Thursday, January 15, 2015

Federation's Impact in France

Dear Colleagues,

The situation in France is of great concern to us all, and we at The Jewish Agency for Israel are deeply appreciative of how many communities have launched efforts to raise funds for our crucial work in reinforcing security at French synagogues and day schools. But perhaps more importantly, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the ongoing support federations provide to The Jewish Agency every year through the JFNA Collective (a.k.a. “Overseas Core”).

Tuesday’s New York Times article (click here) exemplifies the many reports in papers and on TV news channels about the remarkable rise in Aliyah from France over the last two years—well prior to the assaults last week. The doubling of Aliyah in two subsequent years from France is a phenomenon that is changing the face of Jewish life in Europe and Israel. It reflects the opportunity that Israel represents and the complexity of Jewish life in the European diaspora. Sometimes, we make the error of thinking that the historic shifts in Jewish life took place between the Holocaust and the Six Day War—or perhaps the fall of the Iron Curtain. But dramatic changes continue to reshape the destiny of the Jewish People, and Federations—in their partnership with The Jewish Agency for Israel—are on the leading edge of that story. That is to say, you were there with us before The Times published its story.

The work of French Aliyah has taken place without special campaigns and fanfare. We have dramatically increased our staffing in both France and Israel to accommodate the rise in inquiries about and applications for Aliyah. We have conducted numerous Aliyah fairs. And we have adapted our “klitah” (absorption) programs in Israel to meet the needs of rising numbers of French Jews. We have supported Masa trips for ever larger numbers of French young adults, many of whom are making the decision to remain in Israel. We have done this, in large measure, with the collective funds we receive from the federations.

An inside look at the Jewish Agency's immigration information fair.
We are often asked whether there is a case for “core” giving. We are asked whether the collective has measurable impact. We are asked whether we are adapting to the changing realities of the Jewish world. This week we have only to listen to the reports on TV and in the newspapers; the answer is clear. You are making an enormous difference.

Thank you,

Misha Galperin
President and CEO
Jewish Agency for Israel


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