One Month After Nepal Quake, JDC Aiding Tens of Thousands

Focus on Nepali women, teachers, and community leaders alleviates poverty and trauma

A month after Nepal was hit by the biggest earthquake in 80 years, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is providing aid to to tens of thousands of survivors; conducting post trauma counseling and training for teachers and women leaders; and launching a livelihood restoration program for women vulnerable to extreme poverty and trafficking. The organization’s second deployment of development experts will also depart for Nepal and focus on early and long term recovery in the face of widespread fear of another quake, the impending monsoon season, and worsened conditions from a second deadly earthquake. “While the challenges in Nepal remain great, we have already ensured life-saving support to devastated survivors, remain dedicated to the future of this slowly recovering country, and call on the Jewish and international community to join us in our ongoing efforts,” said Mandie Winston, director of JDC’s International Development Program. “That future will depend on the fortitude and resilience of its citizens — especially women, teachers, and community leaders — who must strengthen and protect families and communities in the difficult months and years ahead.” JDC, in cooperation with partners on the ground, have already delivered shelter supplies, hygiene items, medical supplies, clean water, and food to over 36,000 people. Its staff experts have aided remote villages, ensuring critically needed basic goods, reinforced local structures, and secured supplies for the monsoon season. Together with the Israel Trauma Coalition, JDC provided one week of psychosocial training and burnout support for teachers and women community leaders who are now using those skills in schools and in women’s collectives in hard-hit areas. The organization has also secured and provided more than 20,000 pounds of medical and shelter supplies for localhospitals and other humanitarian actors in Nepal.JDC’s Nepal partners include: the IDF Field Hospital, Tevel b’Tzedek, UNICEF, the Afya Foundation, the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute, Sarvodaya – Teach for Nepal, Israel Trauma Coalition, Heart to Heart International, and Magen David Adom. JDC 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. 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 agencies, and the UN coordination mechanism OCHA. To Make a Contribution: Online: https://www.jdc.org/nepalearthquake By Phone: 212-687-6200 By Mail: JDC Nepal Earthquake ReliefP.O. Box 4124New York, NY 10163United States Please make check payable to “JDC Nepal Earthquake Relief”

Read More

JDC Assessing New Nepal Quake Damage, Renews Urgent Call for Aid

With news of another major earthquake striking Nepal today, this time near country’s eastern border with China, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) called on the Jewish and international community to renew its efforts to ensure more aid to the beleaguered South Asian nation. JDC was immediately in touch with its representatives and partners on the ground, located in western Nepal -; site of the greatest damage from the April 25th quake that killed thousands and impacted more than 8 million people -; and in India, to assess damage and needs emerging from the new disaster zone. “This latest earthquake is a heart wrenching reminder of the urgency for the continued flow of aid to Nepal, a country that has not even begun to heal from the wounds of the first quake two weeks ago. This new development exacerbates existing challenges on the ground and renews deep fears and widespread trauma. Our hearts once again go out to the people of Nepal at this time of disaster and sorrow,” said Mandie Winston, Director of JDC’s International Development Program. JDC and its partners have aided thousands since the first earthquake struck, ensuring medicine, food, water, hygiene products and shelter to survivors in Kathmandu and in remote villages in Western Nepal. The organization was preparing fragile communities ahead of monsoon season and drawing up long term rehabilitation plans when the new 7.3 magnitude earthquake emanating from a point near Mt. Everest occurred. JDC has carried out a three-pronged plan in Nepal to date: the deployment of its expert disaster relief team to Nepal; the support of locally-based partners to ensure medical care and relief supplies within days of the first quake; and the packing and shipping of medical and humanitarian supplies from the U.S. JDC’s partners in Nepal include the IDF Field Hospital, Tevel b’Tzedek, UNICEF, the Afya Foundation, the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute, Sarvodaya – Teach for Nepal, Heart to Heart International, and Magen David Adom. JDC’s disaster relief programs are funded by special appeals of the Jewish Federations 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 agencies, and the UN coordination mechanism OCHA. To Make a Contribution: Online: https://www.jdc.org/nepalearthquake By Phone: 212-687-6200 By Mail: JDC Nepal Earthquake ReliefP.O. Box 4124New York, NY 10163United States Please make check payable to “JDC Nepal Earthquake Relief” 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

Read More

One Week Later, JDC Urges Continued Support to Nepal

JDC disaster response team delivers relief; Aids thousands together with partners

A week after Nepal was hit by the biggest earthquake in 80 years, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is aiding thousands of survivors through its relief efforts with partners on the ground and is dispatching its disaster relief team from Kathmandu to remote villages to deliver aid and assess emerging needs in hard-hit areas. The team will assist in the delivery of first aid and shelter supplies, hygiene items, oral re-hydration solution, food packages, and other supplies to 1,400 families over the coming days. “Even while we’re helping survivors to heal throughout Nepal, we know more must be done and urge the public to continue its generous support of critically needed relief in this devastated country,” said Mandie Winston, director of JDC’s International Development Program. “Millions of Nepalese are facing harrowing conditions and the need for their immediate care, recovery, and reconstruction efforts is required to secure Nepal’s future. Our efforts are focused on that path and to ensure the dignity of every human life along the way.” To date, JDC has operated on three fronts in Nepal: the deployment of its expert disaster relief team on the ground; the support of locally-based partners to ensure medical care and relief supplies within days of the quake; and the packing and shipping of medical and humanitarian supplies from the U.S. These efforts have ensured life-saving medical treatment, food, clean water, and shelter for Nepalese victims still reeling from the unprecedented natural disaster. It has also enabled the assessment of needs and delivery of aid in real time, in tandem with changes on the ground, and the coordination of JDC’s network of local and international NGO partners working in Nepal. These partners include: the IDF Field Hospital, Tevel b’Tzedek, UNICEF, the Afya Foundation, the All India Disaster Mitigation Institute, Sarvodaya – Teach for Nepal, Heart to Heart International, and Magen David Adom. JDC 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. 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 agencies, and the UN coordination mechanism OCHA. To Make a Contribution: Online: https://www.jdc.org/nepalearthquake By Phone: 212-687-6200 By Mail: JDC Nepal Earthquake ReliefP.O. Box 4124New York, NY 10163United States Please make check payable to “JDC Nepal Earthquake Relief” 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

Read More

JDC Sends Urgent Relief To Nepal, Partners with IDF Field Hospital

JDC Disaster Team Heads to Nepal to Deploy Response

Following the deadly earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is providing relief and medical supplies -; including shelter, nutritional items, sanitation, and water -; for survivors of the tremor that killed at least 2,200 and injured 5,800. JDC will once again partner with Israeli Defense Forces field hospital in Napalese capital Kathmandu through the provision of equipment, including neonatal incubators. JDC previously partnered with the field hospital in Philippines, Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Japan. In the coming days, JDC’s disaster relief team — including its veteran crisis experts, an emergency field medic, and its India country director — will arrive in Nepal and assess needs and ensure an impactful response for survivors. “As we ensure that aid crucial to the survival and wellbeing of victims in the first days following a disaster are secured and distributed, our team will begin to lay the foundation for our longer term efforts to help the Nepalese people recover from this unprecedented crisis,” said Mandie Winston, director of JDC’s International Development Program. “Given the dire conditions on the ground, and challenges that existed before the earthquake, we are focused on ensuring that the most vulnerable -; women, children, the elderly, and people with special needs -; are protected and cared for now and in the future.” In addition to the IDF Field Hospital, JDC’s partners in Nepal include: Tevel B’Tzedek, an Israeli humanitarian group with longstanding presence in Nepal and UNICEF, which JDC has partnered with on many previous disasters including in the Philippines and Haiti. JDC has also activated its network in the region and is coordinating with more than a dozen existing international and Asia-based partners to prioritize aid and address critical and emerging needs. 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 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 agencies, and the UN coordination mechanism OCHA.

