A message from Interim Director, Network of Independent Communities

Dear Huntington Jewish Federated,

Every time I sit down to send you an update, I get another email with more news to share.  For the most up to date information, please visit our website:

https://jewishfederations.org/about-jfna/israel-overseas/i-o-today/israel-crisis-2021-resources

Thank you for supporting the Kalisher Absorption Center in Beer Sheva

We are currently raising funds to improve the bomb shelter in the basement of the building.  There is very little furniture.  There are not adequate supplies and activities for children.  There are 2,000 new immigrants from Ethiopia who will live in the center for the next 3 years.  Many shelters have been neglected due to lack of funding and are in urgent need of renovations.  It currently looks like this:

The Jewish Agency has also taken 720 families from their absorption centers in Ashkelon, Ashdod, and the surrounding areas to Jerusalem, Haifa, and other locations for five days of respite.  In the south, Agency absorption centers are currently home to 2,440 Olim from Ethiopia and 240 Olim from the West, totaling 2,680 Olim.

On Wednesday, exactly 24 hours after our representative was at this Absorption Center in Ashkelon, two rockets hit the parking lot. An oleh (immigrant) was injured and taken to the hospital while another was treated at the center for anxiety. Five apartments and the manager’s office were damaged, but thankfully, our security guards onsite acted quickly to evacuate the immigrants to safety. There is no doubt that without the immediate and brave response of these security guards, who made sure everyone was evacuated to the shelter, this event would have ended much worse.

In the face of this ongoing danger, approximately 100 Jewish Agency employees working across our eight absorption centers in Israel’s south with 3,000 new olim have been busy not only helping them acclimate to their new lives in Israel but holding their hands in these emergency situations. Between COVID and now horrific missile attacks, our employees are struggling. They are the backbone of our organization, modeling resilience to all they serve, leaving their families to run to shelters while they prioritize Israel’s newest immigrants and most vulnerable. We need them to be as strong as possible. I did what I could to offer strength and comfort on Tuesday, but of course, it was not enough, especially as this horrific situation continues.

Center for Independent Living

JDC’s Virtual CIL (Center for Independent Living), provides a virtual space for people with disabilities to receive essential information about their rights and benefits, enjoy social gathering and networking, and participate in peer learning and a range of relevant activities. It was an important meeting place during the pandemic, and since the current crisis began, has been retrofitted to offer emergency support and critically needed human connection. See here for a video of one participant describing her experiences:

All donations can be sent to our Emergency Mailbox:

http://jfeds.org/israelcrisis2021

Thank you for sharing this information.

Todah rabbah,

Rachel Levy
Interim Director, Network of Independent Communities
The Jewish Federations of North America

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