religious movements and organizations to ensure the well-being of impoverished elderly and other vulnerable Jews and to help Polish Jews reconnect to Judaism and secure a vibrant future.

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JDC and Susan G. Komen ® Host Sixth Bosnia and Herzegovina Race for the Cure® in Sarajevo

Thousands of Bosnians — Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Jews — will gather in Sarajevo on October 5th for the Sixth Bosnia and Herzegovina Race for the Cure, an annual event raising breast-cancer awareness in the country. Organized by Women’s Health Empowerment Program (WHEP), a partnership of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and Susan G. Komen , the event will draw local celebrities and politicians as well as activists from 23 cities, transcending ethnic and religious affiliation, to fight against one of the Balkans’ leading killers among women.

“Where a woman lives shouldn’t determine whether a woman lives, and our Bosnia and Herzegovina Race for the Cure is a bold example of how far we’ve come in making sure women everywhere have access to quality breast cancer health,” said Nancy G. Brinker, founder and chair of global strategy for Susan G. Komen. “Our partnership with JDC is a valued one and gets us closer to the promise I made to my dying sister Suzy that one day we will put an end to this disease throughout the world.”

All proceeds from the Race -; with an estimated 6,000 participants -; help fund post-surgery health kits and mammogram screenings for under-served women and women with no insurance in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Last year’s race helped pay for some 1,300 post post-surgery health and care packages to every woman diagnosed with breast cancer in the country as well as close to 700 mammogram (and other health related) checkups for underserved women and women with no health insurance.

“The 6th annual Race for the Cure in Sarajevo not only raises the profile of the fight against breast cancer here in Bosnia, it demonstrates the incredible power of WHEP to transform the lives of women by delivering hope, proactive education, and life-saving care. We’re proud our partnership with Susan G. Komen is ensuring those priceless results to so many women and their families,” JDC CEO Alan Gill.

Besides organizing the race, WHEP conducts a range of breast cancer awareness activities throughout the year. Initiatives include providing more than 2,200 breast cancer survivors with psychological support, distributing 95,000 copies of educational materials on the disease throughout the country and educating 15,400 high school and university students about breast self-awareness through lectures.

Today, countrywide WHEP awareness-building and cooperation between medical professionals, researchers, non-governmental organizations, and activists and survivors boosts efforts to prevent and treat breast cancer. WHEP, a JDC-Komen partnership program, is an innovative overseas public movement that encourages the early detection of breast cancer.

The annual Race for the Cure, which is part of Susan G. Komen’s Global Race for the Cure series, provides breast cancer survivors and supporters a powerful way to unite behind the cause of increasing awareness of breast cancer and improving early detection of the disease. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women and the leading cause of death among women worldwide. Every 74 seconds, somewhere in the world, someone dies from breast cancer. The event also provides participants the chance to make a difference for local women because all funds raised will remain in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Race for the Cure Series, Komen’s signature event, is the world’s largest and most successful education and fundraising event for breast cancer. More than 1.5 million participate in the Race Series annually.

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4th Annual JDC Jewish Informal Education Conference in Lvov Enriches Region’s Jewish Future, Explores Galacia’s Past

More than one hundred fifty Jewish educators, community professionals, and volunteers from the former Soviet Union and Israel will gather in Lvov, Ukraine on October 13 to take part in the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s fourth annual Jewish Informal Education Conference. The four-day confab on community-building and Jewish learning will engage participants in a variety of network-building opportunities, knowledge sharing workshops, and Jewish education best practices. They will also explore contemporary Jewish life in the former Soviet Union and the significance of the Galicia region to Jewish history.

“Its nothing short of miraculous that Lvov is once again playing host to this vast region’s Jewish revival. The passionate desire among these educators to improve their fluency in our tradition and to bring it home to their local Jewish communities is testament to the work we have been doing for more than twenty years,” said Ofer Glanz, Director of JDC’s Former Soviet Union Department.

Conference participants — who work for Jewish community centers, Hesed welfare centers, youth clubs, family camps, kindergartens, and other Jewish outlets throughout the FSU — will also lead sessions on spirituality, assimilation, Jewish culture and history, Israel, and religious practice. Additional workshops relate to the development of Jewish arts with an emphasis on crafts, theater, and music. Participants will also tour several fortified synagogues, a rare and unique architectural style that once proliferated in the area.

