Around the Jewish world
Around the Jewish world iStock

The Jewish Agency for Israel is marking the one-year anniversary of JReady, a first-of-its-kind platform for emergency preparedness, response, and rehabilitation which was created to address the COVID-19 pandemic’s challenging consequences, as well as various crises that continue to impact Jewish communities worldwide.

JReady’s reach has grown to 39 countries, working with their many communities and organizations during the past year. The platform offers Jewish communities across the globe the opportunity to learn from each other about innovations in the field of crisis management, consult with top experts, review policy and best practices, participate in high-level webinars, and develop skills to better respond to crises. JReady equips Jewish communities with the tools to address current and future challenges, including expert consultations in fields such as mental health, public health, volunteerism, resource development, education, communication, security, social services, disability inclusion, Jewish life, and more.

“It is clear that the pandemic has altered life as we know it and will have long-lasting, potentially permanent implications for Jewish communities around the world. That is why JReady stands prepared to help communities navigate these complexities by leveraging the ingenuity and determination of the Israeli and global Jewish people,” said JReady Chair Adv. Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin. “Indeed, one year into JReady’s existence, we are driven more than ever by the Jewish value of ‘Kol Israel Arevim Ze Baze’ — that all Jews are responsible for one another.”

In partnership with Tel Aviv University (TAU), JReady created a semester-long course for community managers, based on the lectures and content of TAU’s academic program in Disaster Management, which reinforces community leaders with the tools, expertise, and networks to respond to crises and build resilience. During its first year, the program trained dozens of Jewish leaders from South Africa, Europe, Australia, Mexico, Central America, and Israel, often bringing together Israeli and overseas partner communities from The Jewish Agency’s Partnership2Gether (P2G) platform.

“If there is one lesson that we have learned particularly well in the past year or two, it is this: We as human beings around the world are linked by our common precariousness and our common vulnerabilities, and that only if we join hands across national borders can we overcome today’s most urgent challenges,” said Tel Aviv University Vice President Prof. Milette Shamir, who oversees the university’s international academic collaboration. “Whether our concern is the devastating coronavirus pandemic, catastrophic climate-related events, or decreasing food security, it is clear that the path for humanity to prevail and to thrive is through the global exchange of knowledge and by bringing together creative minds from around the world to work and to think together. Under the auspices of The Jewish Agency, JReady is a model program for how to act in a time of crisis, and how to act not locally but globally.”

The Jewish Agency’s P2G participants, Shlichim (Israeli emissaries), and other senior representatives of the organization worldwide have utilized the JReady platform to provide tailored responses to suit the needs of each community facing a crisis. This reflects how Shlichim are deeply integrated into and highly attuned to local community needs wherever they are serving, and consequently, how they are poised to coordinate responses together with JReady.

JReady also implemented a course for directors of crisis management and emergency teams from across European Jewish communities, establishing a network of high-level professionals and volunteers from communities in Austria, Estonia, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Lithuania, Moldova, and Norway. These Jewish communities now have a mutual support system where they can turn when disaster strikes, sharing best practices for crisis prevention and response.

Elsewhere around the world, JReady collaborated with the Israel Trauma Coalition to assist Latin American communities with launching new mental health programs, is implementing webinars with the Australian Jewish community on serving people with disabilities, trained school principals in Moscow to effectively navigate pandemic-related challenges such as remote learning, and partnered with the developers and founders of the volunteer services app TRIBU in eight communities around the world which expressed a need and interest in a volunteer management platform.

Additionally, this month JReady is gathering Jewish community leaders from around the world to hear from an Israeli expert on the impact of crisis situations on children and teens, and the Jewish community's emergency management team in Copenhagen, together with The Jewish Agency's School Twinning Network, will conduct a webinar for Jewish educators on methods to educate children about security measures and infrastructure in Jewish schools and institutions.

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