Read More

JDC Responds to Deadly Nepal Earthquake

In the wake of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has begun collecting funds for emerging relief efforts. Amid a quickly rising death toll and widespread destruction in Kathmandu and the surrounding region (including northeast India), JDC’s staff experts in India are consulting with the local authorities, the Nepalese and Indian governments, and global partners to assess the unfolding situation on the ground and ensure survivors’ immediate needs are addressed. “We extend our deepest condolences and prayers to the Nepalese people at this time of heart-wrenching tragedy. Together our network of global partners, we are drawing on our vast experience and standing presence in South Asia to ensure relief to survivors in their time of need.” said Alan H. Gill, JDC’s CEO. “Today, as we have done many times in the past, we are standing as one with all humankind by deploying a Jewish response to a crisis impacting millions.” The earthquake -; which flattened buildings, triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, and has resulted in a death toll of more than 1,000 people -; is one of the worst in Nepal’s recent history. The Hindu-majority nation, which is known for its mountainous terrain and hiking tourism, is a popular travel destination for Israelis, who are reported to be among those impacted while visiting the country, and is home to a Chabad House. 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. 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 agencies, and the United Nations.

Read More

Highly Competitive Program Offers 12-month Opportunity To Engage In Jewish Needs Worldwide

Applications for the 2016 Ralph I. Goldman (RIG) Fellowship -; an annual paid, professional opportunity to live overseas and engage in the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s work addressing Jewish and humanitarian needs -; are now being accepted at through May 31. Each year, a RIG Fellow is chosen in a highly competitive selection process to gain exposure to the most pressing issues facing the Jewish people in some of the more than 70 countries where JDC operates. Past fellows have worked on Jewish identity cultivation in Hungary and Argentina, emergency relief work in the Philippines, and international development in Ethiopia. Eliran Douenias -; this year’s Fellow and the first person to receive the fellowship after the death of Ralph I. Goldman (z”l), the towering Jewish leader for whom the program is named -; is currently in Berlin where he is focused on further strengthening Jewish community services for Germany’s expanding community. “Our beloved Ralph Goldman dedicated his life to the Jewish people, Israel, and bettering humankind, especially by cultivating visionary young people. There is no more fitting testament to that legacy than to have Eliran Douenias, deeply dedicated to these efforts, to serve as this year’s RIG Fellow. There’s a wondrous reciprocity there that I know Ralph would have loved,” said JDC CEO Alan H. Gill. “At this time of tremendous change in the Jewish and wider world, the need for bright, young Jews who can take on future challenges is paramount and we know the RIG Fellowship is critical to building this cohort of Jewish leadership.” Douenias served as an officer in the IDF for 7 years; led Young Ambassadors delegations to the UN Headquarters; co-founded Olam, an Israeli social enterprise organization; and was selected to participate in Kriat Kivun, a unique program of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office for young leaders in the public sector. In 2014, Eliran received his Master’s Degree in Law at Bar-Ilan University and was appointed as Vice Chairman of Youth Division for The Israel Communication and Press Association. “Whenever you enter a JDC space, you feel the saying kol yisrael arevim zeh la’zeh come to life.” said Douenias. “In many ways, that was Ralph’s vision about being a Jew–to be responsible for one another, to be always there for every Jew around the world. That’s the mission statement of the organization. I think it’s Ralph’s legacy, to continue this fundamental statement, to be there, and to make sure that every Jew wherever they are, can still stay a part of this global Jewish community.” The Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship (RIG), established in 1987, is named after JDC’s honorary Executive Vice-President, who served as the organization’s top professional leader and was instrumental in the establishment of the State of Israel. Fellows participate in JDC’s global programs through a range of unique assignments that respond to the changing needs of Jewish communities around the world. The RIG Fellowship is an initiative of JDC Entwine, a one-of-a-kind movement of young Jewish advocates, influencers, and leaders, who seek to make a lasting impact on the global Jewish community.

Read More

On Both Sides of Ukraine Ceasefire Line, Thousands to Attend JDC Passover Events

Organizational Volunteers to Distribute Tons of Matzah to Jews in Need

Even amid a crippling humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) will hold a variety of Passover-related activities -; from Seder feasts to matzah baking and Passover cooking workshops -; for thousands of Jews at JDC’s 32 Hesed social welfare centers and JDC-supported Jewish Community Centers on both sides of the ceasefire line throughout Ukraine. In addition, JDC volunteers and staff will deliver nearly 48,000 free packages of matzah, the unleavened bread traditionally consumed on the holiday, to needy Ukrainian Jews.

“As we engage in our annual Passover activities around Ukraine this year, we are reminded of the holiday’s timeless message of deliverance and our duty to ensure a small taste of hope and joy to those facing despair and an uncertain future,” said Michal Frank, Director of JDC’s Former Soviet Union operation.

In Donetsk and Lugansk, cities severely damaged during fighting and now under separatist control, JDC will hold matzah-baking classes for children, Seders (the traditional Passover feast) for the elderly, and workshops on Passover foods and customs. In Mariupol, a rocket-stricken town just outside the rebel-held area, children will make matzah and a special women’s Seder will be conducted. Similar events will take place in Zaporozhie, Artyomovsk, Kramatorsk, and Krovoy Rog.

Away from the frontlines, thousands of Jews -; including hundreds of displaced Jews making new homes away from the separatist-controlled east -; will also attend Passover activities. In Kiev, Kharkov, and Odessa, Seders for the elderly will be held at “Warm Homes”–apartments or other facilities where groups of seniors gather together to socialize, engage in cultural activities, and celebrate holidays. Kiev’s Beiteinu Center will include families at risk and displaced Jews in a special Passover picnic.

In Dnepropetrovsk, a special “Pesach University” will be organized to teach young people how to conduct a Seder. And in Odessa, Passover cooking classes with be part of Seder activities at the Beit Grand JCC while in other cities in the region — Nikolayev, Kherson, Kirovograd -; visits by young volunteers to isolated elderly and the displaced will be part of community-wide festivities.

Since the crisis in Ukraine began, JDC has deployed emergency services assisting thousands of Jews caught up in the conflict, including: extra food, medicine, and medical care; crisis-related home repairs; extra winter items such as warm bedding, clothing, utility stipends, and space heaters; and a full aid package and emergency housing for displaced Jews. As the crisis has worsened, 2,700 people have been added to JDC’s aid rolls, many who never needed JDC assistance in the past. These include working or middle class Jewish families who find themselves struggling with conflict-related unemployment and general economic distress.

JDC’s work in Ukraine is undertaken in cooperation with the local Jewish community and groups like Chabad. JDC’s work is generously support by its Board, individual donors and foundations, and our esteemed partners, including Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Jewish Federations, World Jewish Relief, and the Conference on Jewish Materials Claims Against Germany.

JDC has four major offices and operates and supports a network of 32 Hesed social welfare centers serving more than 70,000 Jews in need in more than 1,000 locations across Ukraine. JDC’s long history of working with Ukrainian Jews includes its work 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.

