Even as hundreds of rockets from Gaza have barraged Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) 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, JDC’s Israeli Facebook page (www.facebook.com/joint.israel) 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, JDC 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 JDC President Penny Blumenstein and JDC Interim CEO Darrell Friedman.
Since the beginning of the crisis, JDC 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. JDC is also:
- mobilizing and has deployed volunteers from its network of programs including Better Together, Centers for Young Adults, and 50,000+ member AMEN volunteer initiative to operate activities for children confined to bomb shelters and create arts and crafts kits and game activities. JDC is also collaborating with the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and making its AMEN volunteers available to assist JAFI Absorption Centers in Southern Region as needed.
- packing and distributing emergency kits for the elderly and people with disabilities. Kits include a flashlight, transistor radio, batteries, a first aid kit and bottled water.
- will deploy social workers, together with Israel Ministry of Welfare, to reach out and support isolated elderly, Holocaust survivors, and seniors with special needs to ensure they are cared for and have food, medicine, groceries, as well as emotional support during this traumatic time.
- preparing its network of children’s post trauma programs to be immediately operational once schools and community centers have reopened. Parents are already utilizing the skills from JDC’s “Red Alert Song” and Hibuki doll programs during and after siren alerts, at home, and in shelters.
- uploaded its Israeli Facebook page with a variety of crisis-related tips and how-to videos for the public. Additionally, an interactive Facebook feature called “My Dream” will allow volunteers working with children in bomb shelters and “safe areas” to post three children’s drawings from each shelter to a special album for the public to view. The drawings will exhibited at JDC’s Israel headquarters in the coming months.
JDC 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. JDC’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.
JDC — the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee or “The Joint” — is the leading Jewish humanitarian organization, working in 70 countries to lift lives and strengthen communities. We rescue Jews in danger, provide aid to vulnerable Jews, develop innovative solutions to Israel’s most complex social challenges, cultivate a Jewish future, and lead the Jewish community’s response to crises. For over 100 years, our work has put the timeless Jewish value of mutual responsibility into action, making JDC essential to the survival of millions of people and the advancement of Jewish life across the globe.
For more information, please visit www.JDC.org.