AREAS OF SUPPORT
IDF SOLDIER PROGRAMS
ALLEVIATING HARDSHIPS AND IMPROVING THE LIVES OF IDF SOLDIERS BY SUPPORTING
IDF Formal Education Program
Pre-army preparation courses
Medical Treatment rooms for IDF veterans
Medical and recreational facilities
IDF immigrant programs
Youth Leadership Training Program
Israel Air Force Center (IAF Center) provides an essential bridge between the Israel Air Force and the Israeli population. The IAF's history, culture, and core values provide an inspirational framework to impart the principles of national service, the ideals of Zionism, and tangible leadership skills.
In partnership with educational and military institutions, IAF Center has pioneered an innovative model to train and educate youth, providing firsthand experience with the Air Force and its mission. Teens participate in weekly lessons, monthly retreats, and mentorship programs with IAF officers and soldiers over a period of two years. This training also includes presentations and interactive seminars on science, technology, aviation, aeronautics, and space-related topics, as well as discussions on subjects such as responsibility, discipline, tolerance, determination, the value in volunteerism, and giving back to one's community.
IAJF is proud to have supported the Youth Leadership Training Program, creating meaningful connections between future leaders of Israel's communities and cultivating in teens a sense of pride and confidence in their future paths.
Jewish Heritage Journey Across Israel for IDF Commanders
Hailed by Israel's Ministry of Education as one of the most important Jewish educational programs today for youth, Masa Yisraeli (the Israeli Routes Odyssey) offers a unique, life-changing experience, designed to reinforce individual, Jewish, and Zionist identities, while strengthening the bond and sense of belonging of the participants to the people, land, and State of Israel. Masa trip participants emerge with a more defined sense-of-self and are more committed as Jews.
IAJF supported Masa Yisraeli-IDF Tactical Command program for IDF commanders. The effects of the Masa program take on additional dimensions when applied to the young soldiers. IDF stated: "Our soldiers know how to fight but they should also know what they are fighting for." Soldiers who have participated attest to the very powerful impact Masa Yisraeli has had on their service and their lives afterward, with the program further motivating them and adding to their resiliency.
As of 2017, 25,000 IDF commanders from the most elite units had participated in Masa Yisraeli. By investing in them, a growing percentage of Israel's future generations are reconnecting to the idealism upon which the State was founded.
Formal Education Program for IDF Soldiers
The needs and struggles of IDF soldiers neither begin nor end on the battlefield. Many active-duty soldiers have not completed their basic high school education or received a matriculation. IAJF together with Friends of the IDF expanded the IDF Education Program, ensuring that more soldiers will be able to complete their high school equivalency by the end of their military service.
The IAJF Formal Education Program seeks to improve the future of the soldiers and the State of Israel by granting those eligible with the opportunities to pursue either a higher education or a successful career upon their release from the military. The soldiers' time in the army trained them to give all they can to the security and success of Israel, and the IAJF Formal Education Program allows them to do so long after they hang up their uniform. IAJF is proud to invest in Israel's next generation of leaders and to help “change the future of Israel - one soldier at a time."
Apartment for a Combat Lone Soldier
In 2016 there were approximately 5,800 "lone soldiers" serving in the IDF. Some lone soldiers are new immigrants that arrived in Israel without their families, and some are Israeli-born soldiers from difficult socio-economic backgrounds.
Beit Kobi provides support and maintains shared apartments for lone soldiers from the Givati Brigade of the IDF Ground Forces for the entire period of their military service. It was established in memory of Kobi Ichelbom Z"L, a commander in the Givati Brigade who was killed in action on March 10, 2002, as a fulfillment of his unwritten will to care for the weak. In 2016 IAJF sponsored an apartment for one year for an IDF combat soldier who emigrated from New York, providing him with comfortable homelike quarters to return to while he was on military furlough. IAJF's support provides soldiers with the compassion, help, and care they need to successfully serve in the army.
National Center for Leadership and Character Development
The Israel Air Force Center (IAFC) in partnership with the Israel Air Force, developed the National Center for Leadership and Character Development (NCLCD). The Center’s objective is to connect the younger generation to the values of its predecessors (particularly the State’s Founders and those in the Israel Air Force), through a multi-faceted and interactive curriculum that emphasizes care and volunteerism for the community. The NCLCD educates young adults, ages 14 to 18, about their responsibility to strengthen and secure the State of Israel. Through seminars developed by experts at the Center’s IAF Heritage Unit, these young adults personally connect with their Israeli heritage and values and develop a dedication to the Israel Air Force and an understanding of the humanity and heroism that are the bedrock of the IAF’s culture and values.
In the 2012-13 academic year, the NCLCD at the IAFC reinstated the IAF Youth Corps Unit. The participants included young adults from 6 towns in Israel located primarily in the south. The program committee was comprised of experts from the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Defense, and the IAF. The IAJF supported the operation of the NCLCD programs and workshops. Due to the success of their youth workshops, IAF soldiers now also take part in these activities. The IAJF is a proud supporter of the entire Israel Air Force family, promoting essential national initiatives and enabling the IAFC to expand this special program.
Resilience Training Program for Prevention of PTSD
It is estimated that 6-8 percent of IDF infantry soldiers develop severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms during their first deployment cycle. PTSD has a high prevalence of debilitating symptoms, including extreme hyperarousal and edginess, flashbacks, intrusive re-experiencing of the trauma, acute avoidance of potential trauma remainders and depression. Because these symptoms occur even during relatively calm periods, it is vital to implement science-informed prevention and resilience promoting programs before combat deployment.
Over a period of five years ending in 2012, Tel Aviv University's School of Psychological Sciences (TAU) and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine collaborated to characterize the cognitive mechanism putting soldiers at risk for combat-related PTSD. The two schools then developed computerized training to be delivered in the barracks as part of the IDF's basic training course curriculum. This computerized resilience training is expected to afford normalization of deviant thought processes arising before deployment and thereby increase mental resilience in combat and reduce the incidence of PTSD. The trial of this protocol was launched in November of 2012 with IAJF’s support, and the impact of this project could reach beyond the IDF to troops deploying around the globe.
Gym for the 80th Territorial Division's Carmit Outpost
The Israel Defense Forces' 80th Territorial Division is the largest division of the IDF and oversees a 150 km stretch of the Egyptian border with Israel and 200 km of the Jordanian border with Israel. Soldiers in this division are responsible for sophisticated equipment and for ensuring the residents of Israel can go about their days unhindered. The 80th Territorial Division's Carmit Outpost is responsible for guarding against several security threats including terror attacks along the Southern border (where infiltrators may come from the Gaza Strip and Sinai), illegal smuggling of drugs, and illegal entrance into the country at large.
This assignment is intense physically and emotionally even for the most focused soldier. As part of the IDF’s new approach to providing facilities at a faster pace, IAJF funded a prefabricated gym structure that will house exercise equipment, bathrooms, and locker rooms. The project can accommodate up to 25 users and will provide amenities that allow these soldiers to unwind and re-energize for their daily routines. Lt. Col. L., Infantry Commander, said "It is heartwarming to know there are people who care about the soldiers who stand vigilant at their post."
Identity and Purpose Programs
Friends of the IDF (FIDF) supports social, educational, cultural, and recreational programs and facilities for the IDF soldiers. Among those programs, FIDF promotes programs of Identity and Purpose that allow soldiers and commanders to focus on, process, and explore issues of Jewish values and identity.
Three innovative FIDF programs were designed exclusively for IDF soldiers and commanders. The Recreation & Education Retreat is a three-day program for combat units that emphasizes the educational role of commanders and allows them and their soldiers to explore issues of ethics, social tensions, and moral dilemmas that arise during complex warfare situations. Educational Seminars for Senior Officers are designed to develop and strengthen the moral commitment, sense of identity, and communication within the military unit and open the door for productive discourse. Traditional Shabbat Experience is a weekend of educational and spiritual activities at historic sites around Israel, allowing commanders and soldiers to connect to and explore their Jewish and Israeli identity, and emphasize the connections between soldiers, the land of Israel, and Israeli society.
