IAJF has touched and improved thousands of lives. Behind each organization and program sponsored, there are real stories and real people, of all ages and backgrounds. Among IAJF's recipients are: Communities and individuals, seniors, youth, children, IDF soldiers, immigrants, the injured and sick, at-risk groups, the disabled, and first responders. IAJF continues to strengthen and impact people locally, in Israel, and abroad.
2020: Assistance for Lone Soldiers Under Pandemic Lockdown
The Nefesh B'Nefesh Lone Soldier Program (LSP) provides lone soldiers with the resources, support, and guidance for successful service and acclimation to life in Israel. Currently, LSP is providing services and support for 3,054 Lone Soldiers in active service.
During the pandemic, when Israel was under tight lockdown, LSP staff members delivered fresh fruits and vegetables as well as take-out vouchers to over 100 IDF soldiers. These soldiers were faced with the prospect of coming home to empty pantries, without their families or friends there to greet them. Not only did the LSP welcome them home with food and support, it also assisted local farms and restaurants whose businesses had been affected by COVID-19.
IAJF Funds were utilized for multiple purposes including:
1. Emergency grants
2. Food deliveries to the homes of lone soldiers
3. Crisis support
4. Packages to the soldiers' bases during lockdown
5. Holiday care packages and cafe vouchers
6. Moving assistance
With the recent 200% increase in Aliyah applications, the Lone Soldier Program has been more active than ever, despite the limitations presented by COVID-19. IAJF is proud to take part in NBN's vision of building and strengthening the State of Israel through Aliyah.
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."
2019: Educational Support for IDF Soldiers
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is known as one of the world’s greatest armies. Yet one out of four IDF soldiers have not completed a high school education and will likely struggle to find meaningful employment after their service. Some soldiers come from troubled homes or economically challenged families, while others never succeeded in school. The IAJF’s Formal Education Program, initiated by Friends of the IDF, provides these soldiers with an opportunity to receive a high school diploma through a six-month course or a “Bagrut” matriculation certificate which allows them to pursue higher education following their military service.
These alternative programs not only provide the soldiers with an education and a diploma, but also a new sense of pride, increased confidence, and an eagerness to contribute to the betterment of their lives and their society. IAJF is proud to sponsor a program which opens doors and a world of possibilities to the young protectors of Israel.
COMMUNITIES AND FAMILIES
2020: Holiday Food Packages for Needy Iranian Families in Israel
IAJF is proud to support Ezer Midavid, an organization providing humanitarian aid to needy families and the elderly. Powered by volunteers of all ages, Ezer Midavid collects and distributes food and groceries to more than 500 families in need as well as victims of terror during the High Holidays every year. In addition, the organization helps girls and boys in financial need celebrate their bar/bat mitzvahs, and runs a club for the elderly.
This year was particularly challenging due to COVID-19. The lockdown and severe restrictions in Israel created both financial concerns and a personnel shortage. However, Ezer Midavid did not let the outbreak prevent them from helping. Volunteers delivered baskets containing holiday food staples like matzah and oil, as well as grocery coupons, to families for Passover and Rosh Hashana. Their efforts during the pandemic were crucial to the survival of hundreds of families.
2020: Community Pharmacy in Jerusalem
IAJF supports the Community Pharmacy of Yad Sarah in Jerusalem, providing affordable medication to the needy for whom buying medication is a financial struggle. The National Health Funds' social workers and welfare agencies refer to Yad Sarah patients who cannot even afford the co-pay amount on their prescriptions.
The current health crisis triggered an economic crisis, increasing the number of families in Israel below or near the poverty line, and in turn demand for this prescription service rose dramatically. In addition, the implementation of social distancing measures led to an increased need among the high-risk elderly population, who were limited in their access to pharmacies. Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the pharmacy has made approximately 200 medication deliveries a week, compared to 70 a week in the preceding period.
IAJF is proud to fund medicine for the pharmacy and to strengthen the health and stability of individuals and families in need.
CHILDREN & YOUTH
2021: Holocaust and Tolerance Education for Youth
Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC) provides Holocaust and tolerance education programs to students and adults on Long Island and the surrounding community. During the pandemic, HMTC continued to make this programming available virtually, using the lessons of the Holocaust to teach about the present-day dangers of anti-Semitism and other forms of intolerance to thousands of students throughout Long Island, the region, and nationally.
HMTC also developed a virtual museum tour that allows people to visit the museum without leaving their homes. Public programs are provided for the community on a wide range of topics and issues regarding anti-Semitism, racism, and bias against other minority groups.
IAJF’s support has enabled HMTC to continue to meet the increasing demand for these educational tools, enhancing and expanding the virtual tour and public programs.
2020: Programs for Local College Students to Advocate for Israel and Fight Anti-Semitism
IAJF has supported StandWithUs programs to educate and empower local college students locally to advocate for Israel and fight anti-Semitism.
