Israel is also dealing with massive challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic. To help Israelis through the crisis, UJA is allocating over $1 million in emergency funding to be used in the following ways:
1) Caring for the Caregivers: Our funding will support the Israel Trauma Coalition’s expanded efforts to provide psychosocial support for hospital teams, homecare workers, and more.
2) Leadership Command Center: MAOZ is a network of 600 leaders and professionals representing the full diversity of Israeli society. Our funding will support a command center, bringing the network together virtually to coordinate solutions to major challenges. For example, MAOZ has worked on remote learning for Israel’s children, better communication about the virus to the Haredi community, and finding quarantine solutions for the Bedouin in the Negev. You can learn more about MAOZ's work here.
3) Coordinating Volunteers: The Israel Association of Community Centers is managing 30,000 volunteers serving diverse communities, including Haredi, Arab citizens, Ethiopian Israelis, and Russian speakers. They are especially active in lower socioeconomic locations. We’re supporting a hotline that connects vulnerable people — mostly the elderly, people with disabilities, and people who live alone — with a volunteer in their area. Volunteers can offer assistance, including purchasing food or medicine, and make connections to helpful resources.
4) Loan Funds for Small Businesses: We’re supporting interest-free loan funds operated by OGEN, a nonprofit social lending enterprise, and the Jewish Agency for Israel for small businesses that are dealing with the economic ramifications of the crisis.
5) Loan Fund for Nonprofits: We’re also supporting a low-interest loan fund through OGEN and the Jewish Agency for nonprofits that need cash and have an expected revenue stream as collateral.
In the early days of the crisis, UJA advanced $4.2 million to nearly 60 overseas grantees so operations could continue to run as smoothly as possible. Our partners are on the ground addressing coronavirus challenges with a priority to assist the elderly, people with disabilities, nursing homes, and people living in poverty. Here’s how:
Helping the Most Vulnerable
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is mobilizing to deliver food to 60,000 homebound elderly people who are especially frail. JDC is also working with Haredi and Bedouin community leaders to develop tailored responses to their community needs. In response to the rise in unemployment, JDC is taking steps to create new opportunities for the nearly 100,000 Israelis now laid off or placed on leave.
Since the crisis started, our largest overseas partner, the Jewish Agency for Israel, has welcomed to Israel, and straight into quarantine, nearly 800 olim from dozens of countries, including Argentina, Brazil, England, Ethiopia, France, Russia, and Ukraine.
For Holocaust Survivors living in Amigour sheltered housing supported by the Jewish Agency, staff is working longer shifts while taking steps to keep residents safe. They are in constant contact with the families of residents to assure them their loved ones are in good care.
The Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC) is preparing materials in Hebrew, Arabic, Russian, Amharic, and French that offer support for a range of audiences, including parents, caregivers, medical teams, and others. ITC is also staffing hotlines to provide emotional counseling.
Beit Ruth, a safe residence in the north of Israel for teen girls removed from their families because of abuse or neglect, has been designated by the Israeli government as an essential service. Beit Ruth remains open and continues to provide critical services and programs for the teens.
An initiative funded by UJA, Israeli Hope, supported by President Reuven Rivlin, is hosting an online story time. Israeli Hope strives to strengthen connections between diverse segments of Israeli society: secular Jews, Orthodox Jews, Haredi, and Arab citizens. For the first online story time, President Rivlin chose a popular children’s book that talks about the need to respect all people. You can watch the story time session with English subtitles here.
Helping the Helpers
The Nachshonim Association is a youth movement in Israel that reaches out to young Israelis on the margins. Our funding will help support Nachshonim so they can provide child care for parents who are essential health care workers and required to be at their jobs.