Lt. Col. Gabriel Gaon, Deputy Commander of the Paratroopers Brigade, said “These activities let us see things in a new light, and come out with concrete, real tools we use in everyday situations. And it’s not about becoming a better soldier, it’s about using it all to be a better person.” IAJF’s 2011 support of Identity and Purpose programs, matched dollar-for-dollar, allowed more than 1,250 IDF soldiers to participate in these powerful experiences.
Lone Soldier Aliyah Program
In addition to facilitating the Aliyah of thousands of families and individuals, Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN) also supports hundreds of lone soldiers who come to Israel and enlist for the full IDF service. These young adults come without family support, making the same commitment as their fellow Israeli born soldiers. NBN maintains contact with the lone soldiers, finding adoptive families for them for Shabbat and holidays, communicating with their families abroad, sending packages, organizing fun social events, and providing them with financial grants.
The IAJF’s contribution in 2011 supported 10 soldiers in the NBN Lone Soldier Aliyah Program, all of whom joined combat units. These soldiers were on an August 15, 2011, NBN flight from JFK airport, part of a group of 100 soon-to-be soldiers and 250 fellow Olim all sharing the experience of fulfilling a lifelong dream of Aliyah. IAJF representatives joined this flight to share in the heartwarming experience and to personally escort these soldiers as they built their futures in Israel.
ENHANCING QUALITY OF LIFE FOR VULNERABLE POPULATIONS BY SUPPORTING
Summer camps for children with cancer
After-school and daycare centers for at-risk groups
Community mentoring and family retreats
Children’s dormitories and loving homes
Housing and employment for elderly
Aliyah and post-aliyah programs
Legal aid for immigrants
Healing programs and transportation to hospitals
Promoting Israel, Jewish history, and peace
Ir David: Enchanted Jerusalem
`The City of David Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1986, is dedicated to the preservation and development of the Biblical City of David and its surroundings. This state-of-the-art global attraction connects people of all faiths and backgrounds from around the world to rediscover the glory of Jerusalem's ancient history.
Educational and Therapeutic Services for At-Risk Children
Orr Shalom develops and operates a range of educational and therapeutic programs for Israeli children at risk and their parents. Orr Shalom seeks to enable Israel's at-risk youth to realize their potential and their right to grow up loved, protected, and respected. Utilizing small therapeutic frameworks, Orr Shalom assists them in overcoming emotional, academic, and social distress in order to grow, develop, and integrate as citizens in mainstream society.
As of 2017 Orr Shalom cared for over 1,400 children and youth at risk who were removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect. Orr Shalom is committed to finding a replacement home for every child in its care and to helping children break the cycle of abuse. For 20 years, Orr Shalom has employed Sherut Leumi (National Service) volunteers in 20 therapeutic family group homes. The volunteers care for the physical, educational, and emotional needs of the children, helping to provide a safe, loving, and therapeutic environment where each child experiences a healthy model of family life, often for the very first time. Through Orr Shalom, IAJF has sponsored two National Service volunteers, responsible for caring for 20 at-risk children living in group homes in Eilat. IAJF has also provided five highly vulnerable orphans with additional therapy, educational intervention, and clothing, helping them rebuild their shattered worlds.
Summer Camp for Children with Cancer in Israel
Every year, about 400 children are diagnosed with cancer in Israel. The diagnosis radically changes the life of both the patient and their family. Hospitalization, strict treatment regimen, side effects, and social isolation become part of daily life.
Sunrise Association aims to bring back the joys of childhood to children with cancer and their siblings world-wide through the creation of Sunrise Day Camps, Year-Round Programs, and In-Hospital Recreational Activities. Sunrise Israel provides free day camps facilitating the much-needed integration of adaptive recreational programming with medical oversight. IAJF sponsored a full summer of camp for three children and their siblings in Israel, restoring their sense of normalcy and childhood while they were dealing with this dreadful disease.
IAJF's support enabled Sunrise Israel to change months of loneliness and isolation into summers filled with sunshine, laughter, and joy.
Excavation Site of the City of David in Jerusalem's Old City
The first archaeological excavations in the Holy Land were conducted in Jerusalem, due to its long history and its integral role in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The City of David Foundation is dedicated to the preservation and development of the Biblical City of David and its environs, and is committed to connecting people from around the world to ancient Jerusalem's glorious past.
IAJF has partnered with Ir David to support the discovery and preservation of the area as well as educational endeavors related to ancient Jerusalem and the strong bond that has existed between Jews and Jerusalem for thousands of years.
Playgrounds for Children in Eshkol Regional Council
The Eshkol Region is located in the Western Negev and borders on the Gaza Strip and Egypt. During the 2014 war in Gaza, 1,330 missiles targeted the Eshkol Region and its 13,500 residents. IAJF immediately sponsored buses to relocate some of the residents of Eshkol to safer areas in Israel.
A year after the war, Eshkol was still in need of rehabilitation. The IAJF joined forces with the Eshkol Regional Council and sponsored four playground facilities, each near a fortified safe room. The people of Eshkol strongly believe that these playgrounds will allow their children a sense of freedom in a normal atmosphere - a place where children can be children. In recognition of IAJF’s support, members of Eshkol hosted IAJF at Kibbutz Nirim and held a beautiful inauguration ceremony at one of the IAJF-sponsored playgrounds. Gadi Yarkoni, seriously injured in the war and the new head of Eshkol's Regional Council, presented the IAJF delegation with a flower-shaped sculpture made from a Kassam rocket, as a symbol of peace, turning destruction into art and rockets into flowers.
IAJF is proud to stand by the people and children of Eshkol and to partner in rebuilding the area.
A Loving Home Base for At-Risk Youth
Gesher El Hanoar, meaning “a bridge for the youth,” provides after-school programs for at-risk youth in Tel Aviv. Programs run six days a week, providing personal attention, meals, academic guidance, workshops and personal empowerment, and opportunities for community involvement, as well as cultural, social, and sports activities. Program graduates continue on to the army, National Service, the labor force, and further academic studies. By reducing the existing gaps in education and social status, the program provides these teens with tools for their future success.
Thanks to the IAJF, 50 at-risk young adults received over 8,000 hours of remedial teaching and tutoring, as well as counseling and enrichment activities.
Scouting Activities for Young Ethiopian Immigrants
The population of the Ethiopian community in Israel in 2012 was approximately 130,000 people, with more than 50% of them under the age of 18, and approximately 70% of the community living at or below the poverty line. Research on Ethiopian Israeli teens indicates that absorption into Israeli society has been difficult and many are classified as "at-risk youth." Educational activities targeting this demographic are vital to their integration into mainstream Israeli society.
For many years the IAJF has supported the Shva Scouts for Ethiopian youths within the Israeli Scouts Movement (Tzofim). Tzofim provides targeted multicultural activities, including leadership training, to integrate these youth into society while preserving their Ethiopian heritage. Shva allows them to meet and mix with groups of their peers as part of the regular Tzofim activities, developing self and group empowerment and forging a positive identity and a sense of belonging within the social framework in Israel. The Shva scouts comprise approximately 900 Ethiopian scouts, aged 10-18. Shva activity takes place in 38 troops in 22 different communities throughout Israel. IAJF has generously sponsored the Erez tribe in the city of Netanya, which includes Ethiopians living below the poverty line. Participation in this scouting program impacts the educational and social well-being of the Ethiopian community, empowering these youth and helping to prevent and reduce various risk behavior patterns, improving their chance for a better life.
A Town for English Speaking Immigrants
The OR Movement is the leading organization for the development and populating of the Negev and Galilee. The community of Carmit, developed in the heart of Israel’s Negev Region, was founded through a partnership between OR Movement, the Israeli Government, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) in North America, Great Britain and Israel, the Jewish Agency, and individuals around the world. Carmit was planned as a modern, diverse, and progressive community that would play a central role in revitalizing the image of Israel’s southern region and offer an alternative to Israel’s crowded and expensive central region.