Although colleges were closed, the COVID-19 pandemic did not disrupt the StandWithUs mission of educating about and inspiring support for Israel. Innovative and effective new approaches were immediately developed to offer the highest quality programming, delivered by educators and experts via digital platforms.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, StandWithUs social media platforms have reached over 28 million people!
Over 1,000,000 people have tuned in to webinars and workshops on the new StandWithUs Connect platform, covering a multitude of topics including Israel's history, fighting anti-Semitism, touring Israel, Israeli humanitarian efforts and strategic challenges, fighting Palestinian terrorism through the law, and so much more. StandWithUs has been hosting several sessions each week, viewed by international audiences of all ages, with engaging expert speakers as well as military and government officials. This new platform is attracting people from countries all around the world, including the United States, Israel, Nigeria, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Russia, Brazil, China, and Mexico.
As college campuses have shifted to remote learning, StandWithUs has been hosting weekly campus webinars open to all college students, and during the pandemic, the campus department was able to effectively engage 5,000 student leaders via 120 online programs.
A student leader noted: "Fighting anti-Semitism and standing up for Israel's right to exist on campus is an incredible undertaking...It's one of the most important ways I am able to connect to my Judaism; to have an organization offer such vast educational resources in what's basically a campaign against misinformation is so valuable to activists like myself."
2019: Academic Excellence and Enrichment Programs for Disadvantaged Children in Gedera
In cities with poor resources, young students often lack access to quality education. The immigrant-rich population of Gedera in central Israel is known for its economic struggles. The local Netivei Noam middle school and high school, a six-year institution with a diverse student population including Ethiopian and Yemenite students, focuses on academic excellence through cultural inclusion and cohesion curricula.
Through Darca and Youth Renewal Fund, the school implements high educational standards and enriching new educational courses in electrical engineering, computer sciences, and athletics. Volunteer programs, hands-on experience, even special programs with the Israeli Air Force, cultivate self-confidence, national pride, social responsibility, and discipline. Students are encouraged to identify their many strengths and talents and to fulfill their potential. IAJF’s support of the school will produce not only strong students, but upstanding members of society.
2019: Employment Services for Older Adults
Many Israeli seniors are capable and willing to work yet face employment challenges or are unable to find appropriate jobs. In response, IAJF supports Vehadarta’s groundbreaking “Experience Required” initiative, assisting older Israeli adults who are facing underemployment and unemployment due to their age. The program provides seniors with support in the form of resume writing, training, interview preparation, and job postings through a placement portal utilized by 19,000 seniors and 3,500 employers. Vehadarta also works with employers, providing lectures and guidance on the best practices and advantages of employing seniors.
IAJF proudly partners with Vehadarta in helping seniors to live with dignity, meaning, and self-sufficiency, and to contribute to the social fabric of Israel.
2021: Holiday Food Vouchers
The Israeli coastal city of Nahariya has 65,000 inhabitants, of which 5,000 receive welfare services for food insecurity. IAJF partners with Nahariya’s municipality to provide food vouchers to the needy. Just before Passover and Rosh Hashana each year, vouchers are distributed to 500 seniors, 600 families, and 63 blind and low vision individuals, enabling them to purchase food for the holiday. IAJF is proud to work with Nahariya to enable the needy to enjoy holiday meals with dignity and without want, just like the rest of the population.
2020: Intervention Programs for At-Risk Families
IAJF supports Lehetiv as it works with at-risk families, providing them with opportunities for growth and success as well as exposing them to a world of possibilities. Lehetiv offers those on the periphery personal and professional development, financial management, employment guidance, and services for children and youth.
In the current time of crisis, many families are now unemployed and face daily emotional and financial challenges. Previously stable families have been adversely impacted, some finding themselves very suddenly in acute distress. Among the types of support Lehetiv has been providing are food baskets, computers, and access to a crisis hotline, as well as professional counseling and tools for dealing with acute problems and improving family relationships.
IAJF is proud to strengthen at-risk families and individuals and to bring them out of dependency to financial independence.
2019: Outreach Van for At-Risk Youth
Life on the streets is an unfortunate reality for some Israeli teens. Many resort to drugs, alcohol, or prostitution, or experience violence and abuse. These at-risk youth often must cope with homelessness, detachment, and sexual exploitation.
As part of the solution, ELEM/Youth in Distress provides outreach vans in neighborhoods or known “hotspots,” offering teens in need immediate humanitarian assistance, sometimes as basic as instant noodles and blankets. ELEM’s vans also provide safe places for serving and meeting with teens. Over 500 young people were helped through this program in Haifa alone in early 2019. ELEM's social workers and volunteers advocate for these teens, providing them with one-on-one mentoring, referrals to social services and benefits, school truancy-prevention programs, IDF recruiting programs, and emergency shelters. IAJF supports the outreach van program in Haifa helping at-risk youth transform their lives.
