WE SUPPORT JEWS
We’re committed to providing help for Jews in need, regardless of where they are. Many are not as fortunate we are in the U.S., so through direct funding and global partners, where there is a need, we are there to help.
Israel: lt’s All About Kesher
Atlanta needs Israel’s spirit and know-how as much as Israel needs us. In our Israel partnership cities of Yokneam and Megiddo, our focus is on kesher, Hebrew for connection.
Here’s how we do it:
We bring Israel and Jewish Atlanta together through human connections. A shining example is Shinshinim Atlanta. Shinshinim are recent Israeli high school graduates taking a gap year in Atlanta before their military service. These exuberant teen ambassadors spend their time teaching about Israeli culture in all corners of our community – schools, synagogues, camps and community organizations.
For more than 25 years, Atlanta has had a remarkable professional and personal relationship with the people of Yokneam and Megiddo which are Federation’s Partnership Cities in Israel. Dozens of Atlanta classrooms are now connected virtually to Israeli classrooms in Yokneam and Megiddo. Our students study together, celebrate holidays together, and help advance their Hebrew and English language skills. Israeli young adults work in our Jewish overnight camps and many Israeli athletes participated in Atlanta’s 2019 JCC Maccabi Games. The bridge flows both ways!
We also encourage Atlanta/Israel teacher exchanges and collaboration between our program professionals. Because American philanthropy sector is highly developed, and Israel’s is not, Atlanta professionals are “coaching” our partners in Yokneam and Megiddo. We’re sharing knowledge on how to cultivate philanthropic relationships that will build community and address Israeli social needs.
A new initiative in the region is to support what we call “Lone Soldiers.” — young men and women serving in the IDF who do not have family members in Israel – both Atlanta, St. Louis and Megiddo. The initiative is led and funded by local Atlanta leaders.
Yokneam and Megiddo have one of the most successful Ethiopian resettlement programs in all of Israel. We’re inspired by the gains the Ethiopian community has made in Yokneam and Megiddo. Young Ethiopian families are doing far better than earlier immigrant generations, but many are still considered at-risk due to persistent illiteracy and underemployment. Federation’s investment in empowerment programs proves that mentoring and counseling interventions can change lives.
For teenagers at risk who live in our partnership region, the world of high tech is literally at their doorstep, and yet without the right job skills, it can feel inaccessible. Yokneam’s High Tech Park is Israel’s fastest growing startup ecosystem, home to more than 140 tech firms. Now, Federation is providing tech training opportunities for at-risk students, many of whom are Ethiopian. We are determined to make investments in skill-building, mentorship, and entrepreneurial skills that can lift them out of poverty and into tech jobs that will change the course of their lives.
In Minsk, Belarus, where Jewish life was devastated after the Holocaust, we are engaged in the exciting work of community repair. We support the work of American Joint Distibution Committee (known as the JDC), the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), and the Reform Movement for Progressive Judaism. These agencies oversee care for elderly Jews and other vulnerable populations who are food insecure, have special needs, and live on meager incomes. The JDC’s Minsk Jewish Campus has become a vital center of life for all generations who are rediscovering and celebrating their Judaism.
Our Federation supports the JDC and JAFI with core allocations every year. These two agencies are so vital to world Jewry that our work in Israel and in Belarus couldn’t happen without their close oversight and partnership. The Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is the world’s leading global Jewish humanitarian agency. Since the founding of the state of Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) has supported Jewish communities around the world and helped resettle immigrants to build the modern state. Both of these development agencies offer in-depth understanding of the challenges facing Jews in need, and an unmatched capacity to respond in times of crisis.