Snapshot: JDC’s Work Around the World

January 12, 2016


When a group of Israeli philanthropists went looking for the perfect blend of their desire to charitably give to Jewish communities in the diaspora and their passion for photography, they realized they’d have to create it themselves.

That’s how Jdocu — a collaboration with JDC led by philanthropist Benny Levin — was born.

The group travels to the field to document JDC’s work around the world. Photos from the group’s travels were recently featured in the book “Repairing the World: Frame by Frame.”

“To see the lifesaving work of JDC in action is to begin to understand it. JDC embodies the Jewish community’s deep and abiding ethic of caring Jews and others in need, but its mission cannot only be relayed in statistics and narrative summaries,” the book’s introduction reads. “To be there, on the ground, and to see how the work changes lives, one person at a time, is the first step in grasping the role JDC plays in helping the vulnerable and nurturing entire Jewish communities as they struggle to thrive amid present-day challenges.”

The book features haunting and powerful images from Jewish communities in Georgia, Cuba, the Baltic States, Azerbaijan, Central Asia, and beyond.

The JDC beneficiaries featured tell stories that are “sad and happy and express despair as well as hope,” said Amir Halevy, one of the Jdocu photographers and a member of JDC’s Board of Directors.

“The encounter with the Jewish communities in the diaspora was very moving and shaking for us growing and being educated as sabras in Israel,” he said. “For the first time, we met a fading Jewish community with individuals facing day-to-day difficulties, struggling to provide themselves with basic needs.”

Taly Livni, JDC’s Israel philanthropic relations manager, said Jdocu is an important tool for JDC — and a true way to understand the Talmudic precept of “Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh LaZeh,” which translates to “All Jews are responsible for each other.

“For the first time ever, Israeli philanthropists are looking beyond borders and getting to deeply understand the needs of Jewish communities in the diaspora,” she said. “Being leaders in the philanthropic arena in Israel, the group’s members truly appreciate the mission of JDC and have gone a long way toward helping us spread our mission in Israel.”

Levin said the photographs tell stories words can’t.

“Pictures are worth more than a thousand words. It is not through rhetoric, but through the lens, that we were able to connect to the personal stories of the people we met,” he said. “In the field, we understood tikkun olam.”

Come to a special JDC Ambassadors/Jdocu event this May in New York. Learn more.

JDC’s global programs are made possible by the generosity of our supporters.

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