2020: Vocational Scholarships for Immigrant Youth
In 2020, IAJF sponsored 57 vocational scholarships for graduates of Yemin Orde's Young Men's and Women's Leadership Programs, and Yemin Orde Youth Village.
These scholarships enable young adults to pursue career-building opportunities through certificate programs, professional training, and community college courses.
Every year Yemin Orde and IAJF celebrate the awarding of the scholarships with special ceremonies. Two of the ceremonies were held earlier in the year, but restrictions on travel and large gatherings due to COVID-19 prevented Yemin Orde from holding the third. In its place, each of those recipients received a phone call acknowledging the importance of receiving such a scholarship, and indicating the support and commitment of IAJF, prior to receiving their actual scholarship awards.
IAJF is proud to partner with Yemin Orde in offering these graduates the opportunity to gain competitive job skills and in helping them to secure promising futures.
2020: Yemin Orde Leadership Programs During COVID-19 Crisis
The Corona crisis impacted Yemin Orde in a number of different ways. The downturn in the economy caused particular strain on the lower socio-economic communities from which Yemin Orde youth and young adults originate. In addition, the Ministries of Education and Health required that participants in the men's and women's leadership programs, as well as most of the youth living at the Village, move off-site until institutions were allowed to re-open. Adding to the difficult situation was the need to constantly adjust and adapt to restrictions and regulations that frequently changed .
Throughout the country-wide shutdown staff members were in daily contact with each participant through video chats and phone calls, providing emotional and logistical support as well as conducting lessons, lectures, and activities over Zoom. Participants were encouraged to do what they could to be helpful to others, including showing appreciation, lifting the spirits of a family member, or calling others to provide support. As participants return to their programs they have been engaging in volunteer activities such as distributing food packages to those in need and working with farmers to help maintain their fields.
Throughout the crisis, the staff worked to identify those with significant financial need and provided stipends to help alleviate some of their financial uncertainty. They also identified those who had to cope with complicated situations within their nuclear or extended families and needed extra support. As the educational system re-opened across the country, all students and program participants were able to return to the campus and resume their programs.
2019: Higher Education Scholarships for Immigrants
For many young immigrants, a quality higher education is the most effective tool to bridge cultural gaps and to successfully integrate into society. Students from nearly 90 countries study at IDC Herzliya (IDC), working toward undergraduate and graduate degrees in Hebrew and English. Students benefit from IDC’s diverse and international academic environment and its institutional commitment to interdisciplinary education. Leveraging academic scholarship, innovation, and hands-on experiences, students prepare to confidently face the challenges of a constantly changing 21st century world.
IDC is proud to offer financial aid to one out of every six students in the program. To facilitate this effort, IAJF has generously supported the IDC Herzliya Scholarship Fund, sponsoring Iranian and Ethiopian students working towards their academic degrees in the fields of Psychology, Business, Entrepreneurship, Economics, Government, Communications, Law, and Computer Science.
2021 Spotlight On: Assistive devices for children with disabilities
The Ilai Fund supplies financial and practical assistance to children suffering from disabilities due to various conditions. IAJF supports the Ilai Fund’s iCan-iPad Program, furnishing iPads to children living with autism and cerebral palsy. These devices empower the children to express their needs and feelings, and ultimately teach them to read and write. The need for such devices has only increased over the past year, as more children were required to learn from home due to the pandemic.
IAJF is proud to help provide these children with a means of communication, thereby improving their quality of life and increasing their independence.
2021: Paramedical therapies for disabled seniors
AKIM Jerusalem works to enable intellectually disabled children and adults to achieve their full potential and inclusion within the community. Through a wide range of programs and services, these individuals are empowered to achieve greater independence.
IAJF is proud to support the paramedical therapies that AKIM provides to those aged 55-70. Services such as occupational therapy, hydrotherapy, and physiotherapy can make a significant difference in preserving the physical and mental functioning and well-being of this age group.
2020: Life Skills Program for Young Adults with Disabilities
Thanks to the support of IAJF, 15 diverse young adults (aged 14-21) with physical disabilities participated in the House of Wheels (HOW) Rolling Forward program in Jerusalem. The program focuses on learning life skills and tools for independent living to help ease the transition into adulthood. Participants were able to broaden their horizons and create and implement individualized plans for dealing with their challenges, all within a supportive environment of professionals, trained volunteers, and a social support network of people with similar challenges.
During the two months of COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings, HOW suspended its face to face activities. The close relationship between the participants and the volunteers was preserved as HOW continued to offer all of its activities online. Volunteers were in contact with the participants on a daily basis and held online group meetings at least once a week.