The IAJF’s contribution in the years 2011-2013 sponsored a classroom at Carmit’s day care center. The state-of-the-art facility provides a nurturing educational environment for young children and offers working parents a first-rate reliable day care option right in their own backyard.
The 2011 JCC Maccabi Games
Over 1,200 athletes and artists from the United States, South Africa, Canada and Israel participated in the 2011 JCC Maccabi Games. The games were held in July in Kiryat Shmona, and was the first time Israel has hosted the nearly 30 year old event. The participants joined in sports competitions and ArtFest workshops, attended performances and concerts, and beautified areas of northern Israel as part of a “Day of Caring and Sharing.” After the competitions ended, the participants also traveled around the country.
IAJF’s generosity enabled 10 teenagers from less affluent families to be part of the JCC Maccabi experience. With the help of IAJF, Maccabi World Union was able to instill in these young Jewish athletes a passion for Israel and a strong connection to Jewish history and their ancestry.
A Hostel for At-Risk Girls
Established in 2006 by the Jaffa Institute, by 2011 Beit Ruth was operating as a haven for 12 girls in Rishon Letzion. These girls had suffered years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse that resulted in homelessness, prostitution and deprivation. Through Beit Ruth, these girls are given opportunities to escape and overcome a life of disabling distress and become educated, independent, confident, and contributing members of Israeli society.
With more than 80 girls on its 2011 waiting list, Beit Ruth has plans to build and operate an entire campus - the Beit Ruth Educational and Therapeutic Village for At-Risk Girls and Young Women in Israel - dedicated to helping over 200 at-risk teenage girls. IAJF’s support has helped Beit Ruth to save the lives of at-risk girls, breaking the cycle of poverty, misery, and abuse, and assisting them in reaching a brighter future.
ESSENTIALS FOR THE NEEDY
RELIEVING FOOD INSECURITY AND FINANCIAL STRAIN AND PROMOTING WELLBEING
High holiday packages
Soup kitchens, food stamps, and hot meals
Humanitarian and financial aid
Clinical treatments for victims of terror
Food Packages for Disadvantaged Families
Yad Yehudit was founded in 2002 by Rabbi Israel Ifargan as a supportive network for the needy throughout Israel, especially in marginalized communities in the south and north of the country. Yad Yehudit assists all segments of society with respect, sensitivity, and dignity including Holocaust survivors, at-risk youth, the elderly, immigrants, the disabled, and the sick. With the assistance of dedicated volunteers, Yad Yehudit prepares and distributes 1,500 packages of basic food necessities to needy families every week and 10,000 Rosh Hashanah and Passover packages every year. In addition, they also provide assistance with medications and basic appliances, and emergency assistance to those in urgent need.
The IAJF proudly supports Yad Yehudit's vital work through the distribution of meals to the needy in Netivot.
Meals for Needy Children
Two in five children in Israel suffer from hunger. In 2012 a report on poverty statistics revealed that there were over 800,000 children in Israel living below the poverty line. Children who are hungry have great difficulty concentrating on their schoolwork and as a result their academic performance suffers. A well-fed child is happier and more alert than a child fighting off hunger pains.
Meir Panim’s Meals for Children program distributes hot nourishing lunches to poverty-stricken children. Since the program was launched, children receiving Meir Panim's hot meals have seen a remarkable improvement in their academic and overall performance.
IAJF has sponsored daily distribution of hot nutritious meals to children enrolled in Meir Panim's afterschool youth clubs. For many of these children this meal is their only hot meal of the day. Thanks to IAJF's support, Meir Panim has been able to provide approximately 4,000 meals for needy children, offering them daily nourishment and hope and the opportunity to live up to their potential.
Improved Housing for Elderly Immigrants and Holocaust Survivors
Amigour, a subsidiary of the Jewish Agency for Israel, provides quality housing to thousands of new immigrants, single parent families, Holocaust survivors, and the elderly in Israel. Over 7,500 elderly live in 57 Amigour sheltered living homes. Amigour also manages 13,000 subsidized units that are home to 40,000 Israelis. Residents enjoy independent living in their own apartment within a tight-knit community. Each facility has professional staff including a social worker, house mother, social coordinator, and director. Comprehensive security arrangements protect the elderly population with public address systems, emergency call buttons, smoke detectors, sprinkles and emergency shelters. In addition to meeting the physical needs of this special population, Amigour provides a wide variety of social and cultural services that enhance the quality of life of its residents.
IAJF's support helps Amigour to provide immediate housing solutions to many seniors who have no viable housing options. IAJF’s 2012 contribution enabled 575 older adults to benefit from supportive programming in five new housing facilities.
PROVIDING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS OF ALL AGES AND ENABLING THEM TO CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIETY BY SUPPORTING
Higher educational scholarships
Jewish education and Iranian studies
Cyber security master’s degree
Construction/renovation of auditoriums, research centers, and classes in schools and universities
Education for Immigrants
Netanya Academic College plays an essential role in the social, economic, and urban development of the city of Netanya and its surrounding areas. It cultivates new leaders in business and in the public sector through an excellent and diverse academic program that is accessible and accommodating. Netanya Academic College has brought the spirit of higher education to the million residents of the Sharon region, including hundreds of thousands of new immigrants to Israel.
At Netanya Academic College the IAJF sponsors academic scholarships for Ethiopian students and other students from immigrant or underprivileged backgrounds. The scholarships offer students of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds the opportunity to transcend cultural and economic barriers, and enter the world of Israeli business, science, arts and politics.
Vocational Scholarship Fund for Ethiopian Young Adults
Seventy-five percent of Ethiopian Israeli youth are defined as "at risk". Many feel a sense of alienation and have been distanced from their original cultural identity without acquiring a sense of belonging to Israeli society. The Yemin Orde Educational Initiative established a pre-army leadership program to empower immigrant youth with the skills necessary to excel in their military service and to thrive in their civilian life.
The transition to a life of independence can be very challenging; many of the graduates do not have the financial means or basic educational requirements to pursue higher education. In order to help these youth successfully integrate into Israel's society, IAJF together with Yemin Orde Educational Initiative launched a unique post-army scholarship fund for vocational and technical studies. The IAJF Vocational Scholarship Fund allows young immigrants to maximize their personal potential, secure careers and build a brighter future.
Equipment for a Mobile Science Laboratory
The Carasso Science Museum (CSM) in Beer Sheva blazed a new path for formal and informal education in the Negev. CSM brings science and technology to schools and communities that cannot make the journey to the museum for a visit to partake in its science-based activities.
In cooperation with IAJF, the Carasso Science Museum created an instrument to revolutionize education in the Negev – a mobile science laboratory. By bringing the experience of a science lab to their doorstep, Carasso is bridging the growing educational gaps between children in the Negev and those in central Israel.
Scholarships to Students of Iranian Descent
The Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya is an internationally renowned private institution of higher education, which has changed the face of Israeli academia, imbuing future leaders with both freedom and a responsibility to society. IDC's academic partners from around the globe have established a vibrant campus of opportunity that uniquely blends uncompromising academic standards and an emphasis on real-world impact. IDC Herzliya attracts graduates of elite combat units in the Israel Defense Forces, students who have made a special contribution to the State of Israel, such as athletes, students from underprivileged areas, and students from over 80 different countries around the world who develop lifelong friends and become excellent ambassadors to the State of Israel.
With the help of the IAJF, during the 2014-2015 academic year, IDC Herzliya offered much-needed financial assistance to 16 talented students of Iranian descent who were chosen not only for their financial needs but also for their excellence and promise. Members of IDC Faculty and the students met with IAJF board members on campus. A dynamic discussion took place, the students sharing their personal stories, their experience at IDC, and their contributions back to the community. The students recognized the opportunities presented to them as a result of IAJF's scholarships.