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

Read More

Jim Joseph Foundation Awards Nearly $24 million in Grants at Winter Board Meetings

Grants Reflect Wide Range of Jewish Learning Experiences for Varied Age Groups

The San Francisco-based Jim Joseph Foundation announced grant awards from its two winter board meetings totaling nearly $24 million to organizations and institutions engaged in Jewish education. The Foundation focuses on creating effective and compelling Jewish learning experiences for youth and young adults in the United States. “These two rounds of grant awards reflect an especially exciting moment for Jewish education and the grantees with which we partner,” says Al Levitt, President of the Jim Joseph Foundation. “Whether in Israel education, teacher preparation, Jewish camping, service-learning, or other well-conceived efforts to engage youth and young adults, there are many new opportunities to both deepen and create more dynamic Jewish learning experiences.” A full breakdown of the Foundation’s grants is included in its Portfolio Analysis. More information can be viewed in the Foundation’s recent biennial report. Major Grants Awarded American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee: JDC Entwine (2015-2017)Total Awarded: Up to $3,000,000Purpose: To support the expansion of Entwine, JDC’s young adult service division, including to increase the number of young adults participating in immersive Jewish service experiences on an annual basis and to enhance and professionalize the educational content and training for Entwine participants, staff, peer leaders and alumni. Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore Inc.: CEO Onboarding (2015-2017)Total Awarded: Up to $971,620Purpose: To create a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) on-boarding pilot program to operate during 2015-2017, involving three cohorts of CEOs. It is envisioned that this program will be conducted in partnership with the recently established Leadership Pipelines Alliance (of which the Jim Joseph Foundation is one of several founding founders). Brandeis University: Summer Institute for Israel Studies (2015-2018)Total Awarded: Up to $600,000 over three yearsPurpose: For renewal funding for the Summer Institute for Israel Studies (SIIS), an institute to train college professors to develop and teach courses in Israel studies at their campuses. Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR): DeLeT (2015-2018)Total Awarded: Up to $400,000 to Brandeis and up to $412,868 to HUC-JIRPurpose: To support up to 12 DeLeT/MAT students each year and related program research activities. To support up to 10 core DeLeT fellows, plus 4 fellows in a new Hebrew language teacher preparation track, at HUC-JIR. Hazon Inc.: Jewish Outdoor, Food, and Environmental Education (JOFEE) (2015-2019)Total: Up to $7,507,213 over four yearsPurpose:For the development of the JOFEE Educator Fellowship, and to provide matching funds for business planning and capacity support to Hazon, Pearlstone Center, Urban Adamah, and Wilderness Torah to significantly increase the number of immersive JOFEE experiences offered and to strengthen the organizations. Jewish Community Center in Manhattan: Expansion of the Jewish Journey Project (JJP) (2014-2016)Total Awarded: Up to $250,000Purpose: To support the continuation and expansion of the JJP, a demonstration project showing how inter-institutional collaboration in the New York Jewish community provides a more customized approach to pre-b’nei mitzvah supplementary Jewish education–better serving the needs of Jewish families and deepening their connections to their synagogues and JCCs. Reboot, Inc.: General Operating Support (2015-2018)Total: Up to $2,650,000 over four years; each year, half will be paid as a 1:1 matchPurpose: To provide general operating support for the continued growth and cultivation of the Reboot network and to sustain, strengthen and amplify Reboot’s creative approaches to Jewish traditions through experiential programs for young adult Jews in their 20s and 30s. Awards for Community-Based Jewish Teen Education Initiatives: Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago: Jewish Spring Break Experiences for Teens (2015-2020)Total Awarded: Up to $3,196,469 as a 1:1 matchPurpose: To support a new multi-faceted Jewish teen education initiative in Chicago designed to measurably increase the number of Chicago-based teens engaged in high quality Jewish learning experiences during their high school years. The grant focuses on immersive spring break experiences and related year-round activities. Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles: Community-Based Jewish Teen Education Initiative(2015-2019)Total: Up to $4,217,824 as a 1:1 matchPurpose: To deepen the quality of learning experiences provided to L.A. Jewish teens and to double the number of L.A. Jewish teens engaged in Jewish life. The grant will 1) develop the Jewish Teen Program Accelerator to support dramatic scaling of up to twenty-four of the region’s best and most innovative teen education programs; 2) provide customized training and support to every Jewish teen educator in the region; and 3) create region-wide shared infrastructure to address accessibility and affordability through new marketing and scholarship programs, and ensure community-wide collaboration through regular networking and learning opportunities for professionals and teens. Expedited GrantsAssociated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore Inc.: General Operating Support of the Leadership Pipelines AllianceUp to $250,000 for general operating support of the Jewish Leadership Pipelines Alliance’s inaugural year of activities Board of Jewish Education, Inc.: Development of Learning and Growth Outcomes, Indicators and Measurement Tools for Jewish Teen Education and EngagementUp to $106,851 for the development of learning and growth outcomes, indicators and measurement tools for to be used for the evaluation of community-based teen education initiatives Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life: Jewish Agency Israel FellowsUp to $200,000 to support experienced Israel Campus Fellows working on 23 “hot spot” United States college campuses National Yiddish Book Center, Inc.: Great Jewish Books Teacher WorkshopUp to $196,025 to support Great Jewish Books Teacher Workshops in the summers of 2015 and 2016, complemented by follow-up programming

Read More

Amid Crisis, JDC Ensures Purim Celebrations for Ukraine’s Jews

Despite an ongoing crisis in Ukraine, exacerbated today by growing humanitarian needs, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and Jews around Ukraine will celebrate the festive Jewish holiday of Purim on March 5th with a series of events across the country, including in cities in and near the conflict zone. For Jews who are displaced or those remaining in separatist controlled areas, Purim — which recalls Jewish deliverance from a genocidal plot in ancient Persia — will be marked by synagogue services, concerts, and other special holiday gatherings at JDC-supported Jewish community and social welfare centers. Additionally, JDC and its local volunteers will deliver gift packages — called — to homebound elderly and displaced Jewish families, as is the holiday custom.

“This Purim, we are working hard to fulfill the holiday precept to celebrate with unrestrained joy, especially by providing a much needed respite for the thousands of displaced Jews and those in separatist controlled regions who are severely impacted by economic and political instability,” said Michal Frank, JDC’s Former Soviet Union Regional Director.

Purim events and gift package delivery — including the holding of humorous Purimspeils (traditional holiday parody plays) — are due to take place throughout Ukraine, with a special focus in eastern cities like Donetsk, Lugansk, Dnepropetrovsk, Khakrov, Artemivsk, and Krasnaormiisk. For the 2,500 displaced Jews JDC is caring for, these Purim events connect them to local Jewish communities where they are making new homes. At these events, children and adults will dress up in costume — one of the holiday’s most beloved traditions — partake in hamantashen (triangular-shaped cookies with poppyseed or fruit filling) and enjoy the festive atmosphere even amid the challenges they, like the rest of their neighbors in Ukraine, face.

Since the crisis began, JDC has deployed emergency services assisting thousands of Jews caught up in the conflict, including: extra food, medicine, and medical care; crisis-related home repairs; extra winter items such as warm bedding, clothing, utility stipends, and space heaters; and a full aid package and emergency housing for displaced Jews. As the crisis has worsened, 2,700 people have been added to JDC’s aid rolls, many who never needed JDC assistance in the past. These include working or middle class Jewish families who find themselves struggling with conflict-related unemployment and general economic distress related to spiking prices on basic goods and utilities, the collapsing local currency, and widespread devastation to property and industry.