In mid-May HOW renewed its face-to-face activities and the Rolling Forward program returned to operate under a "new normal" of strict adherence to the Ministry of Health's guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease. Despite the apprehension, and the requirement of masks and social distancing, magic is happening and progress is being made!
What may seem like a small thing to someone without disabilities can be life-changing to a person with specific challenges.
2019: Independent Living Program for Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
Young adults with intellectual disabilities face physical and social challenges and often lack the skills for independent living. Many rely on their families for assistance with basic tasks of daily living. Through AKIM-Jerusalem's Model Apartments program, participants, guided by professional counselors, learn meal preparation, cleaning, laundry, and personal hygiene, while living in model apartments in residential neighborhoods in Jerusalem. They gain vocational and social skills, while developing practical experience and confidence toward independent living.
IAJF proudly partners with AKIM-Jerusalem, enabling and empowering young adults with intellectual disabilities to transition to independent living and become active members of the community.
"Instead of having my parents do everything for me, I am learning to take care of my own needs. My parents can’t believe that I am so independent. I feel very proud of myself." Netta, a 22-year-old young adult, who recently completed the program.
SICK & INJURED
2021: Caring for the injured and sick during a pandemic
Notnim Tikva, which means Giving Hope, operates at Edmond and Lili Safra Children's Hospital at Tel Hashomer Hospital. Notnim Tikva complements the hospital’s professional medical services, helping to support and ease the pain of thousands of young patients and their families, improving their morale as well as their emotional and physical health. Established with the cooperation of professionals, Notnim Tikva’s staffing relies heavily on young Israeli women currently engaged in National Service and a wide variety of other volunteers.
With their weak immune systems and greater risk of exposure to the Coronavirus, many sick and injured children have had to remain under observation. For their own safety, they are often unable to leave their hospital rooms and may not be able to have visitors other than their caregiver. Notnim Tikva procures needed equipment and accessories for these patients, assisting them in regaining the strength to overcome their life-threatening illnesses. With IAJF’s help, smart televisions were purchased for every room in which a child is hospitalized, providing an added measure of comfort and relaxation for these sick children.
2019: Mobile Care Unit for Young Cancer Patients
Young cancer patients and their families require daily support managing the burden of the disease and its treatment. Medical emergencies, constant worry, and demanding treatment schedules take both a physical and emotional toll.
To ease the pressure on patients and their families, Zichron Menachem’s Modular Mobile Clinic-Onelife Foundation offers a full-service mobile care unit to transport cancer patients and their families to camp and other recreational activities. This new 12-ton state-of-the-art vehicle, furnished with life-saving equipment such as a blood lab, ultrasound devices, transfusion chair, and drug storage facilities, eliminates possible delays in administering treatment. Beyond medical resources, the vehicle provides a mobile hair and pampering salon for patients. Relaxation increases patient receptivity to treatment and parents’ capacity to care for their child. IAJF’s support of the mobile clinic complements medical intervention and lightens the burden of illness on these families.
2020: Life-Saving Ambubike on the Streets of Jerusalem
IAJF sponsored a new ambubike (electric bicycle ambulance) designed to facilitate the saving of lives on the busy urban streets and ancient alleyways of Jerusalem. The ambubike allows its rider to circumvent traffic and to access spaces that motor vehicles, cannot, such as narrow walking paths, pedestrian malls, and parks. Stocked with first aid equipment and supplies, the ambubike makes it possible to arrive at the scene of an emergency in less than 3 minutes, which can mean the difference between life and death in 25% of medical emergencies in Israel.
With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Israel, United Hatzalah's volunteer medics continue to put themselves on the line to provide emergency medical care to those in need. United Hatzalah has also stepped up to help coordinate and deliver food packages to elderly citizens, Holocaust survivors, and other affected populations.
IAJF is proud to support United Hatzalah's first responders as they provide prompt, caring, and expert emergency medical care during this global crisis and every day.
2019: Cardiac ambulance for underserved population
The vital work of the first responders in Judea and Samaria can mean the difference between life and death. Currently, over 150,000 Jewish residents in this region have little access to quality medical care and must travel, sometimes over an hour along potentially dangerous routes, to access care in Jerusalem hospitals.
In conjunction with One Israel Fund and Rescuers Without Borders, IAJF has sponsored the purchase of a new cardiac ambulance for the Binyamin Medical Center (BMC) which is now under construction. The ambulance is temporarily stationed in the city of Givat Ze’ev, located between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The ambulance services 20,000 residents, responding each day to emergencies related to accidents, victims of terror, women in labor, and other situations.
IAJF recognizes the need in this region to replace aging ambulances and to purchase specialized or armored vehicles, thereby supporting better, stronger, and safer lives for the residents of these communities.
“In the brief time IAJF’s ambulance has been on the road, it has already saved countless lives. Thank you for your partnership and continued support of our communities.” Hanan Malka, CEO, Rescuers Without Borders