In a “less is more” approach designed to increase the impact on its beneficiary Israeli agencies, the Jewish Federation of Monmouth County awarded $390,228 to organizations that serve immigrants, orphans, at-risk youth, victims of terror, and Holocaust survivors in the Jewish state.
The overseas allocations it awarded last month include grants given directly to overseas agencies, funding for federation’s Partnership 2Gether community of Arad/Tamar, and dues to Jewish Federations of North America, monies that in turn go to the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, said Ariella Lis Raviv, manager of community impact.
“Our committee took a close look at the missions of the organizations that filed requests for proposals,” Raviv said, “and gave to agencies where we thought our dollars could really make an impact.”
The agency awarded the same amount of money as last year, but dispersed it in larger amounts to seven Israeli organizations, rather than last year’s 11, to increase its value to those recipients, she added.
Among the recipient agencies are the Yemin Orde Youth Village in the Carmel Forest region, to use for higher education scholarships for at-risk immigrant youth; SELAH: Israel Crisis Management Center, which provides services to orphans and immigrants from Russia and Ethiopia; Crossroads, which serves at-risk English-speaking youth in Israel; NATAL, a counseling hotline for victims of terror; and Amcha, which provides training to volunteers who visit homebound Holocaust survivors.
On March 26 Micha Feldman, the Ethiopian Unit director of SELAH, visited federation’s offices to share personal insight into the critical aid SELAH provides to immigrants.
The only new organization funded this year was Shutaf, a camp program for special-needs children and teens.
“While we sit comfortably here in Monmouth County, our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel live on the front line,” said Stephanie Ackerman of Marlboro, federation’s vice president of outreach. “It is our obligation to treat them as part of our family. This is what drives me.”
Dr. Tony Kestler of Manalapan, who chairs the overseas allocations committee, said he is motivated by his deep bond to his Jewish roots. “My father escaped the Holocaust and came here from Vienna. My wife grew up in an Orthodox household. Supporting Israel is my duty, and I would like to set a standard for my two grandchildren,” he said.
Federation’s support of Israel is more critical than ever, said committee member Lori Shafrir of Marlboro. “In light of the looming nuclear threats, continuous missiles in southern Israel, and the unending tension in Judea and Samaria, we need to not only show our moral support but financial support to the various organizations that support the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of our fellow Jews,” she said.