JDC’s work in Ukraine is undertaken in cooperation with the local Jewish community and groups like Chabad. JDC’s work is generously support by its Board, individual donors and foundations, and our esteemed partners, including Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Jewish Federations of North America, World Jewish Relief, and the Conference on Jewish Materials Claims Against Germany.

Today, JDC has four major offices and operates and supports a network of 32 Hesed social welfare centers serving more than 70,000 Jews in need in more than 1,000 locations across Ukraine. JDC’s long history of working with Ukrainian Jews includes its work 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.

Read More

JDC Hesed Jewish Center in Kramatorsk Hit By Rocket Attack

Rockets Unexploded, No Injuries Reported at Center

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)-supported Hesed social welfare center Kramatorsk — providing critical social services and Jewish cultural programing — was hit by two rockets on Tuesday. The rockets, which damaged the 9-story building where the center is located, did not explode as one hit the roof and another landed in backyard. No injuries were immediately reported at the Hesed and the building has been evacuated. The attack was part of a barrage landed near the city center, reportedly killing 5 and wounding 26.

“This latest development is another stark reminder of the harsh conditions on the ground that impact the lives of the most vulnerable in Ukraine everyday. As we mourn the loss of life, our staff on the ground are tending to the elderly and poor Jews we serve in the city to ensure their safety. We remain vigilant and dedicated to delivering humanitarian aid to the thousands in Ukraine who are facing violence, scarcity of food and medicine, and the harsh winter months,” said JDC CEO Alan H. Gill.

The Kramatorsk Hesed, which serves over 560 elderly and poor Jews and employs 42 people, is part of a network of 32 JDC-supported social welfare centers serving 60,000 needy Jews in more than 1,000 locations across Ukraine, even in places wracked by violence. JDC has been at the forefront of aid efforts since the Ukraine crisis began. The organization has delivered food, medicine, homecare, stipends for new accommodation, post-trauma care, and vitally important winter fuel, bedding, and clothing as the conflict has worsened. JDC currently serves over 4,600 Jews in the eastern conflict zones and 2,400 internally displaced Jews who have fled to cities like Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, and Odessa.

JDC’s work in Ukraine is undertaken in cooperation with the local Jewish community and groups like Chabad. JDC’s work is generously support by its Board, individual donors and foundations, and our esteemed partners, including Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Jewish Federations of North America, World Jewish Relief, and the Conference on Jewish Materials Claims Against Germany.

Today, JDC has four major offices and operates and supports a network of 32 Hesed social welfare centers serving 60,000 Jews in need in more than 1,000 locations across Ukraine. JDC’s long history of working with Ukrainian Jews includes its work 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.

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.

Read More

JDC ‘ French Jews Partner On Resliancy Programs In Aftermath of Paris Massacres

In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo and Hyper Cacher massacres, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is partnering with the French Jewish community on resiliency programs addressing trauma, crisis management training, and the relocation of at-risk Jews from troubled neighborhoods in the French capital. The multifaceted response, organized at the invitation of the French Jewish community, expands and upgrades JDC’s current work with French Jews which includes leadership skills seminars, community development best practice cultivation and promotion, and the inclusion of young French Jews in pan-European networking initiatives.

“We at the Fonds Social Juif Unifie are proud to have JDC by our side during these difficult times. A close partner and friend for many years, we know that together with JDC, our community can be stronger and better equipped to navigate all that we face,” said Ariel Goldmann, president of Fonds Social Juif Unifie (FSJU), the central community fundraising body of the French Jewish community.

Collaborating with the French Jewish community -; a vibrant, self-sustaining, and multi-faceted population of more than 500,000 that today faces economic, political, and social challenges -; JDC will help provide post-trauma care for those suffering as a result of the terror attacks and rising anti-Semitism. JDC experts, and those from the Israel Trauma Coalition, will share knowledge/skills with Jewish professionals, local intervention teams, volunteers, and community leaders to ensure effective and timely responses to trauma, especially among children, the elderly, and people with disabilities. JDC will also work closely with French Jewish community leadership on upgraded crisis management capacity to address emergency situations in real time. Additionally, JDC will help with relocation plans for vulnerable Jews -; the elderly and poor families -; from unsafe neighborhoods plagued by crime, high levels of poverty, Islamist radicalism, and political extremism. JDC’s initial response with be carried out in cooperation with the FSJU, OSE (Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants), a community agency aiding needy Jews, and the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah (FMS).

“As Jews face increasing risks around the world, especially spiking anti-Semitism and economic strife, there is growing demand for JDC’s expertise in managing and deploying responses to high-risk situations. We are proud to partner once again with the French Jewish community to ensure that as they chart their future, we are there to strengthen their resiliency, implement specialized services for the most vulnerable, and present a united front in the face of violent hate,” said JDC CEO Alan H. Gill.

JDC’s 80-year history assisting Jews in France includes the care of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in 1933; the reestablishment of the French Jewish community after the Holocaust, including cash relief programs, networks of scores of children’s homes, vocational training, and emigration assistance; the establishment of the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work in Paris and the creation of FSJU (the Fonds Social Juif Unifie); and its ongoing partnership with the OSE (Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants).

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, please visit www.jdc.org

Read More

JDC East Ukraine Efforts Intensify After Mariupol Attack

As Ukraine’s crisis continues, marked this past weekend by dozens of deaths in the Sea of Azov coast city of Mariupol, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) doubled down on its efforts to care for the most vulnerable Jews still living in the conflict-laden eastern part of the country.

“As we aggressively ensure the neediest Jews of eastern Ukraine have a lifeline at this time of ongoing conflict, we are also providing a critically important source of comfort and hope to those who often feel forgotten and scared,” said Michal Frank, JDC’s Former Soviet Union Director. “This message of Jewish unity, and action, is needed now more than ever as winter rages and the end of the crisis is nowhere in sight.”

As indiscriminate artillery fire slammed into a market, schools, homes, and shops in the city, JDC’s local Hesed social welfare center, in cooperation with JDC’s office in Dnepropetrovsk, engaged in round-the-clock monitoring of the nearly 600 Jews it aids in the city as well as the general Jewish population. Among the poor elderly and families JDC cares for, homecare, medicine, and food services continue uninterrupted, and new needs that have emerged after the weekend attack are being addressed. As an example, JDC will repair the windows of clients’ homes that were knocked out by the blasts. Additionally, JDC is monitoring shrinking food and pharmacy supplies to ensure clients do not go without these critical supplies.

In the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, the conflict has led to scarce supplies, halted pensions, and other hardships for the elderly, impoverished, and people with disabilities living in pervasive fear. JDC’s Hesed social welfare center in Donetsk is ensuring that food, medication, and home care are provided, even when locals have difficulty traveling around the city due to sporadic explosions and weapon fire. JDC’s Winter Relief program, now in its 23rd year, is in full swing with blankets, warm winter clothes, and electrical heaters being distributed among more than 1,500 Jews in need in the region.

In Lugansk, where roads into the rest of Ukraine have been closed, JDC’s Hesed social welfare center continues its work and clients there are getting the nutritional, medical, and homecare services they desperately need. With more than 1,700 benefitting from the Winter Relief program, JDC is working hard to keep these needy Jews warm, even as they brave war and winter.

