While my friends and colleagues are working around the clock to save lives at the borders of Ukraine, The Jewish Agency for Israel’s (JAFI) work around the globe isn’t stopping for a minute.
And neither am I.
Last week I had a fascinating experience in Mexico City where I visited Project TEN – Be The Change. It’s a Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) program that targets young Jews from the entire Jewish world and brings them together to do community development work. In counterpoint to the dire situation in Ukraine where JAFI is also doing incredible work, it was uplifting to see Project TEN in action.
But now my bags are repacked with parkas and sweaters, and by the time you read this, I’ll be in Warsaw, Poland for a first-hand look at the heroic work our overseas partners are doing at the Ukrainian border.
In this head spinning geopolitical moment, I feel the power of global Jewry and the interconnectedness of the Jewish people as never before.
On the bright side, my trip to Mexico connected me to meet Project 10’s young adults who are on a three-month long tikkun olam project in Chimalhuacán — a high poverty community outside of Mexico City. It was joyful to see Mexican, British, and European Jewish young adults working side by side with young Israelis who have finished their army experience. They are doing good and establishing relationships that will last a lifetime.
Project TEN currently operates projects in Israel, Mexico, Uganda, Ghana, South Africa, Greece, Cambodia, and Ethiopia. I can easily envision it becoming a meaningful service option for our own Atlanta young adults, whether as a gap year experience or a post-college experience through an organization like Repair the World. This is the way to build a cadre of future Jewish leaders who have passion, perspective, and impact.
Heading into the darkness and destruction of the war in Ukraine, I feel privileged and proud to witness our incredible global Jewish network in action at the border.
You’ll likely see some photos and brief comments from me on the Federation Facebook page. I look forward to updating the community on all that I experience at the Ukraine border when I return to Atlanta. Know that your incredible support of the Ukraine Emergency Fund is making this holy work possible.