Year after year, Jewish Federations throughout North America touch more Jewish lives than any other organization on the planet. In 2015, we reached even farther, building on our core strengths while finding new opportunities to enhance Jewish life at home and around the world. From delivering essential social services and educating and empowering Jewish communities and leaders to mobilizing for relief during conflict and crisis, our impact has been both broad and profound. We’re proud to have played a transformative role in the lives of so many this year—especially those profiled in this report.


From natural disasters to conflict zones, Federation is a lifeline for communities in distress in North America, Israel and around the world. We fund basic supplies required immediately, like food and medicine, and long-term needs, like trauma counseling and rehabilitation, as well as the emergency service providers who deliver the supplies where they’re needed the most.

Recovering After the Flood

When a storm dumped historic amounts of rain on Detroit, Federation used its profound knowledge of the community and well-established partnerships to coordinate an immediate emergency response. Federations throughout the region joined together to raise funds, while the local Federation publicized and helped manage volunteer recruitment and clean-up logistics and served as a community hub. It’s what being part of a collective—no matter where you are—is all about.

Sheltering Displaced Families

After a bomb destroyed their home in the heart of conflict-ridden eastern Ukraine, the Endeberrya family—mother, father and two children—fled with only the clothes on their backs. Federation partner the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is now helping them and thousands of other displaced Jews with uncertain futures find temporary homes, and is supplying them with urgently-needed food, clothes, medical attention and financial support.


Federation and its partners The Jewish Agency for Israel and JDC have played integral roles in Israel’s development for decades, and our commitment to the Jewish state grows deeper each year. We help new olim adjust to life in Israel, offer a host of social services for vulnerable populations and provide economic stimuli to bolster businesses, ensuring that all Israelis are strong and resilient.

Establishing Roots in a New Home

Born and raised in Venezuela, Tony Raichler was proud of his country’s small but strong Jewish community. But he knew his future lay in Israel, where his father and uncle had served in the Israel Defense Forces. So when he turned 16, he made aliyah through The Jewish Agency’s Na’ale program for young olim. It gave him the support he needed to finish high school, serve in the army and build a new, independent life in Israel. In 2015, more than 31,000 Jews like Tony—from all walks of life and all corners of globe—chose to make Israel their home, a 12-year high.

Boosting Small Businesses

With rockets falling during Operation Protective Edge, brothers Yossi and Dor Ben Yishai were forced to close their Be’er Sheva pizzeria, losing more than NIS 200,000 ($50,000). A loan from Federation through The Jewish Agency—part of our $55 million Stop the Sirens campaign that has aided tens of thousands of Israelis under fire—helped them keep the restaurant afloat and re-open for business as usual after the conflict.


Federation and its partners have unparalleled global reach, affecting hundreds of thousands of Jews in 70 countries around the world. Our programs empower the next generation of Jewish leaders, connect young families with Jewish community and provide life-saving aid for the elderly, the disabled and other at-risk populations.

Strengthening Ties with Israel

Attending Sunday school was the first time Sasha and Dasha, identical twins from Belarus, connected to their Jewish roots. Jewish camp and youth group soon followed. But it wasn’t until they traveled together to Israel through The Jewish Agency—first on a 10-day Taglit-Birthright Israel trip and, then for six-month internships through Masa Israel Journey—that they found new Jewish directions for their lives. Now, Dasha is settling into a new life in Israel while Sasha educates Jews and non-Jews in Belarus about Israel.

Surviving the Eastern European Winter

Cerebral palsy, severe arthritis and glaucoma are only some of the ailments that afflict 65-year-old Stelian Obada. Unable to work, he lives alone in a remote corner of Moldova, the poorest country in Europe. Each winter, JDC delivers food packages and coal, gas and firewood for heat to Stelian and tens of thousands of impoverished Jews across the former Soviet Union.


Jewish learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom. Federation funds educational programs that reach Jews where they are, from community centers and college campuses to right in their own homes, and helps them embark upon their own Jewish journeys. Our initiatives develop and strengthen Jewish identity, pride in our heritage and love for Israel.

Building Jewish Community on Campus

Few things were as important to pre-med student Tzvia Pinkhasov as academics. So she was surprised when friends got her hooked on her campus’s Hillel. There, she nurtured her Jewish practice, found a warm community of friends and mentors and developed leadership skills as treasurer. Each year, more than 400,000 students like Tzvia in over 600 communities worldwide are impacted by Hillel—and nearly 94 percent of them say that being Jewish will continue to be important to them after graduation.

Delivering Jewish Learning

Bonding over Jewish children’s books is a cherished ritual for Robyn Raskin and her 6-year-old son, Daniel. Delivered for free by PJ Library, which reaches more than 175,000 families, the stories bring Jewish traditions and history to life. Recently, PJ Library’s do-it-yourself tzedakah box helped mother and son explore what giving means. The result? Daniel saved $22 to give back to “children who can’t afford books”—a perfect happy ending.


Federation’s vast array of social services provides a critical safety net for those in need in our communities. From people with special needs to Holocaust survivors, job seekers to families facing long-term illnesses, all are welcome and treated with care and compassion.

Creating Opportunities for Jews with Disabilities

As a young adult with autism, Ben Norry had few pathways toward an independent life and even fewer toward Jewish community. A long search for his next step led him to a Federation-funded program that helps young adults with developmental and learning disabilities acquire vocational, life and social skills. Now, Ben is living in his own apartment, interning at a Jewish home for the elderly and building friendships with other young Jews.

Aging with Care and Dignity

Marsha Kreuzman rarely leaves her home these days, except to share her memories of the Holocaust. With Federation’s help, the 91-year-old widow speaks to hundreds at schools, synagogues and churches each year. While Marsha ensures that her story is never forgotten, Federation ensures that she and thousands of other elderly survivors have the care they need—from home health services and counseling to nutritious meals and housing subsidies—so they can age in place, with dignity.


Growing and nurturing strong communities is the essence of Federation’s work. So when it comes to giving back, there’s no need to go it alone. Our affinity groups harness the power of the collective to connect community members to the movement and help them develop strong personal networks and leadership skills.

Cultivating a New Tradition of Giving

Growing up in a tight-knit Jewish family, Michelle was encouraged to donate her spare change to worthy causes as tzedakah. Now a mother and an active philanthropist, she's giving back in a much bigger way—together with tens of thousands of other Jewish women involved in Women's Philanthropy, who raise more than $180 million each year for Federation.

Connecting with Community and Each Other

Marcos and Shlomit, two Jews from Mexico and Israel, were in search of new friends and fun when they met at a Federation event for Jews in their 20s, 30s and 40s. They never expected they’d fall in love—or that Federation would become so integral to their lives. Now, the happily married couple is deeply involved in Young Leadership, engaging their peers in building Jewish community and collectively creating a new legacy of giving with their peers.