Spring has arrived in Israel and with it budding hope that the coronavirus will start to recede. Government officials have already taken a set of initial steps to ease restrictions on movement and businesses, but remain vigilant in their efforts to prevent people from gathering. This year people will remain at home on the two most Israeli days of the year – Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day) – while Arab Israelis will observe the month of Ramadan without the traditional late night family get-togethers and feasts.
Israelis and Jews around the world can join Yom HaZikaron ceremonies and Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations virtually. Visit JewishTogether.org for program and event ideas for both “Yoms.” We recommend Masa Israel's virtual Yom HaZikaron on April 27th, a moving and meaningful English-language memorial program honoring those who fell defending Israel. And of course you won’t want to miss the Global Celebration of Israel on April 29 at 2PM Eastern. Plan to attend this star-studded event, invite friends and encourage others to invite their friends as well. We’ve got lots of surprises in store as we celebrate Israel’s 72nd birthday together!
Overseas Partners’ Emergency Response Efforts
This Tuesday we marked Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. Sadly, Holocaust survivors are among the most susceptible to COVID-19, which is why they are receiving special care from our overseas partners along with other elderly and vulnerable people. Check out the video and resources from our latest call about this important work. And read JDC’s emergency response strategy to learn how the Joint is helping around the world during this difficult time.
Coronavirus and the way it has so suddenly changed our world is taking a toll on everyone. For those helping steer us through the pandemic as first line responders to our physical and emotional needs, the work of the Israel Trauma Coalition(ITC) is helping them stay the course day after day after day. Follow this link to find out how their team of experts provide psychological support and guidance to social workers, clinicians, community leaders, rabbis, imams and more, as part of their response to the pandemic.
Jewish Agency for Israel CEO and Director General Amira Ahronoviz stresses in this blog post how the Agency is helping build solidarity and a sense of community among Jews around the world – all of whom, for possibly the first time in history, are now dealing with the same challenges and grief.
Welcome Developments - Assistance to Jewish Communal Organizations in the US
There was great news at the beginning of this week with the announcement that the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF) had been established. Representing a unique collaboration between seven Jewish Foundations, and in coordination with The Jewish Federations of North America, $80 million in interest-free loans and grants have been pooled to help maintain the infrastructure of Jewish life that advances Jewish education, engagement and leadership in the US. More information is available on JewishTogether.org and you can find the press release here.
And just yesterday, the Jewish Agency for Israel announced a loan fund to provide immediate no-interest loans to global Jewish communities in crisis. Jewish Federations and Keren Heyesod are proud partners in the fund where we are working together to safeguard essential communal infrastructures. You can learn more here about how Jewish Federations are lending a shoulder to lean on as we support some of the communities hit hardest by the pandemic.