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The Jewish Federations of North America
April 2011

A Message from Shep Remis, Israel & Overseas Chair

As you will see in this edition of the Israel and Overseas newsletter, the past few months have been a very exciting time in the Israel and Overseas arena. Click here to read the full message.  

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

As we present you with the latest news from Israel and Overseas, Spring has arrived and Pesach is approaching. It is a time of renewal here at the JFNA Israel & Overseas office. Click here to read the full message.  

Knesset Mission to the USA

JFNA Israel & Overseas and Israel's Office of the Prime Minister co-hosted a senior delegation from the Knesset on a visit to the United States in January. Read more.

JFNA and ITC Ensure Trauma Victims are not Alone 

With the support of the Jewish Federation movement, ITC has reached out quickly and effectively to Israelis suffering trauma during the Second Intifada, the escalation in the Gaza Region, the Disengagement from Gaza, the Second Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, and more recently, the Carmel wildfires. Read More.

The Global Planning Table 

The collective has long been a defining feature of the Federation Movement.  The Jewish Federations of North America seeks to reinvigorate the collective through the establishment of a Global Planning Table (GPT).  The GPT will shape our collective agenda and work to deepen commitment to it for years to come. Read more.

Program Spotlight: Teaching in Israel's Remote Regions 

OTZMA’s ITC (Israel Teaching Corps) brings Diaspora Jews to Israel for a ten month immersive program.  Federations from across North America recruit young Jewish adults with motivation, commitment and initiative for a service-oriented year in Israel. Read more.

Federations in Action: The Jewish Community Federation of Cleveland Advances Women's Health in Israel  

"Did you remember to worry about yourself?” reads a poster advertising physical exercise classes for women at a local community center; ‘Join us in learning how to integrate physical activity into your busy life.”  Read more.  

Completing the Journey Mission 

In late March, JFNA held the Completing the Journey mission, which visited Israel and Ethiopia. The mission was a successful and deeply meaningful event, which brought the Ethiopian-Jewish Aliyah that began over 30 years before to a full circle. Read more.

First TribeFest an Outstanding Success 

In a bold move to engage with and involve young Jews in their communities,  JFNA organized a mega social and cultural gathering in Las Vegas this past March, where almost 1,300 Jews aged 22 -45 participated in lectures, forums, and performances revolving around religion, Jewish culture, and social Issues. 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.

The Latest on Conversions

JFNA continues to act 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, as well as the new controversy on some Orthodox conversions. 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. We are also deeply troubled by recent denials of the right to aliyah for some who underwent Orthodox conversions in North America, and have been working hard to solve these issues. See here for more details.

Carmel Forest Fires Aftermath

Jewish Federations have raised approximately $2.7 million to help Israel respond and recover from the fires that killed 44 people, scorched more than 10,000 acres of pine forest and burned 100 homes. JFNA's Carmel Wildfire Allocations Committee, chaired by Andrea Oster from the Jewish Federation of San Diego, have allocated almost $1m in funds for programs including trauma relief services for residents of the region and firefighters directly affected by the Carmel wildfires, supplemental trauma-related training for professionals and para-professionals, direct assistance to the children of victims' families and student programming for the Yemin Orde Youth Village.
See here for more details.

Negev Work Group  

The JFNA Negev Work Group is establishing a funding coalition for  federations who wish to collaborate on strategic Negev-wide programs in  key issue areas impacting on all the Negev. For more information, please contact Work Group Chair, Marilyn Blumer
or Lee Perlman.
For more information on our Federations’diverse involvement and region-wide impact in the Negev, click here.

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.