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The Jewish Federations of North America
January 2011

A Message from Shep Remis, Israel & Overseas Chair

 It is with special pride that I reflect on this past year. Israel & Overseas has been both proactive and reactive, making progress on our long-term goals as we responded to global events. Click here to read the message.  

A Message from Rebecca Caspi, Senior Vice President, Israel & Overseas 

2011 is here, and we at JFNA Israel & Overseas are looking forward with anticipation. As we ring in the year, JFNA has reaffirmed its historic partnership with JAFI and JDC, which will enhance our ability to meet global Jewish needs. Bouyed by this outcome, we already find ourselves in the trenches, working to make sure relief reached the areas in northern Israel damaged by the Carmel fire. Click here to read the message.

Religious Pluralism in Israel: Why Should We Care? By ANN PAVA, Jewish Learning Chair, National Women's Philanthropy

The above title was the name of the session developed by the JFNA Israel & Overseas department at the ILJOC held in November in New Orleans. Clearly the "why should we care" part was unnecessary as the session was standing room only with more than 200 "caring" women (20% of conference attendees!) packed in the room. Read more.
Read more.

Living it up in Arad: Building a Young Community

"There is a lot of negative immigration from the Negev region," explains Tehila Nachalon, Israel representative of the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey (JFCNJ). "Young people who grew up there leave for the big cities to seek higher education, employment, and a better social life." The Jewish Federation of CNJ is working to change this reality, with a particular focus on drawing young families to its Partnership 2000 regions of Arad and Tamar. Read more.

Program Spotlight: JDC Supports Elderly and Disabled Residents in South

The success of JDC's 120 Strong during Operation Cast Lead proved that there was a need for these services during peacetime as well, resulting in Even Stronger, a multi-tiered initiative involving two programs that assist elderly and disabled residents: Accessible Communities for the Disabled and the Community Caseworker Model. Read more.

Speakers Bureau: Maya Tamir

Maya Tamir, a 10-year-old piano prodigy from Hod Hasharon , is the current pride of JFNA’s Speakers’ Bureau. Praised by Zubin Mehta and lauded by classical music enthusiasts the world over, Tamir is the daughter of a native Israeli father and a mother who immigrated to Israel from Russia. She has been playing publicly to great acclaim for years and recently made her JFNA debut at the Campaign Chairs & Directors Mission in Israel. After her performance, The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee invited her to play at their Jan. 12th event, A Night to Celebrate Israel, and requests by other Federations soon followed. Read more.  

New Features Online

Visit our main page to get the basics on JFNA-funded projects and find out more about our Federation partnership communities in israel and Overseas. Our new Jewish Pluralism in Israel feature provides up-to-date articles and resources about the changing face of religious identity in Israel. Click here for this feature.

New Track at Planner's Institute

JFNA’s Israel & Overseas Department, through the I&O Affinity Group, is excited to be partnering for the first time with the JFNA Planners Institute, a conference for federation planning professionals from across North America.  This Feb. 1-2, 2011, the Planners Institute will include an I&O track for planning professionals whose roles focus on the overseas agenda.  These sessions, which will include topics such as talking about the case for Israel, coalition building and overseas funding strategies, will provide I&O planning professionals with the opportunity to dialogue with their colleagues around overseas specific themes.  For more information contact Rachel Litchman, Assistant Director, Israel & Overseas Initiatives, 212.284.6583.

Understanding Select Core Priorities 2011

Select Core Priorities 2011 is a new temporary allocations model put in place while the Global Planning Table is developed. Select Core Priorities 2011 enables limited designation of annual campaign dollars to JAFI and JDC’s core activities and gives Federations a window into key programs and themes they are funding. To learn about this new model, please join one of the three scheduled conference call-webinars. We also encourage you to visit our dedicated webpage at for helpful resources—including a User's Guide and FAQ's document—and full program proposals from JAFI and JDC.

Responding to Conversions Bill

JFNA continues to be at the forefront of the conversion issue in Israel. Led by our Israel & Overseas team, we have been closely monitoring the situation concerning both of the current possible conversion bills. While we support MK David Rotem's IDF conversion bill, we have been firmly opposed to Rotem's earlier general conversion bill, and continue to be actively involved in the struggle against this proposed law. See here for more details.

Fire in the Carmel Forest  

When the fires broke out in Israel's North in December, JFNA I&O immediately assembled our team in an emergency session to evaluate the situation, update the entire federation movement, assess needs and monitor and report on developments. Our staff worked virtually around the clock during the crisis in close contact with our partners at JAFI, JDC and the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC), See here for more details.

Negev Work Group

The JFNA Negev Work Group has developed for Federations a diverse program menu of region-wide programs in cooperation with JAFI, JDC, other non-profits, and the Government of Israel to further the economic development of the Negev and attract, retain and integrate young adults. Click here to watch a film that spotlights some of these exciting initiatives. for more information, contact Lee Perlman.

Opportunities for Giving

Click here to visit an online listing of I&O giving opportunities developed over the last six months with JAFI and JDC for the Planned Giving and Endowment bulletin.