Multispectral Camera for Scientific Research
Ben Gurion University (BGU) is a leader in the fields of robotics, cyber technology, satellite use, and remote censoring. The University’s collaborates with the Israel Defense Forces and related defense-oriented industries, producing research that is applied to Israel’s homeland security needs and sets a standard for the rest of the world.
IAJF supported the purchase of a multispectral camera for the use of scientists and researchers at BGU laboratories. Multispectral imaging measures light outside of the range of visible light, extending scientists’ vision far beyond the human eye’s capabilities. BGU researchers will analyze and apply this data to improve surveillance, detection, and mapping abilities, contributing to Israel’s homeland security efforts.
BGU’s Homeland Security Institute plays a direct role in the virtual protection of Israel’s borders. The technologies generated here prevent attacks by land, sea, and air.
Improving the Lives of Students in Ma'aleh Adumim
The Municipality of Ma'aleh Adumim works to improve the learning infrastructure for the 10,000 local students, including students with special needs and from varied socioeconomic backgrounds. In addition to the development of innovative teaching techniques, the city works to provide advanced learning environments for all students, investing in equipping schools with computer laboratories.
IAJF has supported Ma'aleh Adumim in upgrading its educational technology. In 2012 IAJF sponsored 34 computers for 2 local schools. One, the Megadim school, is a state school, a green prize award winner and a leader in health and hygiene. The other, Mamad Tzemach Hasade is an award-winning state-religious primary school, with a diverse population including Ethiopian students.
"I would like to thank you for instilling greater value into our school. Each computer is a significant tool in the learning process. IAJF's support enables schools to teach with better standards and helps students to express their cognitive strength and abilities." ~ School principal
Expanding Academic Discovery and Dialogue
The Alliance Center for Iranian Studies at Tel Aviv University is dedicated to deepening understanding of Iran, Iranian-Jewish history, and the country's emergence as an unprecedented political, theological, and cultural power. The Center generates new insights that respond to the pressing global need for knowledge on Iran. Moving beyond media sound bites, Center researchers pursue a more thoughtful and nuanced examination of the country.
The Alliance Center is the largest center for Iranian studies in the Middle East outside Iran, and the first of its kind in Israel. The Center employs a multidisciplinary approach to Iranian studies, drawing from history, political science, sociology, literature, regional studies, and other related fields with an emphasis on the modern era. Its affiliated scholars explore issues as diverse as popular culture, political theology, and the role of minorities while closely following Iran’s regional politics, strategic goals, and international politics.
IAJF’s ongoing generosity has enabled Tel Aviv University to provide invaluable support to ten graduate students working toward their PhD and MA degrees. This assistance has enabled these students to pursue their studies and research and concentrate strictly on achieving academic success. IAJF’s assistance has been instrumental in the Center's effort to promote future generations of Iranian scholars in Israel.
Furthering Achievements in Science and Technology
The American Friends of Israel’s National Museum of Science, together with IAJF, launched the unique Operation North Science Program in the city of Akko. This program reaches out to schools citywide, to generate greater interest in science and technology for students and teachers alike. Israel’s National Museum of Science (MadaTech) motivates students, heightening their interest in, and knowledge of, sciences taught in school, and prepares them for a future in which they can successfully compete with more privileged peers.
Improving the Lives of Iranian Jewish Students in Israel
The lives of 41 Iranian Jewish students at Bar-Ilan University (BIU) in Ramat Gan have been dramatically improved thanks to the IAJF of New York’s partnership with the American Friends of Bar-Ilan University (AFBIU). The IAJF’s funding of a scholarship program for students of Iranian Jewish heritage in need of financial assistance has enabled these students to pursue their studies and concentrate strictly on achieving academic success.
This scholarship program, initiated in 2007, has provided meaningful sponsorship support for students at all degree levels: Undergraduate, Masters, and Doctorates. As a result of the IAJF’s support, these students are already becoming leaders in their chosen fields and helping to strengthen Israel by giving back to their communities.
HEALTH AND FIRST AID
RECOGNIZING THE IMPORTANCE OF ADVANCED MEDICINE AND RESEARCH IN SAVING AND IMPROVING LIVES BY SUPPORTING
Emergency and operating rooms in hospitals
Mobile clinics, ambulances, and ambubikes
Affordable community medicine
First aid supplies and communication devices
Medical research and development
Helping to Save Lives
IAJF is proud to partner with United Hatzalah, the only emergency first response program in Israel that is completely volunteer-run and free-of-charge. United Hatzalah responds to over 900 emergency calls daily and has improved victim outcomes by getting first responders to the scene of an emergency three times faster than a traditional ambulance.
Cancer Research Center
Bar-Ilan University (BIU) School of Medicine in the Galilee is committed to serving Israeli society, by training hundreds of new physicians and providing residents in Northern Israel with medical care at the level of quality to which they are entitled.
The IAJF supported the Cancer Research Center (CRC) at the Medical School, led by Professor Izhak Haviv. Professor Haviv’s research is focused on Personalized Medicine and Diagnostic Genomics - a pioneering method for treating cancer patients that involves studying each patient individually and prescribing a personalized course of treatment. Prof. Haviv and his team study samples of tumors taken from patients currently hospitalized throughout Israel, who have not responded to treatment, and whose doctors have run out of conventional options. In the past year, the CRC studied more than 300 living samples and, in about two-thirds of the cases, the results were applied and used successfully on the patients, extending life expectancy and quality of life among the patients.
The CRC has been able to join the international effort to bring to the individual level the match of the cancer genome with its own clinical phenotype for each patient, enhancing not only the local research, but also clinical cancer care worldwide.
In our modern world, cutting-edge technology is key to improving medical diagnosis, care, and outcomes. Access to new technologies and life-saving equipment are vital to any hospital trying to improve patient care.
In order to better provide for the health and well-being of the patients and physicians at Rambam Hospital, IAJF has sponsored life-saving equipment, including a defibrillator, blood pressure monitor, and vital sign monitor. IAJF's goal is to support the development and use of the most advanced scientific resources for diagnosis, treatment and research. The medical challenges are great, but thanks in part to IAJF, Rambam Hospital can continue to adopt and develop new technologies for better patient care.
Cultural and Therapeutic Activities for Pediatric Patients
Children struggling with diseases and other medical challenges have to cope with great obstacles, be they physical, emotional, environmental or mental. On top of these challenges, these innocent children spend a large portion of their time coping with hospitalizations.
Notnim Tikva (Giving Hope) Fund is dedicated to boosting the spirit of all sick children hospitalized in Sheba Tel-HaShomer hospital. With the knowledge that music is uplifting and loved by all, Notnim Tikva built the first music center of its kind at the Sheba children's wing, including a recording studio, television studio, video library, multimedia room, music instruments, sound system and more. Determined to inject these children with hope instead of fear, Notnim Tikva's center brings in famous Israeli singers and musicians on a regular basis. Working hand in hand with the doctors, physicians and hospital staff, professional music therapists, music teachers and sound men accompany the children through their hospital journey.
IAJF's assistance helped develop projects that contribute to these children's happiness, strength and emotional well-being.
Therapy and Research
Hadassah Medical Center has been a leader in medicine and nursing in Israel, setting a standard of excellence through healing, teaching, outreach, and research. The IAJF sponsored a physical-occupational therapy room, treating IDF soldiers and patients of all ages, at the new Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower. The IAJF has also supported research on HIBM (Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy), a currently incurable disease that particularly affects Jews of Persian origin. The disease causes progressive muscle degeneration, which eventually leads to disability or paralysis.
Life-Saving Equipment for Burn Center
As the largest hospital in the region, Sheba Medical Center treats more than 1.5 million Israelis annually. In 2012, Sheba undertook the establishment of a national burn center to treat the most difficult burn cases in the country. With the best resources and equipment to treat both soldiers and citizens with life-threatening burns, the Burn Center also conducts research and development in tissue engineering and serves as a resource to develop burn prevention education in schools and community centers.
