As the security situation escalates in Israel, Jews abroad and within Israel have opened their hearts, homes and wallets to assist their beleaguered brothers and sisters.
Israelis in Judea and Samaria as well as Jerusalem, Modiin and other locations relatively far away from Gaza have begun taking in families from the rocket-plagued areas for the duration of the war. The southern branches of the Co-op supermarket chain have suggested that families order food by phone if they are afraid to go out to shop and have stepped up delivery service.
Meanwhile, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) have announced a new Israel Terror Relief Fund, "to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Israel at this critical time." JFNA’s Executive Board today voted for Jewish Federations to commit up to $5 million to the Israel Terror Relief Fund for the immediate needs of the people of Israel, especially in the South, through both existing reserve funds and new contributions from Federations.
This new Fund will help support the more than one million residents of Israel’s South and provide aid to the most vulnerable Israelis during this time of conflict. "One hundred percent of all donations will be used for aid," JFNA said.
Jewish Federations are leading this Israel Terror Relief Fund to help their partners, The Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the Israel Trauma Coalition and World ORT, deliver immediate services and assistance on the ground throughout the South. Such services include trauma counseling, financial assistance, portable bomb shelters, and potentially other initiatives including bringing children in the strike zones out of harm’s way.
The Israel Terror Relief Fund will support The Jewish Agency in providing a range of programs and services, including respite for the 23,500 grade-school students who live in affected areas, as well as psychological interventions for parents and children from Israel’s southern region. The Jewish Agency’s Fund for the Victims of Terror will provide such necessities as medical equipment, treatment and other help that is not provided by the state; emergency cash grants; basic furnishings, repair and home equipment; and other services to help restore and rebuild lives.
The Israel Terror Relief Fund will enable JDC to distribute food and emergency kits to the elderly and disabled, implement emergency caseworkers to provide emotional and physical support and provide immediate and special care to the most severely disabled or frail elderly in their homes. JDC will also offer children post-trauma interventions and volunteer-led activities in shelters.
A group of Federation lay leaders and executives will travel to Israel in the coming days to assess the needs on the ground and see firsthand the work of JFNA's partner agencies. The mission will tour Israel’s southern region, and include meetings with Israeli leadership and visits to those affected by the recent rocket attacks.
Jewish Federations are working in close coordination with the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) to help those in need through the Israel Terror Relief Fund. The URJ includes approximately 900 congregations in the U.S., Canada, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It is the largest Jewish movement in North America and represents an estimated 1.5 million Jews.
Jewish Federations are also working in close coordination with the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) on the Israel Terror Relief Fund. The USCJ is a community of nearly 630 North American kehillot – sacred communities – serving over 200,000 households in North America, and representing more than one million people.