Building Jewish identity, supporting the needy, making a difference. That’s what funds from the Jewish Alliance’s Annual Campaign do in the local community as well as in Jewish communities overseas. Community support is wide reaching and our commitment to two primary overseas partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), is strong.
Here are three JAFI programs that receive grants from the Alliance’s annual campaign. These three programs highlight the exceptional work JAFI does globally through the support of the local community.
Did you know that approximately one in four Israeli children is living at or below the poverty line? JAFI’s Youth Futures is working to remedy that statistic by facilitating a program to empower at-risk youth who live in Israel’s social and geographic peripheries. Through campaign dollars, we are able to support 141 youths and their families with much-needed emotional, social and educational services. Each of the 36 low-income participating communities has a coordinator who works to help children and parents access the available social services, teaches parenting skills, helps parents manage the family budget and harnesses the resources of the community to build a positive educational environment for all children.
In 2014-15, a total of 314 Youth Futures mentors and two dozen coordinators and other staff collaborated with dozens of professional teams to work with 5,000 students and 7,000 family members.
Youth Futures is one of the many JAFI programs, working to build a better society in Israel, a vibrant Jewish future and create strong connections to Israel and around the world.
Ethiopians with Special Needs
Israel absorbs thousands of immigrants every year from Jewish communities around the world. At the Beit Alpha Gilboa Absorption Center, new immigrant children with special needs, and their families, are provided critical services upon their arrival in Israel from Ethiopia. The center offers learning and emotional support to children who exhibit signs of learning disabilities and behavioral distress. With the support of the Alliance, Ethiopians with Special Needs has been able to support and provide academic and psychological treatment to 60 children living at the absorption center.
In November 2013, a family of four arrived at the Alpha Absorption Center. From the start, the staff paid special attention to the eldest son, Roi, who was showing signs of speech delays and learning gaps. After the first few months, Roi did not show any improvement in his language, writing or life skills classes. Roi’s parents refused to have him diagnosed or receive any kind of treatment out of concern that it would negatively “categorize” him. After guidance from the educators, Roi’s parents began to cooperate and have Roi participate in specialized educational and social programming. In July 2015, the family left the center after nearly two years of Roi receiving the treatment he needed. Today, Roi is in ninth grade, attending a school that offers individualized learning in a special education classroom.
JAFI supports Jewish communities around the world that develop Jewish identity where Jewish life was suppressed for decades. JAFI’s MiNYanim is a Jewish leadership platform for young-adult Jews from Central, Eastern and Western Europe and Israel. Over the course of two years, participants engage with each other, form international networks, explore their diverse Jewish narratives and initiate their own community-building projects to develop thriving Jewish communities.
MiNYanim alumni are the new generation of leadership in their Jewish communities. They are attracting growing numbers of young local Jews and serving as gateways to additional Jewish programming. As of 2016, MiNYanim has nearly 250 alumni living and leading in Hungary, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Czechoslovakia, Bosnia, Serbia and Israel.
The Alliance and JAFI have a partnership spanning decades, helping our community to fulfill our longstanding commitment to the State of Israel, Zionism and fostering Jewish peoplehood worldwide. Through the Alliance’s annual allocations process, volunteers help to review grant proposals and determine which programs will receive critical funds. To learn about these programs is to understand the diversity of the supported populations and the impact your gift to the Jewish Alliance is making. We are only able to make our impact locally and globally thanks to your support.
For more information about the 2017 Annual Campaign, the Jewish Alliance or to make a gift, contact Michele Gallagher at email@example.com, or 401-421-4111, ext. 165, or visit jewishallianceri.org.
STEPHANIE HAGUE is the philanthropy officer at the Jewish Alliance.