Global Jewish Responsibility

JFNA supports Jewish Federations to help the most vulnerable members of our community.

Global Jewish Responsibility

The Jewish Federations of North America promotes, supports and leads 154 Jewish Federations and 300 Independent Network communities across North America. Jewish Federations are collectively one of the largest charitable organizations in the world, and are improving the quality of life for people in our community, in Israel and in more than 70 countries every day.

Through the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign, we care for people in need here at home, in Israel and around the world; and nurture and sustain the Jewish community today and for future generations. In 2012, the Annual Campaign raised $900 million dollars to provide the basic infrastructure that supports the global Jewish community. Contributions to endowment funds held by Jewish Federations and Jewish community foundations totaled $1.2 billion.

Last year, JFNA helped Federations fulfill a global Jewish responsibility to respond to the most vulnerable members of our community. With the assistance of our global partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), World ORT, the Ethiopian National Project (ENP) and others, Jewish Federations addressed the basic needs of the poor, enhanced education for at-risk groups and aided immigration to Israel. To care for people in need in North America and defend Israel’s reputation stateside, JFNA’s Washington office and the Israel Action Network (IAN) worked on many important initiatives throughout the year.

JFNA helps Federations fulfill a global Jewish responsibility to respond to the most vulnerable members of our community.

With Federation support, The Jewish Agency helped more than 18,691 Jews make aliyah to Israel, more than 2,432 of whom arrived from Ethiopia. The Jewish Agency also focused on providing increased opportunities for young people worldwide to connect to Israel and to each other. Last year, The Jewish Agency initiated Onward Israel, a program that provides 6- to 10-week, high-quality résumé-building experiences in Israel for 18- to 30-year-olds, in partnership with Jewish organizations and Federations overseas; opened Project TEN centers in Gondar, Ethiopia and Hyderabad, India for young Jews from Israel and around the globe to participate in meaningful, sustainable development and learn about Jewish service; and worked with 426 schools in Israel and worldwide as part of Partnership2Gether's Global School Twinning Network to foster dynamic international dialogue on Jewish and Israeli identity.

JDC continued to combat global Jewish poverty, with Jewish Federation support. In Europe and the former Soviet Union, JDC helped sustain some 180,000 destitute elderly Jews, and aided approximately 35,000 of the neediest Jewish children and their families. JDC responded to mounting challenges facing European Jewish communities hit hard by the sovereign debt crisis and ongoing financial difficulties by exporting programs it developed earlier in Argentina to bolster newly poor Jewish families, combat high unemployment, and strengthen community life. JDC worked to ensure a Jewish future in both these regions through family retreats, camps, education opportunities and sophisticated outreach programs in innovative venues that engage Jews of all ages and backgrounds.

In Israel, JDC focused on employment initiatives, providing thousands of Israelis, particularly those in the Haredi and Israeli Arab communities, with job training and placement services for a more promising future. JDC's recovery work in Haiti continued in 2012, having affected more  than 300,000 Haitians by year's end, or one out of every 10 people affected by the catastrophic 2010 disaster. Some 96 percent of the funds raised through Federation emergency campaigns and other sources has been allocated to NGOs based in Haiti, Israel and North America that have addressed immediate and longer-term medical needs and provided clean water, food, shelter kits, physical and psychological rehabilitation services, and education and training opportunities. In Japan, JDC continued to aid earthquake and tsunami victims living in transitional housing last year, and offered supportive programs for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, such as post-trauma counseling.

With funding from Jewish Federations, World ORT brought quality education and Jewish identity to Jews in the former Soviet Union, Latin America, India and other countries around the globe, and expanded its educational initiatives in underprivileged schools in Israel. ENP, which is also supported by Jewish Federations, served the Ethiopian-Israeli community with after-school scholastic assistance, neighborhood outreach centers for at-risk youth, and workshops designed to empower parents and community lay leaders.

Through the Jewish Federation Annual Campaign, we care for people in need here at home, in Israel and around the world; and nurture and sustain the Jewish community today and for future generations.

These partners, along with others on the ground around the world, also enabled Jewish Federations to respond swiftly and effectively to crisis situations, such as Operation Pillar of Defense in Israel. JFNA, led by its Israel and Overseas (I&O) office, has worked with these partners to prepare for a range of emergency situations in Israel. The resulting protocol enabled JFNA to respond rapidly in real time as tensions escalated and rockets began to rain down on southern Israel.

As Israel’s defensive operation began, JFNA coordinated the allocation of $5 million toward immediate relief and direct services to vulnerable populations, reinforced local capacity under fire and supported emergency care. We provided comprehensive communications for Federations throughout the conflict, and sponsored three national conference featuring top speakers. JFNA launched two major solidarity missions to Israel for Federation leaders. Learn more about JFNA’s Israel Emergency Relief.

United Israel Appeal (UIA) serves as a principal link between the American Jewish community and the people of Israel through its agent, The Jewish Agency. As a nonprofit charitable organization, UIA provides relief, rehabilitation and resettlement programs to immigrants.  The organization aids charitable, educational and scientific institutions in Israel. UIA maintains a U.S. 501(c)(3) tax status. The 32-member UIA Board of Directors provides fiduciary oversight and allocates funds provided to it from donors and Jewish Federations across North America. UIA monitors and evaluates the programs operated on its behalf by The Jewish Agency.

