[Archived from January 09, 2009]
New York, January 5, 2009 – United Jewish Communities (UJC) and the Jewish Federations of North America today committed to raise $10 million to address humanitarian and social needs in southern Israel, part of a major initiative to support and stand in solidarity with Israelis during the current conflict with Hamas, the terrorist organization in control of the Gaza Strip.
The funds will enhance programs supported by the Annual Campaign of UJC and Federations, and address the growing needs of the nearly one million Israelis who live in the region and are targets of deadly and destructive Hamas-launched missiles.
UJC’s major overseas partners, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) have identified needs that the funds will address. Among those cited by JDC are providing more case workers for 25,000 elderly and disabled residents, expanding consulting to municipalities to bolster emergency preparedness, expanding trauma relief counseling to children, reinforcing networks of emergency volunteers, fortifying security structures for the elderly, and boosting small businesses that have suffered due to the ongoing attacks.
Among needs identified by JAFI are providing 23,500 children with respite trips away from the conflict zone, purchasing computers for children so they can continue school work, providing supplies and provisions for bomb shelters, and providing counseling and therapy for immigrants housed in absorption centers.
The funding is one thrust of a series of initiatives across North America to underscore solidarity with Israelis during a trying and challenging period.
UJC and the Federations are directing “Rallies Across North America: A Week of Solidarity with Israel,” beginning this week, to underscore and highlight the deep and widespread support of Israelis among Americans and Canadians, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. Solidarity rallies will take place in major cities across the continent.
A delegation of UJC and Federation leadership will travel to Israel next week on a solidarity mission to the southern region of Israel. This follows a trip to the area by federation representatives and professionals on January 4 to view the hardships of residents and federation-supported programs on the ground.
In addition, UJC will establish an emergency fundraising mailbox in coming days, part of an e-philanthropy initiative to help meet the growing and critical needs of Israelis living daily under the threat and reality of enemy missile attacks.
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United Jewish Communities (UJC) represents 157 Jewish federations and 400 independent communities across North America. Through the UJA Federation Campaign, UJC provides life-saving and life-enhancing humanitarian assistance to those in need, and translates Jewish values into social action on behalf of millions of Jews in hundreds of communities in North America, in towns and villages throughout Israel, in the former Soviet Union and 60 countries around the world.