Among those attending are Kolya Rilan, a Kishinev-based social entrepreneur who founded a Jewish youth club five years ago that today boasts 400 members and hosts a range of cultural and social activities on weekends and Jewish holidays; Kharkov educator Zhenya Loftnik, who is devoted to the revival of Yiddish in Eastern Europe and organized a series of Yiddish-language and cultural events including music concerts, dance contests, and poetry readings; and Alla Magas, 30, also of Kharkov and a graduate of a progressive Jewish educators institute, will share her experiences as an educator in Eastern Europe.

For centuries, Galicia and its capital Lvov were home to one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe. Known for their spirituality and candor, “Galitzianers,” as locals were called in Yiddish, were immortalized in the novels of Sholem Aleichem and paintings of Marc Chagall. Jewish communities in the region were decimated by the Holocaust, yet about 5,000 Jews still call it home. Today in Lvov and the surrounding area, JDC operates a Hesed, supports a local JCC, and a variety of other services and programs for the Jewish community.

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JDC Global Kitchen Facebook App Offers Global Rosh Hashanah Recipes, DIY Videos

In time for the Jewish New Year on September 4th, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has released its Global Kitchen Facebook App offering Rosh Hashanah recipes from around the world accompanied by a set of do-it-yourself cooking videos. The recipes were collected through JDC’s Facebook network. You can download the recipes, watch the videos, and share this package by visiting the Global Kitchen App at .

“By utilizing Facebook and other social media platforms, we’ve been able to robustly engage our global Jewish audience in our rich holiday traditions. Today’s globalized technology not only connects people to each other, but lets them directly discover and share new aspects of our shared heritage across the broad spectrum of Jewish life,” said Graham Cannon, JDC’s Chief Marketing Officer.

This year’s featured dishes include lekach, a spiced honey cake from the British Isles; a traditional kugel from Eastern Europe; and matoke, a sweet plantain-based stew from Africa. Previous JDC Global Rosh Hashanah recipes — from a Hungarian Plum Tzimmes to a Indian Cornflour-Coconut Halva — can be found at .

Around the world at Rosh Hashanah time, JDC provides holiday aid and free or subsidized programming to needy Jews and Jewish communities. From holiday food packages and cash stipends, to home visits by young people to elderly homebound Jews and a festive annual Rosh Hashanah street fair, JDC ensures all community members can celebrate the New Year with joy.

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Charity Navigator Again Awards JDC its Highest Rating

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (), the world’s leading Jewish humanitarianassistance organization, received Charity Navigator’s highest 4-star rating again this year. This distinction recognizes ‘s ability to outperform most charities in America through its comprehensive financial management, accountability, and transparency.

“In a world where we work tirelessly to support Jews in need, shape the Jewish future, and respond to crises at a moment’s notice, we’re proud that ‘s regard as a dependable and steadfast philanthropic investment has been again recognized by Charity Navigator,” said ‘s CEO Alan H. Gill.

has previously been named one of Charity Navigator’s “10 of the Best Charities Everyone’s Heard Of”; was among the top 100 charities in the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual “Philanthropy 400” listing; and is an accredited charity with the Better Business Bureau.

“Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that your organization adheres to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way … This ‘exceptional’ designation from Charity Navigator differentiates American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust,” wrote Ken Berger, President and CEO of Charity Navigator.

Charity Navigator — the largest independent evaluator of philanthropies in the U.S. — provides information and evaluates the financial health of more than 5,000 charities.

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“Destination Shanghai” Gathers Asian Jewish Leaders for Learning and Innovation

JDC, Limmud China, and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network Host 4-Day Event, Including Young Regional and Global Jewish Activists

Nearly two hundred Jews from Asia and around the world will arrive here on April 4 for Destination , a four-day gathering of Jewish learning, creativity, and history in Asia. With sixty educational and cultural workshops, a Shabbat experience, and a day dedicated to ‘s WWII Jewish history and global Jewish responsibility, the event is a project of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (), Limmud China, and avolunteer network of Asian Jewish community leaders. Forty regional young Jewish leaders will attend through a partnership with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network. Entwine (‘s young adult movement) is bringing a global cohort of young adult activists as well. Participants come from , , , , , the , and the

“Destination is a unique opportunity to explore and celebrate what it means to be Jewish in Asia, how we integrate our lives as Jewish expats, navigating between our community and the local culture we are surrounded by. It’s about who we are right now, building a community together and what we want it to be and become,” Rebecca Kanthor, Program Chair of Limmud China and a resident of China for a decade.

Destination participants will network; boost local, regional, and global ties; and continue the pan-Asian Jewish gathering started at Limmud Beijing in 2012. What and Limmud International started last year as a one-day event in collaboration with a local community, has turned into a full-blown, grassroots, and volunteer-run conference, incorporating peer-led sessions on the Jewish history of and Hong Kong; Jewish/Chinese pickle-making; Creativity in China; the Jews of India; raising third culture Jewish kids; children of Refugees; the relationship between Chinese and Jewish people; and Jewish global development projects.

