February 10, 2013, New York, NY -- In response to Israel's Operation Pillar of Defense this past November, a historic partnership was created between the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). The Reform Movement, the Federation System and several other Jewish organizations joined together to have one coordinated campaign to raise relief funds for Israel.
To date, the JFNA Terror Relief Fund has allocated and distributed $5 million dollars to provide relief, rescue, and resilience training to communities throughout Southern Israel that have been affected by bombings from Gaza. The Israel Movement of Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) has received $230,000 of the allocated funds to be used for approved projects that will have enormous impact on the communities affected.
Executive Director of the Israel Movement of Reform and Progressive Judaism, Rabbi Gilad Kariv said, "From the moment the rockets started falling in Israel, our number one priority was to bring spiritual and physical support to the people who were affected. We are deeply grateful to the Reform Movement in North America and JFNA for recognizing our ability to provide this support and for providing the means to do so."
"Rather than each organization establishing its own campaign structure, the organized Jewish community collaborated to work quickly, effectively, and efficiently to provide terror relief to the many communities and constituencies affected by the reign of terror bombing," said URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs. "I am confident that the IMPJ will be able to help thousands of our Israeli brothers and sisters who have been, and tragically remain, in distress."
Rabbi Bennett Miller, Chair of the Association of Reform Zionists of America (ARZA) represented the Reform Movement on the JFNA Allocations Committee. He added, "This effort is an example of a wonderful collaboration. We raised funds quickly, supported and aided our partners in Israel so that they could plan and develop dynamic responses to the crisis, provided trauma relief for those affected, and began planning for any future crises that may arise. What a wonderful show of solidarity and commitment by the Reform Movement and our friends and partners in the Jewish Federation world."
The Jewish Federations of North America has released a report detailing how the funds were allocated and used. Read the full report here.
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) is a dynamic network of congregations, institutions, lay leaders, clergy and professionals across North America that impacts the lives of millions of individuals every day. Our progressive, inclusive approach unites thousands of years of Jewish tradition and values with modern Jewish experience to strengthen Judaism today and for future generations. Through programs, information and networking opportunities provided by the URJ, our nearly 900 member congregations enhance their capacity to build and expand community, deepen Jewish learning, energize worship, pursue social justice and develop inspired leadership. http://urj.org