Federations Respond to Operation Pillar of Defense January 31, 2013
As rockets rained down on southern Israel during Operation Pillar of Defense in November, the 24-person staff of the Center for Independent Living in Beersheva relocated to its director’s home. The committed staff members of this American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)-supported program joined volunteers to assist disabled Israelis throughout the area, distributing emergency kits and enabling families to be safe throughout “code red” alerts.
In Kiryat Malachi, the families of Yitzach Amsalem and Aharon Smadja, two young Israeli men killed in rocket attacks, mourned. Through The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Victims of Terror Fund, these families – and so many others who lost loved ones, homes and property – received counseling, emergency grants and critical assistance to help rebuild their lives after the conflict.
At the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council, a group of small towns and kibbutzim, the rocket fire was just the latest violent surge in more than 12 years of attacks from Gaza. A respite program enabled thousands of children to escape the blaring sirens and bomb shelter runs for a day of fun.
All of these programs were made possible by Jewish Federations’ Israel Terror Relief Fund, which raised more than $5 million to help the young, the disabled, seniors and terror victims in Israel’s south.
JFNA has released a new report detailing how the funds were allocated and used, working with our partners on the ground, including The Jewish Agency, JDC, World ORT and the Israel Trauma Coalition, and with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ), the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and others. Read the full report here.
“I was in my first week on the job as chair of the Board when this crisis erupted,” said Michael Siegal, chair of the JFNA Board of Trustees. “By traveling to Israel as part of JFNA’s solidarity mission, I had the opportunity to see this work under way firsthand. In reviewing these materials, I am truly proud and inspired anew by our system’s efficient and effective response.”
For more information on the Israel Terror Relief Fund, please contact Tikva Schein in JFNA’s Israel office.