Jewish Donor Registry for Cancer Patients
Bone marrow transplants are used as therapy for 100 different illnesses including many types of cancer and numerous genetic diseases, and approximately one in every ten cancer patients will need a bone marrow transplant. Because patients and donors must share common inherited genetic factors, the chances of finding a matching non-related bone marrow donor are slim. The likelihood for a match increases significantly if the patient and potential donor share the same ethnic background. Jews, though, are an underrepresented minority in international bone marrow donor databanks. So in 1998, Ezer Mizion established a Bone Marrow Donor Registry (BMDR) to assist patients in finding donors.
Ezer Mizion is now the largest Jewish registry in the world with registrants of varied Jewish descents including Iranians, Russians, Europeans, and South Africans. Ezer Mizion continues to work to enlarge its Bone Marrow Donor Registry through bone marrow donor recruitment drives. For many years the IAJF has been a partner in Ezer Mizion's efforts to save Jewish lives. IAJF gifts have helped to enlarge the registry in order to increase Jewish patients’ chances of finding their match.
Robotic Surgery Comes to Israel
In 2011, the IAJF completed a three-year commitment in support of the purchase of a robot for minimally invasive surgeries at Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, a tertiary care center for northern Israel and the referral center for the IDF Northern Command, the USA Sixth Fleet, and the UN Peacekeeping Forces posted in the region. The sophisticated da Vinci robot was first used at Rambam in December of 2010 for a successful prostate surgery, and can also assist with gynecological and general surgery, providing innovative, safety-enhanced clinical solutions for patients.
The IAJF collaboration with Rambam has contributed to the development of robotic medicine in Israel. The ability to perform these surgical procedures will ensure top quality healthcare for Rambam’s patients and positions Israel at the forefront of advanced healthcare.
SPECIAL NEEDS PROGRAMS
PROVIDING EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS OF ALL AGES AND ENABLING THEM TO CONTRIBUTE TO SOCIETY BY SUPPORTING
Higher educational scholarships
Jewish education and Iranian studies
Cyber security master’s degree
Construction/renovation of auditoriums, research centers, and classes in schools and universities
Custom Assistive Technology
Milbat improves the quality of life for disabled children, adults, and the elderly through programs and technological resources that enhance their independence. With the assistance of a multidisciplinary team of occupational, speech, and physiotherapists, Milbat's consultation and information center helps the disabled familiarize themselves with available accessories and make the right choices for their unique requirements. Milbat's teams also consult at community centers for the elderly, special education schools, and special employment centers to assist disabled clients.
Milbat's volunteers also develop and design fully customizable technological accessories to fit the particular needs of each client. Thanks to IAJF support, Milbat's technology expert volunteers are creating custom assistive devices, special games, and musical instruments to enable disabled people of all ages living in Israel to achieve their goals and enjoy maximum independence.
Transitional Programs for High School Students with Special Needs
SHEKEL-Community Services for People with Special Needs facilitates comprehensive inclusion for people with disabilities by providing independent housing within the community, meaningful employment, accessibility solutions, and therapeutic and leisure activities. Annually SHEKEL cares for over 8,000 children and adults with physical, emotional, and mental disabilities from all sectors of Israeli society. SHEKEL's programs have trained thousands of people with various disabilities to comfortably withstand the pressures of the workforce while gaining necessary skills to perform adequately at their jobs.
Weekend Activities for Handicapped Children
The House of Wheels serves children, youth, and young adults who suffer from cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and other debilitating illnesses. Spread throughout Israel, HOW volunteers act with boundless dedication to help physically handicapped young people develop life and social skills.
Hydrotherapy Pool for Disabled IDF Veterans
For over 50,000 Zahal (IDF) disabled veterans and victims of terror attacks, Beit Halochem serves as a second home. The Zahal Disabled Veterans Organization (ZDVO) is dedicated to the reintegration of wounded veterans into Israeli society. ZDVO centers provide rehabilitation treatment, sports, cultural and leisure activities, and recreation for its members and their families - a place for the disabled to maintain physical fitness and emotional wellbeing, and to regain the dignity and quality of life that they so richly deserve.
In 2015 IAJF supported the construction of a Hydrotherapy pool at Beit Halochem Tel Aviv center. Hydrotherapy is a vitally important and crucial treatment, given for pain management, rehabilitation, and recovery - essentially a life sustaining treatment for veterans suffering from severe disabilities, and severe back and head injuries. Until recently, all hydrotherapy treatments took place in a corner of a swimming pool, a problematic situation for both swimmers and vets receiving hydrotherapy. With the new pool, the number of veterans who can receive this essential treatment doubles. IAJF’s funding has helped to improve the lives of many disabled veterans.
Inclusivity for Individuals with Special Needs
AKIM Israel is the largest and most comprehensive provider of programs and services for the developmentally disabled population, caring for 34,500 children, teenagers, adults, and senior citizens, as well as their family members, throughout Israel. Hand in hand with 2,000 volunteers, the 500 devoted workers of AKIM Israel operate group and senior homes, community-based housing which promotes independent living, daycare centers for cognitively impaired adults, work transition programs, leisure clubs, summer camps, and other activities, as well as promoting public awareness and providing advocacy and other services.
Rehabilitative Day Care for Autistic Infants
Research shows that early and intensive intervention is immensely effective in improving the functioning of children on the autism spectrum. Autism can be diagnosed as early as 12 -18 months of age, and therefore access to rehabilitative daycare centers is vital. Alut operates rehabilitative day care centers ("Alutafs") for infants ages 18 months to 3 years old to provide early intervention, education, and multi-disciplinary treatment. The purpose of the day care centers is to advance each child to his or her maximum potential functioning level, to enable the children to integrate in the normative educational system, and to provide the necessary basis for special education schools for those children that will not be able to join mainstream schools.
The 2012 Paralympic Games
Beit Halochem (FIDV) is committed to caring for Israeli servicemen and women who have been wounded in the line of duty and are now disabled. Its five state-of-the-art rehabilitation centers throughout Israel offer physical therapy, medical treatment, and many sports, social, family, and cultural activities. IAJF has been a steadfast supporter of FIDV's mission to assist disabled Israeli veterans in regaining control and appreciation of their lives. In 2012, IAJF supported Beit Halochem as it prepared 16 disabled athletes to participate in the Paralympic Games.
The 2012 Paralympic Games featured 4,200 participants from 160 countries competing in 20 different sports. The Israeli Delegation won 8 medals, bringing much pride to the State of Israel and to Beit Halochem.
Vocational Training Program for Disabled
Since 2005, IAJF has supported Aleh Negev-Nahalat Eran, a 25-acre rehabilitative village designed specifically for young adults and children with severe cognitive and physical disabilities. The village is home to over 120 residents, providing them with housing, schooling, employment, medical care, and social interaction. It also offers outpatient services to hundreds more in Israel’s southern region.
In 2011, IAJF supported the Vocational Training Program at the village. A variety of workshops integrate creativity and productivity with occupational therapy, enabling residents to advance to new responsibilities as they fulfill their therapeutic goals. Workshops are professionally supervised to ensure that residents are challenged at their own personal levels, but also enjoying themselves. The program includes workshops in silk painting, ceramics, packaging, and paper-recycling.
IAJF’s contribution was applied to the Silk Workshop Program which provides residents with visual stimulation through exposure to different colors, enhances motor skills, and develops group cooperation and social skills. The challenging occupational frameworks provide not only therapeutic and rehabilitative benefits, but hours of enjoyment and freedom, and a sense of independence.
IMPROVING AND EMPOWERING LIVES LOCALLY BY SUPPORTING
Financial aid, loans, and guidance
Local Jewish education and schools
Local healthcare services
Young Professionals’ activities
Summer camps for children
COVID-19 Emergency Response
The Coronavirus crisis has impacted the vulnerable as well as the secure. At IAJF we made it our mission to reduce the burdens on the community. We immediately expanded our local emergency assistance by launching the IAJF COVID-19 Emergency Response.