In 2012, UIA continued to secure and monitor a U.S. Government Resettlement Grant for the immigration and absorption of Jewish humanitarian-migrants to Israel from countries of distress, including areas within the former Soviet Union, Ethiopia, Eastern Europe and the Near East. Since 1973, UIA has been awarded U.S. government funding in an amount in excess of $1.7 billion.

UIA is also a principal owner of the Amigour Housing Company, the largest provider of low-income, senior citizen housing in Israel, with more than 6,000 units. Last year, UIA continued to play an active role in its oversight and management.

The Israel Education Fund (IEF) was founded in 1964 as a partnership between UIA, UJA (one of the three predecessors to JFNA) and The Jewish Agency. In 2012, IEF raised more than $6 million for supplemental educational buildings, scholarships and other capital projects in Israel as part of the mission of The Jewish Agency.

As of 2012, IEF, together with its partners and supporters, had built more than 1,250 institutions, ranging from colleges to senior care facilities. UIA continues to hold the title to these buildings and works with the program providers and municipalities to ensure that the original wishes of the donor or donor community continue to be fulfilled.  IEF also monitors and evaluates these projects and buildings through an ongoing program of onsite inspections.

UIA, through the IEF, controls more than 80 companies managing those educational assets and their activities. It is estimated that these projects touch the lives of one in seven Israelis every single day. Learn more about UIA.

JFNA’s I&O office remains involved in UIA, and has visited almost all of its 1,191 capital projects in Israel over the past five years. As a result, JFNA/UIA has allocated $1,227,192, raised by Federations, to replace and repair facilities.

JFNA’s I&O group also remains focused on creating and enhancing partner coalitions, such as the Negev Work Group, with coordinated planning among 15 Federations. The Negev Funding Coalition, a partnership of nine Federations, has come together to fund two major projects in the Negev.

Although JFNA’s work in Israel and overseas is extensive, we also have a global Jewish responsibility here at home. JFNA’s Washington office advocated on behalf of Jewish Federations in the areas of domestic affairs and public policy to provide high-quality programs and services to vulnerable populations.

In 2012, the Washington office supported an estimated $10 billion that flows from the government to Federations and their affiliated agencies. JFNA lay and professional leaders worked with Congress and the administration on policy matters that impacted the work of Federations, Jewish institutions and partner agencies; convened lay and professional leaders on working groups devoted to aging and family caregiving, health and long-term care, disabilities, and charitable giving and Incentives; and developed and disseminated research, innovations and grant opportunities in domestic human services delivery.

JFNA’s work in Israel and overseas is extensive, but we also have a global Jewish responsibility here at home.

Through our Washington Office, JFNA is well-positioned to affect issues important for our communities, from helping older adults live healthy, active, independent lives for as long as possible and maximizing incentives for charitable giving, to promoting the well-being and inclusion of individuals with disabilities and their families, advocating for the health and well-being of family caregivers, and protecting the health safety net.  Last year, we worked to protect Medicaid and Medicare, advocated for social services for Holocaust survivors and other seniors served by the Older Americans Act, and promoted policies that support individuals with disabilities and their families. Learn more about our public policy achievements in 2012.

The Washington office also served as a vocal advocate for keeping the Jewish people secure. To protect our North American communities, JFNA successfully advocated for security funding through the Nonprofit Security Grant Program. To protect Israel from a possible Iranian nuclear weapon, JFNA Washington supported strong sanctions against and divestment from Iran.

Israel’s security extends far beyond its physical borders, and it was the responsibility of JFNA to defend the ideals that make Israel a thriving economy, a center for innovation and technology, and a land of freedom and opportunity for all who seek religious safety and Jewish communal support.

The Israel Action Network (IAN) is a strategic initiative of JFNA, in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, to counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. This past year marked several key achievements for IAN, including nationwide programming, mobilizations and communications to assist communities with rapid response to boycotts, divestment and sanctions. IAN works closely with JFNA’s Israel and Overseas and Washington offices, to cultivate many important relationships, work with student groups on campuses and help communities confront anti-Israel efforts.

JFNA works to counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy.

IAN also demonstrated its global Jewish responsibility by defeating divestment resolutions within mainline churches, and released community case studies demonstrating proven strategies in successfully countering assaults on Israel’s legitimacy. Learn more about IAN’s achievements in 2012.

JFNA’s global Jewish responsibility extends to emergency relief, and we were able to help people whose lives were disrupted by disasters in 2012. Through our global partners, including JDC and The Jewish Agency, Jewish Federations aided victims of disaster throughout the world; and with the support of our domestic agencies, helped those hurt by tornadoes and severe storms in communities across the United States.

Our Federation community banded together after Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast, raising more than $7.4 million for basic amenities like food, clothing and housing, and medium- and long-term needs, such as financial aid. Emergency preparedness will continue to serve the Jewish Federations during emergencies. Learn more about JFNA’s disaster relief in 2012.