Through our Israel & Overseas commitments, the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg supports the programs of both the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC). Examples of the types of programs that our community helps to fund are as follows:
The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) is the primary Israel & Overseas partner of the United Israel Appeal of Canada, and the Jewish Federations throughout the country. Since 1948, the Jewish Agency for Israel has been responsible for bringing 3 million immigrants to Israel, and offers them transitional housing in "absorption centers" throughout the country. It is best known as the primary organization responsible for the immigration ("Aliyah") and absorption of Jews and their families from the Diaspora into Israel.The Jewish Agency played a central role in the founding and the building of the State of Israel, including the establishment of about 1,000 towns and villages, and continues to serve as the main link between Israel and Jewish communities around the world. Its mission is to "inspire Jews throughout the world to connect with their people, heritage, and land, and empower them to build a thriving Jewish future and a strong Israel." In 2008, The Jewish Agency won the Israel Prize for its historical contribution to Israel and to the worldwide Jewish community.
Since 2004, Masa Israel Journey has almost tripled the number of young Jews who visit Israel each year on semester or year-long programs. Masa college, and volunteer programs serving young Jewish adults from around the world. It provides significant scholarships to participants, informs program development and operates a growing number of activities for Masa’s over 65,000 alumni.
Youth Futures is a Jewish Agency flagship program that provides community-based mentoring for at-risk pre-teens and adolescents in Israel. Trained mentors work as trusted guides to help students improve school performance, strengthen social integration, and inspire engagement with the community. The Mentors also connect youth, families, and communities with the services and local resources to help them overcome barriers to success. In the 2012-13 school year, 400 staff members worked with 12,000 students and their families in 35 communities. We run two subsidiary programs within the Youth Futures framework which focus on families and on schools:
The Partnership 2Gether (P2G) peoplehood platform (previously known as Partnership 2000 or P2K) connects some 550 communities around the world in 45 partnerships. P2G is building living bridges among these communities - sharing ideas, strengths, challenges, and models of success. P2G has become the paradigm for successfully partnering global Jewish communities directly with Israeli communities—the majority of which are in national priority areas. Communities share ideas, strengths, challenges and models of success; and empower one another to generate waves of change. But the impact of these projects go far beyond the community level—each of us has the opportunity to become directly and personally involved.
More than 300,000 participants from Israel and the overseas communities take part in 500 programs each year.
Located throughout the country, Absorption Centers are temporary living quarters which provide a soft landing and supportive framework, tailored to an oleh's needs. The centers' furnished rooms or apartments are available for rental at substantially lower rates than on the private market, providing new immigrants with a ready first destination and warm atmosphere as they become acquainted with Israeli society. Ulpanim (intensive Hebrew classes) are available at most Absorption Centers and are staffed by highly professional teams who have long-term experience in assisting new olim families, students, and singles in their absorption process.
Residence in the Absorption Center is usually for a period of up to six months, though participants of specific student or other Aliyah programs may stay for the duration of their program. Spaces are limited, and potential olim are required to register with their shaliach prior to Aliyah.
JDC is the world’s leading Jewish humanitarian assistance organization. Since 1914, JDC has exemplified that all Jews are responsible for one another and for improving the well-being of vulnerable people around the world. Today, JDC works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to alleviate hunger and hardship, rescue Jews in danger, create lasting connections to Jewish life, and provide immediate relief and long-term development support for victims of natural and man-made disasters. The JDC serves the following peoples throughout the world:
Revitalize Jewish Life
Famine, World Wars, Communist repression, political strife, genocide—Jewish communities around the world have confronted the unthinkable over the last century. Today, Jews worldwide share a unique opportunity to reconnect to their cultural heritage and find unprecedented strength as part of a global Jewish people.
JDC restores and rebuilds vibrant Jewish life in countries throughout the former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe. As their trusted partner for nearly a century, JDC shares its expertise to empower local Jewish communities from Latin America to Northern Africa and Asia to develop and enrich their local communities.
Empower Israel’s Future
Through innovative educational programs, JDC helps students from vulnerable populations improve their academic performance and attain the credentials needed to succeed in 21st-century Israel.
Today’s Israel is a dynamic, diverse nation of 7.6 million people. Over 70 nationalities are represented it its vibrant population, and two out of every three Israelis are newcomers, or the children or grandchildren of immigrants.
Israel has tremendous human potential but the gap between rich and poor—the second largest of the OECD countries—underscores the formidable challenges many of its citizens face in earning livelihoods and providing for their families. With 25% of all Israelis living in poverty, the country has the largest concentration of vulnerable Jews in the world.
JDC partners with the Government of Israel to research and develop innovative, scalable solutions to meet the needs of the country’s most disadvantaged citizens, including Israeli Arabs, vulnerable immigrants, children and youth at risk, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
JDC’s interventions empower Israelis at every stage of life:
By investing in the country’s most precious resource—its people—JDC helps Israel ensure that it can provide for its most vulnerable, foster greater equality of opportunity, leverage its human capital, and strengthen its future as a nation.
For more than 65 years, The Jewish Agency for Israel and its partners have kept an unwavering promise to the Jewish people: to bring any Jew, from anywhere in the world, to safety in Israel. From 1929, The Jewish Agency has facilitated the Aliyah (immigration to Israel) of more than three million Jews. Included in this number are hundreds of thousands of Jews who had to be rescued from all around the world, especially from warzones, countries without diplomatic ties to the State of Israel, and other places where Jewish lives were in peril.
During the British Mandate period, before the establishment of the State of Israel, The Jewish Agency brought hundreds of thousands of Jews to the Holy Land through clandestine immigration, by way of sea. Tens of thousands of children were brought to Israel through the Aliyat HaNo’ar (“Youth Aliyah”) organization (1933) and in Operation Children of Tehran (1943). Established in 1939, HaMossad LeAliyah Bet (“The Institution for Aliyah B”) was a rescue mission for Jews trapped in burning Europe.
Since Israel’s establishment in 1948, The Jewish Agency has served as the primary organization facilitating Aliyah from countries with which the State of Israel does not maintain diplomatic relations, including various countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, and elsewhere.
During the first years of Israel’s existence, the country absorbed hundreds of thousands of new immigrants. In 1949, The Jewish Agency brought 3,800 Yemenite Jews to Israel as part of Operation Magic Carpet. In 1951, 110,000 Iraqi Jews came to Israel as part of Operation Ezra and Nehemiah. In 1991, Operation Solomon saw 14,300 Ethiopian Jews airlifted to Israel in only 36 hours. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, The Jewish Agency has overseen the Aliyah of more than a million Jews from that region.
The hundreds of Ethiopians who were brought to Israel on Operation Dove's Wings are now receiving a soft landing at the Jewish Agency Absorption Centers and other programs around the country.
The Jewish Agency continues to bring all Jews who seek a better, more secure future to the State of Israel.