Another feature of the conflict is the growing numbers of Jews applying for services through JDC’s Hesed social welfare network in the region. Nearly 2,000 people, from the Donetsk and Lugansk areas alone, where JDC serves more than 100 locations, have been added to the system in the last four months.

“We stand at the ready to aid the new numbers of Jews seeking help and have been working tirelessly to ensure that they can survive this difficult time. Whether they remain in the east, or join the hundreds of thousands of others who have fled the conflict zone, JDC will be there for them,” Frank said.

JDC’s work in Ukraine is undertaken in cooperation with the local Jewish community and groups like Chabad. JDC’s work is generously support by its Board, individual donors and foundations, and our esteemed partners, including Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Jewish Federations of North America, World Jewish Relief, and the Conference on Jewish Materials Claims Against Germany.

Today, JDC has four major offices and operates and supports a network of 32 Hesed social welfare centers serving Jews in need in more than 1,000 locations across Ukraine. JDC’s long history of working with Ukrainian Jews includes its work 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.

Read More

JDC ‘ Mafteach Host International Conference on Haredi Employment

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin And Experts From Around The World To Attend

Israeli President Rueven Rivlin and experts from around the world will attend a 3-day international conference in Jerusalem starting Dec. 28 focusing on empowering Haredi Jews through employment and job training. The event — hosted by the Mafteach employment center network, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), and the government of Israel — will offer Haredi community leaders, educators, politicians, and employers a venue to discuss ways of reducing poverty in Haredi society by helping individuals find jobs while taking into account religious sensitivities.

“We’re proud to join our partners in the Israeli government, Haredi community, and Mafteach centers in providing this critical platform to build on the successes of the job-training programs we started together nearly a decade ago,” said Prof. Yossi Tamir, Director of JDC-Israel. “We’ve seen employment among Haredim soar and this conference creates a timely opportunity to share the knowledge we’ve gained so far with colleagues around the world and learn from their experience in return.”

Topics on the conference’s agenda include Yeshiva accreditation, culturally sensitive employment screenings and a comprehensive examination of the future of Haredi employment policy. Participants will also go on site visits where they will meet with Haredi trainees and learn about their experience. The first and second days of the gathering will be private while the third will be open to the public.

JDC-founded Mafteach employment centers reach out to corporate partners throughout Israel who are looking for skilled workers in order to meet the needs of a rapidly growing, high-tech economy. Over 26,000 Haredi adults have walked through the doors of the eight centers established to date, and almost two-thirds of them have jobs today. Trainees are taught a wide range of skills including English, vocational training, job placement, career development, career advancement and resume-writing courses. Two new centers in Netivot and Modiin Ilit are scheduled to open next month.

Government representatives at the conference will include Mayor of Beitar Illit and Chairman of the Orthodox Mayors’ Forum Rabbi Meir Rubinstein, National Economic Council Chairman Professor Eugene Kendel, and Ministry of Economy Deputy General for Employment Michal Tzuk and others.

In addition to JDC’s Tamir, experts slated to speak at the Jerusalem conference include: Ruben Gorbatt, Director of JDC-Israel TEVET Haredi Employment programs; Dr. Sigal Shelach, Director of JDC TEVET; Mosche Schapiro, CEO at Yedidut Toronto and the Friedberg Foundation; and Dr. Gilad Malach of the Haredi Program at the Israel Democracy Institute.

Philip — a 24-year-old Czech-born Israeli — is one of many whose lives have changed thanks to their participation in Haredi job training programs. As a farmer in the Haredi community of Kommimiyut, his income used to be seasonal and sparing. Now he works for a Coca Cola and the additional money helps pay his mortgage and school for his children.

“Everybody does it where I live– Shabbos is Shabbos and the other days of the week we work,” adding that he still learns every night in his community.

JDC’s employment programs for Haredim are made possible through the generous support of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the Maurice and Vivienne Wohl Charitable Foundation, the Maks and Lea Rothstein Charitable Youth Trust, the Jewish Federation of San Francisco, the Leichtag Foundation, Joe Lebovic, The Stern Family Foundation, the Rosenzweig Coopersmith Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, and UJA-Federation of New York.

Read More

JDC Launches Online Gift Market for Chanukah

Buy a meal for a needy Jewish family in the former Soviet Union, send a Jewish child to summer camp in Europe, or build a well in Africa — this Chanukah, at the JDC GiftMarket, you can give a present that will change lives. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has launched, in time for the holiday season, a new online gift store that, for the first time, engages donors in the direct impact of their gift. “Donors are increasingly identifying and contributing to the needs they want to support and have more control over their giving than ever before,” said Graham Cannon, JDCs Chief Global Marketing Officer. “We wanted to provide the opportunity to tie donations to specific projects so that donors can not only see the impact of their gift and how it’s making a difference, but celebrate family and friends by honoring them with a gift of real meaning.” The JDC Gift Market — www.jdc.org/giftmarket — offers several gift tracks including food, health/medicine, daily survival, community/culture, education, and empowerment. For $18, you can help keep a Jewish family in Siberia warm through the winter, feed an elderly person in Israel, or provide a free mammogram for a woman in Hungary to help detect breast cancer. A $36 donation will assist in job training for youth at risk or Haredi Israelis, while a $100 gift will fund a free surgery or help fund a school in Ethiopia. Now celebrating its 100th year, JDC remains the essential Jewish international humanitarian organization, putting into action the precept that all Jews are responsible for one another and for all humankind. The organization’s ten decades of rescue, poverty alleviation, Jewish community development, leadership training and cultivation, social innovation, and disaster relief work has benefitted millions of people and transformed countless lives in Israel and more than 90 countries since its founding in 1914 at the outset of WW1.

Read More

JDC Winter Relief Efforts Expanded in Ukraine

-- For 23rd Winter, JDC Provides Life-saving Care to Needy Jews Braving the Cold

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s annual Winter Relief program -; delivering tons of heating fuel, warm bedding, and clothing to needy Jews across the former Soviet Union -; has been critically expanded in Ukraine this year to respond to a harsh winter worsened by the country’s energy crisis, skyrocketing costs, ongoing unrest, and the growing needs of displaced Jews. JDC staff and professionals at the thirty two JDC-supported social welfare centers in Ukraine are providing extra winter supplies and services to poor elderly, including Nazi victims, struggling families, and displaced Jews who often cannot afford their utility bills or have direct access to heating supplies.

“While winter relief is a lifeline for tens of thousands of Jews in need on any given year, its even more essential in Ukraine where utility prices have soared and the crisis has continued with no end in sight” said Michal Frank, director of JDC’s Former Soviet Union department. “We have proudly stood by the Jews of Ukraine during this period and, together with our invaluable partners, have redoubled our efforts to ensure this winter is imbued with the warmth of Jewish solidarity and mutual care.”

In addition to crippling economic challenges -; including devalued local currency and pensions and a 50-80% increase in the costs of food and medicine -; a series of energy-saving measures will be enacted in Ukraine this year, leaving many poor and elderly people with little resources to survive below freezing temperatures. Theses include planned power outages and asking citizens to lower heating thermostats to below 60 Fahrenheit.

These circumstances seriously impact the more than 5,000 JDC clients remaining in eastern Ukraine, still suffering under shelling and fear of violence, and more than 2,000 displaced Jews JDC is caring for in different cities away from the conflict. A drastic escalation in services -; including window repairs and replacements, the subsidizing of utility payments, and provision of extra fuel -; represents a seven-fold increase in the JDC’s Ukraine Winter Relief budget.