IAJF Local Emergency Assistance Program
The primary mission of the IAJF is not only to provide support in Israel but also to help our own community. Since the creation of the Local Emergency Assistance Program in 2008, IAJF has committed to provide assistance to needy and helpless Iranian Jewish community members in the New York metropolitan area.
Caring for the Ill and Elderly in our Community
Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center (JCC) in East Hills, New York promotes Jewish identity by providing a comprehensive program based on Jewish values, traditions, heritage, and culture. Sid Jacobson supports its members’ wellbeing and offers programs to help individuals physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. Services include early childhood, after school programs, camps, health and wellness programs, senior services, support groups and counseling, employment services, and more.
IAJF supported customized programs for seniors in the Iranian Jewish community in Great Neck who are frail and memory impaired. In 2015 Sid Jacobson JCC launched the Adult Day Program at Temple Israel in Great Neck. Members who suffer from Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's, and various other forms of dementia engage in discussions in both English and Farsi and perform chair seated exercises.
Supporting Our Local Health System
The IAJF recognizes the importance of quality health care and has provided generous support to Cohen Children's Medical Center and Katz Women's Hospital which are located in New Hyde Park, New York and are both part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System (aka Northwell).
DOMESTIC AND WORLDWIDE INITIATIVES
PROMOTING ISRAEL AND ZIONISM AND SAFEGUARDING COMMUNITIES WORLDWIDE BY SUPPORTING
Israel advocacy organizations and BDS prevention programs
Trips for youth to Israel
Holocaust Museum programs
Celebrate Israel parade
Israeli news publication
US veterans support
World Jewry and endangered communities
Global medical and humanitarian assistance
Sustainable Israeli technologies and innovations
RESPONDING TO ANTI-SEMITISM
Pro-Israel College Campus Programming
Hillel International mobilizes its resources in response to Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaigns and partners with the pro-Israel community to both prevent, and respond to, anti-Israel agitation on campus. Through lectures, film screenings, and anti-BDS campaigns, Hillel builds stronger pro-Israel student coalitions and relationships with university faculty, staff, and administrators. Working closely with both student governments and university administrations, Hillel provides strategies and methods to counter severe anti-Israel activities, as well as rapid response messages and solutions to anti-Israel events on campus.
In 2017 Hillel facilitated over 200 unique speaking engagements at campus Hillels across the United States, engaging 28,000 students on more than 120 college campuses through public pro-Israel events. IAJF supported Hillel’s pro-Israel programming and critical BDS intervention training on campuses in order to educate youth and change the Israel conversation on campus.
Defeating BDS Campaigns Against Israel
Since its establishment, Israel has faced and fought persecution, extremism and anti-Semitism. These are issues of critical concern to the Jewish community at large and need to be addressed both in the U.S. and abroad.
Both IAJF and StandWithUs believe that education is the road to peace. Informing the public can correct common prejudices about the Arab-Israeli conflict. StandWithUs ensures that the story of Israel's achievements and ongoing challenges are told in schools, on college campuses, and in communities around the world. Through its partnership with StandWithUs, IAJF continues to empower more communities to stand up against BDS and to educate people of all ages about Israel.
Educating Against Anti-Semitism
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Now the nation's premier civil rights and human relations agency, ADL fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals, and protects civil rights through information, education, legislation, and advocacy in the U.S. and abroad.
As a leader in the development of materials, programs, and services, ADL builds bridges of communication, understanding, and respect among diverse groups. ADL serves as a resource for government, media, law enforcement, educators, and the public. IAJF supports ADL’s efforts to fight anti-Semitism and take action against anti-Jewish bigotry and violence.
Programs in Israel for American Young Adults
The Jewish Agency serves as the primary liaison between the Jewish State and global Jewish communities in the diaspora, operating programs that support vulnerable Israelis, promote knowledge of Israeli culture and society around the world, and facilitate aliyah and integration of immigrants into Israeli society. These programs instill pride, offer hope, and encourage world Jewry to become active contributors to the inspiring story of the Jewish people.
Masa Israel Journey, a Jewish Agency program that has tripled the number of Jewish young adults joining long-term programs in Israel, offers a wide variety of opportunities, including professional internships, volunteering, skills training, higher education, Judaic studies, sports, arts, and more. All Masa-affiliated programs include Hebrew language study, Jewish and Israel education, social activities with Israeli peers, seminars, and holiday celebrations.
IAJF proudly supports scholarships for Masa participants which enable them to experience these immersive trips and unlock a lifetime of Jewish commitment and involvement by strengthening their connection to Israel. Masa ultimately impacts the next generation of Jewish leaders.
Conference Honoring Holocaust Survivors, Liberators, Righteous Among Nations, and Their Descendants
The Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC), located in Glen Cove, New York, is the pre-eminent Holocaust resource on Long Island, with a world-class museum and one of the largest and most comprehensive tolerance education programs in our region. Students, teachers, and law enforcement personnel benefit from the broad array of educational programming offered by HMTC. The HMTC provides programs, learning materials, and museum tours to the general public about the Holocaust. For those who are unable to personally visit the Center, HMTC offers the opportunity to view its programs through videoconferencing. HMTC is one of only three centers outside of Washington, DC authorized to offer Lessons of the Holocaust: Law Enforcement and Society, a unique program co-founded with the Anti-Defamation League specifically created for law enforcement personnel.
IAJF supported the HMTC's day-long Generations conference that took place at Hofstra University in June 2014. Over 700 people including Holocaust survivors, World War II veterans, their descendants, educators, and the general public participated in this program. The event included 22 workshops concerning the Holocaust and the featured speakers included the only Holocaust survivor to attain the rank of General in the U.S. military, and the son of an officer in the German Army during the Nazi era, who is a convert to Judaism.
Solar Power for Uganda
Kaliro School and Orphanage is home to 500 students. Over 300 of them are orphans, most of whom lost their parents to AIDS. Surrounded by nothing but fields and dirt roads for miles, the facility serves the remote farming community of Kaliro. Candles and kerosene lamps were the only source of light at night, creating eye strain and impaired vision along with the danger of fires and smoke-related illnesses. When the facility placed a ban on the use of candles and kerosene lamps, the day at Kaliro Orphanage by necessity ended at sunset, and hundreds of orphans would go to sleep each night alone in the dark.
Founded in 2008, Jewish Heart for Africa (JHA) brings sustainable Israeli technologies to African villages. JHA’s mission to save African lives with Israeli innovation also supports Israel's economy and image abroad. Its initiative uses solar systems from Israel to power African schools, medical clinics, and water pumping systems. With IAJF's support, JHA powered the classrooms and dormitories of Kaliro School and Orphanage. IAJF’s support not only brought light to orphans in need, but facilitates strong ties between African leaders, Israel, and the Jewish community.
Solar is Making a Difference in Kaliro Community
It was Hope who explained to us that ever since losing her parents she's been afraid of the dark. She misses them saying good night to her, misses their songs that made the darkness less scary. Now, Hope reads in the evening, she studies and learns because she wants to be able to offer her children a better childhood than her own. Hope is proud of the fact that her young sister, Faith, cannot even remember a time when they did not have light at night. Each evening they read together. Faith was the first to learn to read in her class. Hope plans to become a judge and Faith would like to become a lawyer.
Free Trips to Israel for youths
The Taglit-Birthright Israel program was established in 1999 to provide the gift of first-time, peer group, educational trips to Israel for young Jewish adults ages 18 to 26. Birthright Israel’s mission is to strengthen participants’ Jewish identities and connections to Israel while reinforcing solidarity among world Jewry. While trips vary by group and focus, each includes core thematic experiences such as visiting a Holocaust remembrance site, a Jewish historical site, a Zionist history museum, a State national site, an arts and culture event, and the Western Wall. In addition, through the Mifgash (“encounter”) element of the program, a group of young Israeli university students and members of elite units of the IDF travel together with the participants for five to ten days of the trip, enabling the Diaspora Jews and their Israeli peers to develop personal connections with one another.
