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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.  With a new agreement in place with our historic partners, the federation movement is moving forward with a strong commitment to meeting global Jewish needs and working effectively with JAFI and JDC.  Through the Select Core Priorities mechanism and the development of the Global Planning Table, we are in the process of refining different ways to shape our agenda and our collective effectiveness for years to come.

As you will read below, the Israel & Overseas office continues to respond to both urgent and ongoing needs here in Israel. While we keep a close eye on troubling events in Israel’s south, the Carmel Wildfire Allocations Committee has been funding efforts to assist people who suffered loss and trauma during the terrible fires in that region. 

We also continue to be very active in the conversion debate in Israel.  As we work closely with other parties to advocate for a fair solution to this issue, the need for mutual understanding between Israelis and the North American Jewish community has become more important than ever before. We are very proud of the success of our Knesset mission to the U.S. that gave senior Israeli parliamentary and media professionals the opportunity to visit and meet us, and obtain a far deeper understanding of both our Jewish communities and our Federation movement.

Excitingly, we are also working with the Jewish Agency and colleagues in JFNA’s Philanthropic Resources group to bring the remaining 8,700 Falas Mura Ethiopians to Israel. Part of this effort included support for the recent, aptly named Completing the Journey Mission, which crossed between Ethiopia and Israel.

We are very proud that over 1,200 young Jews had the opportunity to learn more about  the world of Israel & Overseas’ at TribeFest, which ran this March in Las Vegas.  Hundreds of participants chose to attend one or more of the 10 sessions focused on overseas Jewry, engaged in discussion, and were inspired to bring insights learned back to their home-towns.

As we usher in the holiday of Passover, when we celebrate our new beginning as the Jewish Nation, we are also witnessing new beginnings for the people our movement assists every day.

Chag Kasher V’Sameach!


Rebecca Caspi