For the Khomich family who fled fighting in Donetsk and found refuge in Zaporozhe, Winter Relief has taken the form of warm clothing and footwear, in addition to the aid package they are receiving as a displaced family. Their situation is made more difficult because 49-year old Olga must care for her 87-year old mother, Lyudmila, and her 8-year old daughter Polina, who suffers from cerebral palsy, on their meager pensions. With JDC’s help, they have been able to find housing, a wheel chair for Polina, medical care and other basic needs to survive in their new city and bear the winter cold.

“Our work with the Khomich family and so many others -; undertaken in cooperation with the local Jewish community and groups like Chabad -; wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our Board, individual donors and foundations, and our esteemed partners, including Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein and the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, the Jewish Federations, World Jewish Relief, and the Conference on Jewish Materials Claims Against Germany,” said Frank. “This is the ultimate expression of our mission and dedication to Jews in need.”

Today, JDC has 4 major offices and operates and supports a network of 32 social welfare centers serving Jews in need in more than 1,000 locations across Ukraine. JDC’s long history of working with Ukrainian Jews includes its work 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.

The 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, please visit .

Read More

JDC Receives Prestigious Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) Award For Typhoon Haiyan Aid

Filipino President to Bestow Award at Dec 5 Ceremony

The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III will honor the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) for its Typhoon Haiyan aid work, and work with Filipinos in the diaspora, in a ceremony in Manila on Friday, December 5. President Aquino will present the CFO’s annual Kaanib ng Bayan (Presidential) award to JDC representatives at the Malacanan Palace in the presence of the Israeli ambassador, among other dignitaries, and thirty-three other recipients including individuals and NGOs. “We are deeply moved by this special honor from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas and are proud of our ongoing work to build stronger communities and a brighter future in the Philippines,” said JDC CEO Alan H. Gill. “One year after Haiyan, there is still much to be done, but we move ahead knowing that we have restored a sense of normalcy and hope to the lives of thousands of Filipinos.” Over the last twelve months, JDC has invested more than $1.5m of $2.7 million raised from the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors in rebuilding classrooms and schools, restoring local fishing businesses, offering medical and psychological help, and facilitating disaster preparedness. These projects, and initial emergency work, have directly benefited more than 15,000 people across the archipelago. Additionally, JDC and the JDC-supported Center for International Migration and Integration (CIMI) have worked with Filipinos in the diaspora regarding community organizing and financial literacy among migrant workers. JDC has a long history in the Philippines dating back to World War II when it helped more than 1,300 European Jews find refuge on the island nation in a joint operation with Philippine President Manuel L. Qurzon; the Frieder brothers, from an entrepreneurial Jewish family based in Manila; and U.S. envoy to the Philippines Paul V. McNutt. “Our work in the Philippines today is underscored by the especially poignant ties we have with a nation that selflessly offered safe haven to the Jewish people during our darkest hour. It is the ultimate embodiment of the Jewish concept ofarevut, mutual responsibility for one another,” said Gill. JDC’s work in the Philippines was carried out in partnership the IDF Field Hospital and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Afya Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, Magen David Adom (MDA), the International Medical Corps (IMC), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Israel Trauma Coalition, the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), the Center for Disaster Preparedness, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation (RAFI), Balay Mindanaw, AGAAP, Negrenese Volunteers for Change (NVC), NORFIL, and the Jewish Association of the Philippines.

Read More

One Year After Typhoon Haiyan, JDC Philippines Efforts Restore Hope

Humanitarian group provides fishing boats, rebuilds schools, deploys disaster preparedness, and post-trauma support

For Dennis Almorin and his family, Typhoon Haiyan meant losing everything, from their home to his fishing boat. In the aftermath, the Almorins had to borrow a friend’s boat, split the catch just to earn a living and scrape by on donated food and clothing. But today, nearly a year after the devastation, Dennis is the owner of a new fishing boat and is back to work through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and local partner NVC’s program restoring employment to local fisherman on the island of Lat-Asan. Over the past 12 months, JDC has invested over $1.5m of $2.7 million raised from the Jewish Federations of North America and tens of thousands of individual donors in rebuilding classrooms and schools, restoring local fishing businesses, offering medical and psychological help, and facilitating disaster preparedness. These projects, and initial emergency work, have directly benefitted more than 15,000 people across the archipelago.”Of all the things we have learned from decades of disaster relief work, it’s the priceless ability of a disaster survivor to support him or herself when all seems lost. It has positive ripple effects for families and communities desperate to rebuild and we are proud of the work we are doing in the Philippines to restore a sense of normalcy and hope,” said Mandie Winston, director of JDC’s International Development Program. “At a time when so much of the world is in crisis, our work in the Philippines is a reminder that people can transform lives in the face of overwhelming odds -; this is especially heartening given our historic partnership with the island nation that saved Jewish lives during WWII.”In the days and weeks after the typhoon hit, JDC delivered food, medicine, sanitary kits and tents to locals in a race against time. Once the situation stabilized, JDC’s humanitarian work entered a second, longer phase helping the region recover. Funds have been spent on immediate relief (24%), rebuilding and repairing schools (27%), psychological support (16%), restoring livelihoods (23%) and disaster preparedness (10%).According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, (UN-OCHA), a total of 2,189 classrooms were damaged, affecting about 100,000 pupils. JDC sought to mitigate the damage by building 12 new classrooms at two elementary schools in northern Cebu, allowing 1,200 children to resume studies. It also renovated four preschools on Panay Island, now serving 500 children, and will finish building two new preschools in the coming months.JDC is also in the process of replacing fishing boats on Panay, where thousands of fisherman have lost their livelihoods. To date, and with a greater distribution planned in the near future, more than a dozen catamarans have been handed over to 17 fishermen. JDC has also deployed a delegation of post-trauma experts from the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC) to help locals come to terms with their loss. The ITC team is building on experience they gained working with JDC in Haiti and Japan over the past five years.JDC is also helping local communities on Bohol and Panay Islands impacted by the Typhoon better prepare for disasters by providing disaster risk reduction workshops that map and assess risks, helping local governments develop appropriate protocol. On Panay, this includes a track that will enhance local capacity to mainstream and offer people with disabilities social service support and supplies. JDC’s invaluable partners in the Philippines are the IDF Field Hospital and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Afya Foundation, Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, Magen David Adom (MDA), the International Medical Corps (IMC), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Israel Trauma Coalition, the International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR), the Center for Disaster Preparedness, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation (RAFI), Balay Mindanaw, AGAAP, Negrenese Volunteers for Change (NVC), NORFIL, and the Jewish Association of the Philippines.During the buildup to World War II, JDC together with local Jews and the Filipino government ensured the emigration of more than 1,000 European Jews escaping Nazi persecution to the island nation. JDC awarded its Or L’Olam — Light Unto the World — Award to the Philippines for its heroic role in the rescue of the Jewish refugees as part of the kickoff of JDC’s Centennial celebrations in Washington, DC.Now celebrating its 100th year, JDC remains the leading Jewish humanitarian organization, putting into action the precept that all Jews are responsible for one another and humankind. Its ten decades of rescue, poverty alleviation, Jewish community development, Jewish leadership training and cultivation, social innovation, and disaster and crisis relief work have benefitted millions of people and transformed countless lives in Israel and 90 countries, at its peak.