“Asia’s fast-growing Jewish population has a talent for home-grown innovation. We’re proud to create an intensive space where Jewish leaders can work together, be creative, and utilize ‘s community development expertise and global connections to strengthen emerging Jewish life in this part of the world,” said ‘s CEO Alan Gill. “We’re especially grateful for the passionate dedication of Limmud China, the local volunteers, and the Schusterman Philanthropic Network’s extraordinary commitment to the young adult leaders of this regional Jewish renaissance.’

The Shabbat will feature worship and celebration with the city’s Chabad, Liberal, and Sephardic Jewish communities. Additionally, the group will also spend a day commemorating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Hongkou Ghetto and explore ‘s Jewish population during WWII, including a special sessions by Asian Jewish Life Editor Erica Lyons on hero Laura Margolis (who cared for thousands of Jewish refugees who had escaped the Holocaust in Europe) and a theater performance by Zalman and Avram Mlotek, leading Yiddish theater experts. The full program can be found at:

“We are excited to partner with Limmud China and to engage talented, creative young Jews in dialogue and learning on topics of local, regional and global significance. As an international hub with a rich Jewish history, is the ideal backdrop to spark new ideas and partnerships that can have a meaningful impact on strengthening Jewish communities across Asia,” said Sandy Cardin, President of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network, which will be sharing its network-building expertise with Destination participants.

East Asia ishome to an estimated 20,000 Jews, including many ex-pats as well as those from indigenous Jewish communities. In , about 5-6,000 Jews can be found on the mainland and a little more than 4,000 Jews in . Asia is made up oflong-standing, organized Jewish communities — like those in , , and — and newer, smaller communities of corporate executives, entrepreneurs, managers, diplomats, and teachers in international schools and colleges. Many Jewish organizations have been active in Asia, including Chabad, , Kehilat Beijing, and the Progressive Judaism movement, among others.

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JDC Names Pamela Joy Shatzkes, Lior Sternfeld as Fred and Ellen Lewis JDC Archives Fellows

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee () announced that Pamela Joy Shatzkes and Lior Sternfeld, two scholars, were named Fred and Ellen Lewis Archives Fellows. Designed for scholars engaged in graduate level, post-doctoral, or independent study, the Fellowship — now in its second year — is for research in the Archives facilities in or .

“We’re delighted to award the Archives Fellowship to Dr. Shatzkes and Mr. Sternfeld, scholars whose research will undoubtedly enrich our understanding of modern Jewish history. At a time when historic archives are being accessed in new and exciting ways, this Fellowship actively encourages the use of ‘s renowned collection by anyone seeking insight into Jewish life and ‘s life-saving work for nearly one hundred years,” said Global Archives Director Linda Levi.

Pamela Joy Shatzkes, a London-based scholar with a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, is author of . Her Fellowship research will focus on the recovery of Jewish orphans who survived the Holocaust in the care of Christian families, monasteries, and convents. Lior Sternfeld is a Ph.D. candidate inHistory at the University of Texas at Austin. His Fellowship research will focus on the Jewish community in pre-revolution Iran who lived under the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi (1941-1979).

The Fellowship — created through a bequest from former, longtime employee Ellen Lewis (whose family was helped by in the Shanghai Ghetto) — is designed for research in the fields of twentieth century Jewish history, general history, and humanitarian assistance, as well as other areas of academic or cultural research covered in the archival collections. An Academic Advisory Committee consisting of leading scholars as well as Board Member Jerome Spitzer and Adam Sacks of the Archives Committee was responsible for selecting the inaugural fellows. Scholars include ProfessorMarion Kaplan of NYU, Professor Jane Gerber of the City University GraduateCenter, and Professor David Fishman of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

‘s Global Archives document activities of the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization from its inception in 1914 to today. The repository houses one of the most significant collections in the world for the study of modern Jewish history. Comprising the organizationalrecords of , the Archives includes over 3 miles of text documents, 100,000 photographs, 1,100 audio recordings including 95 oral histories, 1,300 video recordings, and 157 recorded historic speeches and broadcasts. A sampling of these materials can be viewed at ‘s Global Archives website at .

