UNITED JEWISH COMMUNITIES ISRAEL EMERGENCY CAMPAIGN GAINS SUPPORT FROM REFORM MOVEMENT
Underscores Unity of Jewish Community in Emergency Aid to Israel
(New York - April 29, 2002)--Underscoring the unity of the North American Jewish community as it stands in solidarity with Israel, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) is merging its Israel relief campaign into the Israel emergency campaign of United Jewish Communities (UJC), the two organizations announced today. Leaders of the two organizations said the groups share common goals during this critical time and, at this moment, a belief that Israel is best served by a united communal effort.
The UAHC's Israel Relief Fund will be discontinued and the organization is asking its members to make emergency contributions directly to UJC's "We Stand with Israel Now and Forever" Emergency Campaign through either UJC or their local Jewish federation. UJC is raising hundreds of millions of dollars in emergency relief for Israel through federation campaigns across North America.
"The social service needs in Israel are enormous as a result of the situation-from security in schools to summer camp programs for children," said Stephen H. Hoffman, UJC President and Chief Executive Officer. "The marriage of our campaigns underscores that the North American Jewish community is truly unified and committed as it stands in solidarity with Israel during this trying time for the Jewish homeland and our brothers and sisters there."
Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie, President of UAHC, said: "The UJC and the UAHC share the same goals: to provide assistance to the victims of terror and their families and relief to all Israelis who are suffering at this time. By joining forces at this time, our efforts will be maximized and the generosity of the American Jewish people will have a greater impact."
As part of their agreement, UJC and UAHC will together direct nearly $1 million to the Reform Movement in Israel to provide safe and secure programs for Israeli youth this summer, one of the primary goals of the UAHC's Israel Relief Fund effort and UJC's emergency fund for Israel.
"We are delighted that the UJC has agreed to fund programs administered by the Israeli Movement for Progressive Judaism, including activities at neighborhood centers and expanded summer camp programs," Rabbi Yoffie said.
In April, UJC and UAHC both launched their respective emergency campaigns for Israel.
UJC and the Jewish Federations of North America launched a continental-wide emergency campaign for Israel--"We Stand with Israel Now and Forever"--to dramatically expand financial support for Israel. Since then, North American Jews and other friends of Israel have contributed more than $100 million to UJC and Jewish community federations in support of the Jewish homeland during this critical time in its history.
The UAHC - the central body of the Reform Movement - established its Israel Relief Fund, urging the members of its more than 900 congregations to make donations to provide relief to the victims of terrorism and their families, purchase needed medical equipment and supplies, and to provide support for children and the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable during this crisis. To date, the UAHC has raised nearly $160,000 for Israeli emergency relief.
Information on donating to the UJC fund is available at www.ujc.org or by calling 1.800.966.4UJC (1.800.966.4852). Donations may be sent to United Jewish Communities, Israel Appeal, P.O. Box 30, Old Chelsea Station, New York, NY 10113.
UJC represents 189 Jewish Federations and 400 independent communities across North America. UJC provides life-saving and life-enhancing humanitarian assistance to those in need, and translates Jewish values into social action on behalf of millions of Jews in hundreds of communities in North America, in towns and villages throughout Israel, in the former Soviet Union, and 60 countries around the world.
The UAHC, the central body of the Jewish Reform Movement in North America, represents more than 900 congregations in the United States, Canada, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It is the largest Jewish movement in North America, representing an estimated 1.5 million Jews.