Read More

Moscow’s Nikitskaya JCC Renamed In Honor of Ralph I. Goldman

One of Moscow’s largest Jewish community centers, the Nikitskaya, was renamed today in honor of Ralph I. Goldman, one of the Jewish world’s most accomplished leaders who died, at 100, in Jerusalem two weeks ago. The institution – which opened in 2001 with support from the the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and caters to hundreds of members of the Russian capital’s bustling Jewish community each month – was rededicated as the Ralph I. Goldman Nikitskaya Jewish Cultural Center in a ceremony on October 22.”Throughout his long, storied life, Ralph Goldman dedicated himself to the well-being of the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” said JDC President Penny Blumenstein and JDC CEO Alan H. Gill “In a career spanning eight decades, he helped alleviate the tragedies that visited the Jewish people in his lifetime, and contributed to their triumphs. Renaming this institution in his honor is a fitting tribute to a man whose story was so inextricably bound with that of his people and who was one of the visionaries who helped rebuild Jewish life in Russia.”The Ralph I. Goldman Nikitskaya Jewish Cultural Center, located in a 19th century mansion in the center of Moscow, offers a wide array of activities to local Jews of all ages. One of its keystone programs is Tapuz nursery and pre-school, consistently ranked among the top 10 such facilitiies in the Russian capital. Other activities open to adolescents and adults include various Jewish classes, lectures, concerts and gatherings for holidays and special occasions. When it opened in 2001, the 1,493 square meter JCC was a prominent sign of the remarkable revival of a Jewish community that had been oppressed for decades under Soviet rule.Goldman – who was born in the Russian Empire in 1914 and whose family emigrated to the U.S. soon afterwards – cared deeply about the fate of Jews in that part of the world. He won a writing contest for an essay he penned on the creation of a Jewish territory by the Soviets in Birobidzhan in 1937. During the 1980s and 1990s, he was a top negotiator dealing with Soviet authorities on lifting the ban on the emigration of Jews from the country and in ensuring JDC’s reentry into the Soviet Union to care for Jews in need and foster Jewish life.Russia is home today to an estimated 600,000 Jews. JDC works across Russia taking care of tens of thousands Jewish elderly and poor families and innovating Jewish community life and training new generations of Jewish leaders since the fall of Communism. JDC supports 55 JCCs in Russia, including the one in Moscow that will be named after Goldman. They offer a wealth of activities and services to the local Jewish community. These include Jewish family camps, informal Jewish educational opportunities and leadership programs.

Read More

JDC Mourns Global Jewish Leader Ralph I. Goldman

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) announced today the passing of Ralph I. Goldman, its beloved Honorary Executive Vice President, a builder of the State of Israel, and a global Jewish leader whose historic investments in Jewish life worldwide have ensured a strong, vibrant Jewish future for generations to come. Goldman, who was 100, died in Jerusalem, which had been his home for decades.”The profound sadness and deep sense of loss we feel today is indescribable: Ralph Goldman was a giant among Jewish leaders, dedicating his life and career to strengthening Israel and to ensuring the survival and vibrancy of Jewish people and communities worldwide,” said JDC President Penny Blumenstein and CEO Alan H. Gill. “A cornerstone of JDC’s global operations for more than four decades, Ralph was an iconic and transformative figure who embodied the notion that all ‘Jews are responsible for one another’ throughout his long and extraordinary life.””Ralph was a mentor to us and to countless others who relied on his sage advice, flawless wisdom, and deep and abiding love for Israel and the Jewish people. From his early dedication to Zionism to his work building the Jewish State with David Ben Gurion … from his masterful guidance of JDC as it re-entered the Soviet Union to the invaluable training he gave to premiere young Jewish leaders over two decades through the JDC Entwine Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship program, Ralph infused us with spirit and purpose, and his accomplishments changed the Jewish world.””His passing leaves a tremendous void, but also a priceless legacy that will sustain JDC, Israel, and the Jewish world well into the future. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Ralph’s children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. May they be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and may Ralph’s memory be for a blessing for all of us who had the privilege of knowing and learning from this towering, once-in-a-generation figure.”Goldman, was most recently honored at JDC’s centennial celebration in Jerusalem in May where his lifelong friend, former Israei President Shimon Peres, noted: “They say a person has to decide ‘what to be’ and ‘what to do.’ What to be comes from nature. What to do comes from vision. And Ralph had a rare combination of the two.”About Ralph I. GoldmanRalph Irving Goldman was born in 1914 in Lechovitz, Ukraine, and immigrated to the United States with his family as a young child. He grew up in Dorchester, Massachusetts, a predominantly Jewish suburb of Boston, and attended the local public schools during the day, and a five-day-week Hebrew school in the late afternoons.During his junior high years, Goldman began to study at the Boston Hebrew College, which exposed its students to a rigorous program of Hebrew language and Jewish culture. Goldman spoke frequently of the immense influence upon him by the founder and director of the college, Louis Hurwich. Goldman claimed that his own love for Jewish culture, his commitment to the unity of the Jewish people, and his ability to look at the Jewish people in a non-denominational way were inspired by Hurwich.Involved local Zionist activities as a young man, Goldman entered an essay contest sponsored by a student Zionist organization in 1937. His essay on Stalin’s idea of a so-called “homeland for the Jews” in Birobidzhan (Siberia) won the contest, and Goldman was awarded a fellowship to spend a year in Palestine, later to become the State of Israel. He often recounted how profoundly his stay in Palestine impacted his thinking and his emotions for the rest of his life. He saw his work on a kibbutz, his assistance in establishing a community, and even his paving a road as fulfillment of the Zionist philosophy he had absorbed in Boston, and as prelude to his life’s work of helping to build the State of Israel.Back in Boston, Goldman studied at the School of Social Work at Boston University and Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Science, obtaining a bachelor’s degree in education and master’s in social work.He served in the U.S. Army from 1942 till 1945 -; first in the United States, then in England, and finally, at the conclusion of World War II, in Germany. In this posting, Goldman was assigned to assist Jews in Displaced Persons Camps, an experience to which he attributed the inspiration to devote his life to helping the Jewish people.Goldman was the recipient of numerous honorary degrees and awards over his lifetime, including the French Legion of Honor. He was, however, proudest of the Ralph I. Goldman Fellowship program established by the JDC Board of Directors in 1987, where he eagerly mentored a new generation of communal leaders, reveling in their achievements. Today the annual paid, professional opportunity -; part of JDC Entwine’s young adult movement -; offers young Jews the chance to live and work in several overseas locations where JDC is active, providing an inside look at JDC’s global operations though individualized assignments. Until his death, Goldman served as a mentor to each of the 27 fellows since the program’s founding.Ralph was predeceased by his beloved wife, Helen, and by his son, David Ben-Rafael, a senior Israeli diplomat killed in the March 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Argentina.In IsraelKnown in Israel for his lifetime of accomplishments in creating the Jewish State, Goldman was active in the New York operation of the pre-State Jewish army, the Haganah. Goldman helped to buy and lease airplanes and ships to transport immigrants from war-ravaged Europe to Palestine, and assisted in the effort to recruit personnel for the nascent army. It was as part of this work that Goldman met Teddy Kollek, later to become the iconic mayor of Jerusalem, and began a life-long relationship that was both professional and personal.Goldman’s was also a close confidant and advisor to David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister. He first met Ben-Gurion in 1949, and became his representative at the Israel consulate in New York. In 1951, Ben-Gurion put Goldman in charge of the Prime Minister’s first visit to the U.S. as head of state. That tour successfully completed, Kollek (who had become the Director-General of the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem) invited Goldman back to Israel to head the Technical Assistance Department, the coordinating body in Israel of the U.S. “Point Four” program, which provided American know-how and funding to emerging countries.Thus he became a unique phenomenon in the history of Israel: a U.S. citizen representing an American program and at the same time a senior civil servant in Israel’s young government. During Goldman’s tenure in that position, Israel received technical assistance from American high-level experts in many fields, and was awarded related grants amounting to $40 million.When “Point Four” came to a close, Goldman relocated back to New York, first as the Executive Director of the American-Israel Cultural Foundation (AICF), which aimed to expose Americans to a broad spectrum of Israel’s cultural figures. In this position, Goldman coordinated the efforts of senior Israeli government officials, American-Jewish philanthropists, competing cultural institutions and aspiring artists.Among the talented youth that he granted scholarship for studying the U.S. was a young Tel-Aviv violinist named Itzhak Perlman. They remained life-long friends and Perlman often supported philanthropic ventures of JDC, Goldman’s later employer. As a person of high culture, Goldman was seen as well suited to the task, convincing his board of directors to begin funding the nascent Israel Museum, which became Israel’s prime museum center.Following his tenure at the AICF, Goldman was recruited to head a new dream of Ben Gurion: the Israel Education Fund, which, as an arm of the United Jewish Appeal, had the goal of establishing a network of educationally-excellent high schools in Israel. Successful in raising $28 million in four years for this cause, in 1968 Goldman had his first involvement with JDC and was invited to become the Associate Director of its Israel operation.At JDCSo he relocated, once again, to Israel, this time to begin a period of work with JDC which would see Goldman founding its department charged with caring for Israel’s elderly, establishing a chain of community centers across Israel, creating major innovations in early childhood care, as well as being instrumental in setting up two research units which helped JDC to target its work more efficiently, as a result of research on needs and how to meet them. In 1976, Goldman moved back to New York to become the chief executive of JDC. He served twice in this position, from 1976 until 1985, and again from 1986 until 1988.As JDC’s professional leader, Goldman was best known for initiating and overseeing JDC’s re-entry into most of Eastern Europe, where it had been active in the early part of the 20th century, and re-establishing in the mid-1980s a strong Jewish presence in a region where Jews and Judaism were decimated by Nazism and then barred under Communism. In 1979, he persuaded Hungary’s Communist regime to allow JDC to assist elderly Jews, but soon expanded JDC’s aid to Jews of all ages. JDC also provided a Jewish connection to this community, initiating a summer camp for Jewish kids, the first of its kind under Communism.In December 1981, Goldman traveled to Warsaw to negotiate with the Polish government for JDC access to help the country’s remnant Jewish community. On the tarmac he faced army tanks and armed soldiers and a U.S. embassy representative advising him to turn back as General Yaruzelsky had just declared a military emergency. Undeterred, Goldman continued to his hotel, met the Polish government official in a diner and the two signed a cooperative agreement on a napkin at the end of the meal.Subsequently Goldman led sensitive negotiations with Soviet leaders, successfully navigating JDC’s return to what became the former Soviet Union almost immediately after the fall of Communism. These negotiations enabled JDC to address the massive needs, both material and spiritual, of Jews -; including hundreds of thousands of poor elderly and children -; who had suffered under Communist rule.The life-sustaining assistance and Jewish connections that we help to provide today to that region’s million plus Jews are a testament to Goldman’s vision and determination, as are the leadership training and regional initiatives that he launched or inspired in Latin America and Europe and the ties he solidified with more isolated Jewish communities in North Africa and India. Goldman also pioneered JDC’s role as an effective instrument of the world Jewish community in responding to global disasters and supporting development needs.In 2012, Goldman granted an interview focusing on the sensitive negotiations. He was asked how, without formal diplomatic training, he had the courage and subtlety to interact successfully with these high officials, who were not necessarily noted for their sympathy to Jews. Goldman answered: “I was representing the Jewish People. I couldn’t afford to fail.”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.