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JDC Advances Women as Change Leaders at 2nd International Workshop

Seventeen prominent female NGO and civil society leaders will participate in the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) Second International Women’s Leadership Workshop on Sunday, March 3. The five-day intensive seminar, based in Israel, will focus on women as proactive change makers and provide educational, networking, and professional development opportunities in global development and disaster relief. Participants come from thirteen countries, including Argentina, Bosnia, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Russia, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Tanzania, and the U.S.

“One of the most powerful trends we see in humanitarian work today is the unparalleled role of women as trailblazers and forces for good in communities worldwide. We’re very proud to have these leaders join us and be enriched by JDC’s global expertise. This is an important opportunity to further cultivate a growing network of women who can connect, collaborate, and innovate across borders and during times of crisis,” JDC CEO Alan H. Gill.

The participants — many of whom have previously worked with JDC as partners in its humanitarian and development efforts around the world — include: , president of ProDev in Haiti; , director of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) in India; , senior program/research officer at the Human Rights Centre of the University of Sarajevo in Bosnia; , Director of Shalom Bait in Argentina; , founder and executive director of the Afya Foundation in the U.S.; and , CEO and founder of Center for Curative Pedagogics in Russia.

In addition to sessions on empowering women, partnership building, and best practices training, this year’s program features a forum on Adaptive Leadership with Professor Marty Linsky of Cambridge Leadership Associates. Participants will also spend a day exploring JDC-Israel operations, with site visits to programs focused on people with disabilities, education, employment, and community development.

Participants have also chosen to hone their skills in resource development, impact measurement, and public speaking through a series of workshops run JDC experts. As part of their post-Workshop activities, all seminar participants have committed to establishing similar networking and peer support undertakings in their home-countries, after receiving training during their five days.

For nearly 100 years, JDC’s humanitarian interventions and development programs have ensured immediate relief and long-term support tovictims of natural and manmade disasters around the globe, most recently inJapan, Haiti, South Asia, Turkey, and Kosovo. The organization empowers local leaders, rebuilds infrastructure, and revitalizes community life in disaster-stricken regions and coordinates its relief activities in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State, USAID, Interaction, the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the United Nations, and Israeli relief agencies.

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Three Years Later in Haiti, JDC Focuses on Education, Job Skills, and Leadership Training

Three years after the earthquake in , the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee () is investing in schools and educational campuses, vocational training to help build the country’s future workforce, and an civil society leaders for a sustainable future. Through $8.7 million dollars in donations from the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors, ‘s projects have reached more than 300,000 ans, or roughly 10 percent of those impacted by the earthquake, to date. ‘s work in has been done in collaboration with an, Israeli, and other NGO partners.

“Even as we continue our work in by ensuring access to best-in-class educational resources and leadership training, we’ve created self-sustaining and transformative programs that will outlast and contribute beyond our initial investment,” said Judy Amit, global director of ‘s International Development Program. “We’re proud that our support for the renowned HUEH rehab center and nearby prosthetics clinic, Zoranje educational campus, functional product workshop, and builders program will continue to provide ans with hope well into the future.”

Among its other projects, began the reconstruction and modernization of an elementary and secondary school in Fondwa (southwest of ) and provided a clean water supply, library space, perimeter fence, and playground at L’Ecole de Choix in Mirebalais. also completed a project to improve the integration of children with disabilities into ‘s schools by upgrading accessibility and providing sensitivity training for teachers, parents, and children.

Additionally, 70 students are currently training in nursing and telecommunications at the -supported vocational training school in . is also a partner in the recently launched an Center for Leadership and Excellence, which is building civil society leadership in , especially among women. The Center will provide leadership education programs, research on local an development success stories and innovations, and build public awareness campaigns to reinforce the work of a new generation of civic leaders in .

Following Hurricane Sandy, provided emergency support to those in the hardest-hit areas. Cooperating with previously established partners, supported anti-cholera community outreach and educational activities, clinical staff support and treatment supplies, ready relief boxes, hygiene kits, and fuel for response vehicles in the hurricane zone.

In 2013, will continue its work in the educational and training sphere as well as hand-over some of its programs to local partners who have been involved in their inception or who have specialized expertise in these project areas. You can learn more about these programs and many others at

‘s operational partners in include: The Afya Foundation; The Bond Street Theater; Catholic Relief Services; Chabad-Lubavitch of the Dominican Republic; The Coady International Institute; EcoWorks International; Heart to Heart International; International Medical Corps; The International Rescue Committee; The Israel Trauma Coalition; L’Ecole de Choix; Magen David Adom; Mashav; The Medical Corps of the Israel Defense Forces; Partners in Health; PRODEV; Sheba Medical Center; USAID; UNICEF ; U.S.Fund for UNICEF; and World ORT.