With the support of IAJF, Birthright Israel Foundation sent 33,000 young Jewish adults to Israel in 2011 on this trip of a lifetime, ensuring that the next generation discovers a profound connection to the Jewish community and to the land and people of Israel.
2011 AIPAC Policy Conference
In May of 2011, 30 Years After New York, with the generosity of the IAJF, sponsored approximately twenty Jewish Iranian-American students and young professionals to attend the annual American Israeli Political Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington D.C.
VICTIMS OF TERROR AND EMERGENCY RELIEF
COORDINATING IMMEDIATE RESPONSE TO CRISES SUCH AS WAR, TERROR ATTACKS, OR NATURAL DISASTERS
Hotlines and clinical treatments for victims of terror
Humanitarian aid and necessities
Disaster recovery efforts
Evacuations from unsafe areas
Fire trucks for first responders
Food and water provisions
Refurbishment of damaged structures
Emergency Campaign: Stand With Israel
The Gaza war in May 2021 changed countless lives forever. IAJF responded immediately during the war, partnering with organizations providing direct vital services and support to Israeli citizens in need and to the soldiers defending Israeli during this time of crisis.
Victims of Trauma in Israel
NATAL is a mental health services organization that helps to strengthen Israeli society in the aftermath of traumatic events. NATAL provides therapeutic services to trauma victims, offers resiliency training to first responders, and works between crises to deliver supportive resources to communities in the line of fire.
NATAL’s Children and Families Mobile Unit is the only treatment program of its kind in Israel, providing psychological treatment to children and families directly in the comfort of their homes. IAJF supports this Mobile Clinical Unit which reaches some of the hardest-hit areas of the country where the victims are unable to travel to the center in Tel Aviv for help. As of 2018, NATAL had treated over 8,000 people through this vital Mobile Unit. IAJF of New York is proud to have contributed to the healing and treatment of some of these people.
Supporting Communities Devastated by Hurricanes
In the wake of the devastating hurricanes in the fall of 2017 in Texas and Florida, the Iranian American Jewish Federation of New York authorized emergency funds to help the recovery of the Jewish communities in these hard-hit areas. The IAJF proudly directed vital funds to various organizations on the ground providing early-stage recovery efforts in Houston and Miami:
Hurricane Harvey wreaked unprecedented destruction in Houston. Chabad of Houston sent rescue boats and vehicles and created an Amazon registry for people to purchase necessary items for victims of the storm. The Chabad Harvey Relief Fund helped with the acquisition and distribution of relief supplies, food preparation and delivery, storm clean-up, emergency cash assistance, temporary housing, and holiday programming and services. The Evelyn Rubinstein Jewish Community Center of Houston provided gift cards, cleaning supplies, community referrals, emotional support, and informational forums. The JCC also mobilized its resources and agency programs to enable those in the community to reconnect with one another. Jewish Family Service of Houston distributed financial aid for new clothes, food, and basics. JFS also assisted people with their long-term recovery, helping them find new housing and furniture and file their FEMA paperwork, and providing trauma counseling. JFS did intakes with over 800 households in the first couple of months alone. More than half of these households will remain long-term clients for the next 2-3 years on their road to recovery.
Hurricane Irma caused widespread damage across Miami-Dade County and other parts of Florida and the Caribbean. The Greater Miami Jewish Federation, part of a nationwide effort organized by The Jewish Federations of North America, established an emergency relief fund to support urgent needs in the Jewish and general communities in the wake of the storm. Funds were earmarked to feed over 2,000 individuals who were home-bound or simply had no money to buy food due to loss of income. The Federation continued to receive requests for food vouchers or assistance in paying for electric bills for months after the storm. The Federation also provided financial help to Jewish institutions that were damaged during the hurricane but not covered by FEMA.
The IAJF is gratified to have been able to assist in the early stages of recovery for both the Houston and Miami communities.
An Ambulance for ZAKA's First Responders
ZAKA is the nerve center for disaster response in Israel and the country's leading humanitarian authority abroad. As Israel's first responder, ZAKA has a cadre of 3,200 volunteers throughout the country and is always the first on scene and the last to leave. ZAKA is the only Israeli organization that can treat all forms of mass disaster via its comprehensive array of emergency service provision and 10 specialized units. Internationally, its specialist teams, which include medical, forensic, and rescue and recovery units, have become symbols of hope, as ZAKA has been present at every disaster scene in Israel and abroad.
Support and Reconstruction After Devastating Fires
In November of 2016, arson and wildfires devastated Israel, causing injuries to its residents and destruction of forests, homes and infrastructure. Citizens contributed food and clothing, and opened their homes to strangers who had been forced to evacuate. Volunteers and firefighters were on the front lines extinguishing fires, saving lives, evacuating houses, tracking arsonists, utilizing emergency response centers, patrolling and preventing further destruction.
The results of this crisis: over 630 fires, 600 homes were destroyed, 32,000 acres of forest and brushland were burnt, 1,700 residents became homeless, and 180 people were injured. It will take years to rebuild and to recover from these brutal wildfires; nevertheless, the strength of Israel comes from its people and world Jewry. Together, we will rebuild, regrow and reinforce the people and State of Israel!
The IAJF committed to supporting Israel during these trying times. Thanks to the annual support and generosity of our donors, the IAJF was able to respond to the crisis and immediately transfer $175,500 in emergency funds on behalf of the community, to the following organizations:
The Haifa Foundation to sponsor the reconstruction and equipment replacement of two kindergartens in Haifa, Safir and Flowers. The largest fire occurred in Haifa. Buildings, schools and kindergartens were burned down, and 75,000 residents (about a quarter of the city's population) were evacuated. During the fire 11 schools and kindergartens were damaged; 2 of these institutions were destroyed completely. Safir and Flowers kindergartens were the first to be fully restored, in the month following the fires.
UJA Federation of New York Israel Fire Relief Fund to support UJA partners already on the ground providing critical humanitarian services.
The Jewish Agency, providing financial support to families whose homes were entirely destroyed or made unlivable.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), supporting Israel's elderly and disabled as they recover from damage due to the fires.
The Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC), providing relief at Carmel Hospital and evacuation centers, as well as providing direct care throughout the municipality of Haifa and mapping trauma needs of smaller municipalities hit by the blazes.
HaShomer HaChadash to purchase two drones for the "Forest Keeper Program", whose members assist Israel's fire and rescue services throughout Israel. Drones survey vast tracts of land that are difficult to cover at ground level with human observation alone. The presence of a drone in the air remains undetected during an incident. In 30 minutes it can survey tens of thousands of acres and locate criminals in real time in order to help combat agricultural crime on a daily basis.
Jewish National Fund - Israel Fire and Rescue Services to sponsor a fire truck. The courageous men and women of the Israeli Fire and Rescue Services, the unsung heroes of Israel, are ranked among the best in the world. These brave first responders put themselves in danger daily, saving and protecting lives and property in the face of ever-increasing challenges and demands. Israel's firefighters are dedicated to providing unparalleled emergency response and life-saving services in a wide range of situations and are considered the number one specialists in responding to acts of terror including bombings and rocket attacks, car accidents, forest fires, and hazardous materials incidents.
Mobilizing to Help Israel During Operation Protective Edge
In the summer of 2014 Operation Protective Edge lasted fifty days, during which IDF soldiers were engaged in combat operations inside the Gaza Strip. During this period Hamas terrorists fired more than 4,595 rockets towards Israel's population centers especially in the south resulting in five civilian deaths, property damage and emotional hardship upon all Israelis. Most disheartening was the loss of 67 young IDF soldiers in ground operations in search of hidden underground tunnels inside Gaza. Notwithstanding the implementation of the cease fire between Israel and Hamas, the negative economic and emotional impact of the war on Israeli citizens and soldiers continued beyond those seven weeks. IAJF committed to supporting Israel during those trying times by focusing its attention and resources toward Israel's current needs.
Thanks to our generous and committed donors, IAJF raised and donated $750,000 in emergency funds to organizations in Israel in support of soldiers, children, the disabled and the elderly, especially in Southern Israel. We also supported trauma victims, needy mourners, and those organizations that work to save and rehabilitate lives devastated by the war.