Read More

JDC Steps Up Emergency Ukraine Response

As the crisis in Ukraine worsens, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has stepped up its emergency response as more Jews flee cities in eastern Ukraine and critical aid is delivered to those who stay behind in areas of unrest. The humanitarian group -; which has been working in the country since nearly its founding one hundred years ago -; has been providing a robust emergency response for Ukraine’s most vulnerable Jews since the crisis began. “Thousands of Ukrainians Jews face impossible choices between leaving everything behind and remaining in a war zone. More help is urgently needed and that is why we are increasing our efforts to care for Ukrainian Jews caught in the conflict with expanded resources to address the seriousness of the situation on the ground. By assisting these Jews who have fled parts of the east, and by delivering aid to those in the conflict zones, we are driven by the principle that we are all responsible for one another,” said JDC CEO Alan H. Gill. “We are grateful to our partners whose support has given that principle expression and has helped ensure our response since the worst of this crisis began.” JDC has provided a comprehensive aid program to more than 1,000 Jews who have fled violence in some areas of eastern Ukraine and found new homes in places like Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Odessa, and even Rostov in Russia. This includes accommodation and rental subsidies, food and clothing, Jewish community connections like family summer retreats, and post-trauma counseling services. Through its network of Hesed social welfare centers, JDC has also resumed services for clients who went from one place to another and have also been aiding Jews living in refugee camps. In the east, where many Jews remain, JDC staff and volunteers are delivering food, water, and medications to the elderly and families at risk in Donetsk and Lugansk. In Slavyansk and Kramatorsk, previously under fire, JDC’s food card program has resumed and the need for aid packages has dissipated. “People are staying for several reasons: fears for their safety if they try to leave or loss of their properly. Many others are too physically fragile or are hoping for a quick outcome to the crisis. It’s our job to be there for them. We are aware — especially with news that the hryvnia has hit its lowest value — that the economic side of this crisis will soon rise and we will need to further address unanticipated needs,” said Gill. JDC’s work in eastern Ukraine is part of its months-long Ukraine-wide emergency response addressing increased needs among the most vulnerable poor Jewish elderly and families. Stepped-up delivery of extra medications and food, upgraded home care services, and counseling services for stress-plagued staff members and clients alike are features of this work. JDC mobile units have delivered critical supplies throughout the emergency in place from Kiev to Odessa to Kharkov; JDC staff and local Jewish community volunteers risked getting food packages to homebound elderly in areas of unrest; homecare workers have spent nights in the homes of their most frail clients; and special operating hours and call centers at Hesed social welfare centers have ensured round-the-clock care. JDC has also maintained Jewish community connections in the midst of the crisis, continuing its work in Jewish Community Centers throughout the region and operating its family summer retreats. During Jewish holidays that have fallen during the crisis, JDC provided nearly 53,000 boxes of matzah for Passover, organized community seders for thousands of participants, and delivered Passover holiday packages to the poor Jewish elderly and families in its care. This is in addition to Purim gift baskets deliveries and ongoing Jewish educational and cultural opportunities and social events held by JDC or through JDC-supported facilities and Hesed social welfare centers. Today, JDC has 4 major offices and operates and supports a network of 32 Hesed social welfare centers serving Jews in need in more than 1,000 locations across Ukraine. JDC’s long history of working with Ukrainian Jews includes its work 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. 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, please visit www.JDC.org.

Read More

« First ‹ Previous 1 2 3 4 5 10 Next › Last »