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Ruderman Family Foundation, JDC, and Government of Israel Expand Disabilities Partnership

$12.5 Million Expansion Enables New Growth in Inclusion Programming and Focus on Employment for Israelis with Disabilities

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (), the Ruderman Family Foundation, and the Government of announced a dramatic $12.5 million expansion of their Unlimited Partnership for Israeli adults with disabilities as a result of a new landmark $4 million lead grant from the Ruderman Family Foundation. The grant will further expand the Partnership’s groundbreaking work in inclusion, ensure a focus on employment (a key challenge in this community), and will be matched by and the Israeli government. Founded in 2009, Unlimited has reached tens of thousands of Israelis with disabilities to date and is dedicated to the inclusion of people with disabilities by empowering them to advocate on their own behalf and live independently, and by highlighting their integral role as Israeli citizens.

“We want to be second to none in its inclusion of people with disabilities throughout society. Our strategic effort has enabled the implementation of nation-wide change through innovative programs that ensure, above all, that people with disabilities are full members of ‘s national tapestry,” said Jay Ruderman, President of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “As we move into our next phase, we will build on our past successes and further promote the notion that people with disabilities are people with abilities.”

In the past three years, Unlimited — which was launched through an initial $6 million from the partners -; has expanded services for Israelis with significant disabilities, including those who are homebound, through localized increases in services, including transportation and home care. It has focused on programs for Israeli Arabs and immigrants with disabilities and initiatives to prevent violence against people with disabilities by family or caregivers. Additionally, it launched a public program for Israelis with and without disabilities to collaborate on street performances and other events that demonstrate the challenges and positive contribution of people with disabilities.

“We are proud to continue our transformative work with the Ruderman Family Foundation and the Israeli government. As one of the largest minority groups in , people with disabilities need a new generation of services that advance independent living and ensure total participation in ‘s civic life — we are dedicated to delivering on that promise,” said Alan Gill, ‘s Incoming CEO, and one of the architects of Unlimited.

In the next stage, the partners will focus on employment for people with disabilities through and the Government of ‘s Tevet employment initiative; ensuring accessible housing and services that promote independent living; expanding person-centered services and focusing on new groups like Haredim (Ultra Orthodox Jews) with disabilities; and developing projects that help adults with disabilities cope with loneliness. Additionally, new public awareness campaigns about people with disabilities will reinforce the overall message of inclusivity and acceptance.

“I would like to commend the partnership for people with disabilities between the Welfare Ministry, , and the Ruderman Family Foundation. This partnership promotes their status and develops services to advance the inclusion of people with disabilities in society,” said Moshe Kahlon, Israeli Minister of Welfare and Social Services.

is home to nearly one million adults with disabilities, with nearly 20 percent having moderate to severe disabilities. More than 260,000 of those Israeli adults with disabilities are entitled to social security and the numbers are growing rapidly. At the same time, only 52 percent of people with disabilities in are employed, compared with 74 percent of the general population. And people with disabilities earn nearly 2,200 NIS less than the general population. Additionally, 40 percent of parents with disabilities have children under the age of 18, making the services provided by Unlimited invaluable.

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JDC Continues Israel Crisis Response In the Field, Online

Even as hundreds of rockets from Gaza have barraged Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s () emergency response continues on the ground and now online in a new effort reaching the Israeli public. As volunteers are deploying in bomb shelters and emergency kits for the elderly and people with disabilities are prepped and distributed, ( is offering videos and tip on how to handle children’s trauma, information for people with disabilities and those helping them in times of emergency, and instructions for how elderly Israelis can cope or can be assisted during the crisis.
“At this time of continued conflict, remains at the forefront of efforts to ensure that those Israelis most in need are reached, helped, and comforted. We are carrying out this most critical task with the tremendous support of our most valued partners in the Jewish Federations of North America, the Jewish federation system, the broad spectrum of American Jewish religious movements, and so many others,” said President Penny Blumenstein and Interim CEO Darrell Friedman.
Since the beginning of the crisis, immediately began caring for people with disabilities, the elderly, children at risk, and others through a variety of programs including hot meal distribution, care for displaced families, and constant outreach and aid provision to the disabled. is also:

works closely with Israel’s Ministries of Social Affairs and Social Welfare, Education and Health, the Home Front Command, and the National Emergency Network during times of crisis. ‘s emergency response in Israel is based on expertise and programmatic initiatives developed during the second intifada, the Second Lebanon War, and the Carmel Fires disaster. This response ensures that support and assistance can be delivered quickly and effectively.

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