We wish to thank the community for its generosity and incredible support during these critical times. Below are updates with details on our emergency response and the use of your contributions.
The IDF has mobilized his troops across the country and over 50,000 reserve soldiers to support Operation Protective Edge. A little comfort in the battlefield can make a large difference for these brave men and women. The IAJF has sponsored FIDF's care packages for over 1,500 soldiers, which include snack packages, toiletry kits, and undergarments kits - basic necessities that these soldiers did not have the time or the resources to gather before being deployed. The IAJF also provided funds to support the FIDF's Legacy program for widows and orphans of soldiers who lost their lives in defense of Israel during this operation. Helping these bereaved families to make sense of their new reality, connect with peers who have also suffered a terrible loss, helping them celebrate holidays and life cycle events, and more.
OneFamily Fund has supported injured and bereaved families in southern Israel. It offered calls and home-visits, it evacuated hundreds victims of terror to date and sent them away for 3-day therapeutic retreat, provided refuge for families wishing to leave the south, and provided financial aid and initial emergency assistance where necessary. IAJF's support was directed toward a therapeutic respite retreat hosted for 100 families from Sderot, a city located just 840 meters from the border with Gaza. These three days allowed the family to regroup, regain composure, receive therapy, and sleep safely for a few hours. Bereaved Families have made the ultimate sacrifice. The IAJF partnered with One Family to extend the support given to needy bereaved families by offering a special grant to them. This unique grant will be tailored to the needs of each family, providing financial support for basic necessities, food, educational programs and scholarships, memorials in honor of their beloved one, therapeutic seminars, family retreats and more.
The Eshkol Regional Council is located in the in the Western Negev and borders on the Gaza strip and Egypt and is home to 13,500 residents. During the war, over 1327 of the missiles launched at Israel have targeted the Eshkol Region. Because of its proximity to Gaza, the residents of Eshkol have very little time to seek safety when a missile is launched. The IAJF sponsored 80 buses to relocate some of the residents of Eshkol to safer areas in Israel during the war. The following quotation is a testament for the essential use of your contribution: "The children of Kibbutz Ze'elim went to a one-day trip to the Zoo in Jerusalem. For the past 3 weeks, these children were closed at their preschool, having only indoors activities due to the security situation. Thank you so much for allowing them to have such an experience." After the war, the IAJF immediately helped to protect the children by sponsoring three new playground facilities, each near a fortified safe room. Research and experience have both proven that interesting playgrounds offer the perfect basis for carefree playing. Children are able to forget their fears and feel protected.
The Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council has 7600 residents who live near the Gaza Strip. Due to its close proximity to the border its residents are exposed to incursion attempts by Hamas terrorists and direct mortar/rocket fire on homes and other property. Children are being born into a reality of warfare. Therefore, security must be taken into consideration. The Israeli government decided to build 20 blast-proof daycare centers for the 900 children and 160 teaching staff in the school system. Each daycare center will be comprised of two classrooms and an outdoor playground. The IAJF partnered with the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council to strengthen the community by sponsoring indoor equipment and playgrounds at four new day care centers to be built in 2014.
UJA-Federation of New York has provided critical support through its agencies and partners on the ground in Israel: taking children, families and disabled people out of the affected war zone and providing much needed respite; providing food, medicine, and care to the elderly and infirm and those unable to leave their homes in the South; offering crisis counseling and answering thousands of calls to hotlines from those overwhelmed by anxiety and fear. The IAJF immediately supported the UJA-Federation Israel Emergency Fund to help with these critical services.
Amigour is one of Israel's leading organizations providing sheltered housing for the elderly. There are 650,000 Israelis over the age of 65, many of whom live close to the poverty line and cannot afford to purchase or even rent sustainable housing. During Operation Protective Edge, Amigour homes in the south suffered direct hits, and the physical limitations of the senior residents prevented their access to bomb shelters. Many seniors remained in their apartments or walked to the stairwells on their floor when a siren was sounded. Amigour Sheltered Home in Beersheba is composed of two separate, four story buildings that accommodate 69 elderly residents, new immigrants, and Holocaust survivors. To provide protection for elderly residents and as a response to the latest crisis, the IAJF sponsored a new safe room, out of four, being constructed in the Amigour Shelter Home in Beersheba.
Israel's Scouts Movement (Tzofim) is the largest youth movement in Israel, involving thousands of teenagers in Israel and around the world. During Operation Protective Edge, over 4,000 children and teenagers from southern Israel participated in the activities organized by the Scouts' volunteers in bomb-shelters. Additionally, forty buses full of teenagers went on different day-long retreats, seminars, and short camps in order to give the youngsters and their families a short break from the harsh reality. IAJF sponsored nine buses to transport 400 kids to retreats in central and northern Israel. Each group enjoyed indoor and outdoor recreational activities. For some of the children, this time was the only time playing freely away from a bomb shelter during the summer.
ALUT-The Israeli National Autism Association operates centers in Beer Sheva for teenagers and infants with severe autism. During the war hundreds of rockets attacked Beer Sheva. The teenagers at the center have 20 seconds to run to the shelters, timing which is almost not possible due to their condition. Even those that suffer from severe autism have to sleep in tiny shelters. IAJF provided funds to increase the number of staff members at the center; to transport staff that assist families of autistic infants in their own home while Alut nursery school in Beer Sheva is closed; and to support afterschool activities inside the shelters.
NATAL - Trauma Centers for Victims of Terror and War has been crucial during this time of need, as the rockets launched into Israel have placed over 5 million Israelis under threat of such attacks. Although Iron Dome has intercepted some of these rockets, many have not. The children, adults, and elderly are living in a state of fear and unpredictability. Many suffer from acute traumatic reactions. This requires urgent attention in order to prevent long term and potentially debilitating emotional consequences. The IAJF immediately provided support to NATAL while its Community Outreach Team of therapists is on the ground as first responders, providing critical emergency emotional assistance. At the same time, NATAL works in communities throughout Israel, providing essential programming to support, strengthen, and build resiliency of the Israeli public.
ZAKA is Israel's leading volunteer agency dealing with search, rescue & recovery. During every rocket attack, ZAKA volunteers have rushed to the scene, combing the area for any injured and providing humanitarian assistance where needed. IAJF's grant was used to purchase essential emergency lifesaving equipment including oxygen tanks and first aid equipment for volunteers working on the front lines in the South, particularly communities close to the Gaza border, which are exposed to the non-stop rocket barrage.
Magen David Adom (MDA) has always been the forefront of Israel's national rescue efforts. The IAJF sponsored emergency medical supplies and blood service center supplies directed to help soldiers and those in southern Israel who have suffered daily from the rocket attacks.
NATAL - Israel Trauma Center for Victims of Terror and War
NATAL’s multi-disciplinary approach ensures that personalized treatment is available to any Israeli who seeks help following trauma due to war or terrorism. In addition to treating the emotional aftermath of traumatic events, NATAL works between crises to provide assistance to communities living in the line of fire as well as resiliency training for first responders.
Shelter for Kindergarten Students
Established in 1999, Mevuot Yericho is a small Jewish community located on the outskirts of the ancient city of Jericho. Established in 1999, it is home to an agricultural high school for teenage girls at-risk and to what may be the world's first solar-powered mikveh. Situated less than 5 kilometers from a new military installation being built in 2011 by the Palestinian Authority overlooking their community and the entire plain comprising the southern Jordan Valley, the community of 27 families and over 70 young children was without a single shelter. Thanks to IAJF, a new shelter was built for the kindergarten and was ready for the start of school that September.
With the support of the IAJF, One Israel Fund has been able to provide countless life-saving and life-enhancing projects throughout the areas of Judea and Samaria. In addition, IAJF helped One Israel to rebuild the lives of those who were removed from their homes in 2005 during the disengagement from Gaza. Through this partnership IAJF has helped to save lives and connect Jews throughout the world to our homeland.