Member of the Jewish Federations of North America

Greater Miami Jewish Federation

Israel & Overseas

Special Initiatives

Israeli women yearning for economic and social empowerment. Frail elderly in the former Soviet Union who must decide between rent and medicine. Whenever and wherever our Jewish community finds challenges, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation is working to honor our Jewish tradition of caring by doing something about them.

Our initiatives in Israel and around the world provide unique opportunities to effect real change by working directly – person to person – with those seeking dignity and a better life. Read more about our initiatives below.

Women’s Amutot Initiative

In Israel, there are thousands of women and girls struggling every day with economic and social issues, including abuse, poverty and isolation. The Women's Amutot Initiative was established in 2003 to focus exclusively on the needs and welfare of women and girls in Israel. Annual grants are allocated to Israeli not-for-profit organizations (amutot) that provide programs and services for women and deal with economic and societal empowerment, integration and equality, protection against and prevention of violence, and leadership development. Projects include:

  • A legal advocacy hotline that helps marginalized and impoverished women with issues such as employment rights, insurance benefits, public housing, health care and debt management.
  • A 24-hotline – with assistance in eight languages – for women in southern Israel who are victims of violence.
  • Micro-enterprise loans for women wanting to start their own businesses in a wide variety of industries.
  • A legal aid clinic to help women in family law matters such as child custody, support payments and property distribution.
  • Promote attention to issues facing single mothers through media campaigns, as well as assisting single mothers in community organizing.
  • Vocational training for women exiting prostitution.

Click here to learn more about the Women’s Amutot Initiative

Click here to learn more about Women’s Amutot Initiative Grants

Youth Futures in Yerucham

One out of every three children in Israel lives below the poverty line. Youth Futures is an innovative program of the Jewish Agency for Israel that focuses on at-risk children ages eight to 18. It provides them with positive mentors, as well as tools for academic and personal success. In Yerucham, this program helps provide unparalleled opportunities for guidance and engagement for 90 children and families

Each Youth Futures Mentor works approximately four hours each week with up to 16 children as a group, in addition to weekly one-on-one meetings and activities. Mentors help the children to develop motivation, self-esteem and self-confidence. In time, this leads to improved scholastic performances and positive goal-setting.

Food Insecurity

Nearly one out of every four Israelis suffers from food insecurity, or a lack of access to sufficient, nutritious food. The Greater Miami Jewish Federation supports several programs that provide hot meals, food packages and other resources to thousands of Israelis, including children, single-parent families, the elderly and the unemployed. Projects include:

  • Providing breakfast to 130 children from low-income families in an elementary school, Jerusalem.
  • Leket Israel to rescue and distribute produce and perishable goods to those in need
  • Deliver food parcels to the homes of Holocaust survivors

Ethiopian-Israeli Initiative

There are currently 120,000 Ethiopians now living in Israel. Many are facing unique challenges due to the difficulties of moving from a relatively primitive society to a highly technological world. Acculturation difficulties have resulted in a higher incidence of unemployment, poverty, substance abuse and family violence among Ethiopian Israelis.

Since 2005, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation has been engaged in a partnership with the 1600 Ethiopian-Israeli residents of Pardes Channa-Karkur, a community of 30,000 located between Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Working closely with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the Ethiopian National Project, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the municipality of Pardes Channa-Karkur, Federation is supporting a variety of efforts in the city, including:

The focus of the Initiative is on integration of the Ethiopian-Israeli community into Israeli society, with a focus on education. It is important to all children to see Ethiopian-Israeli teachers, to show true integration. Our work will help support the establishment of an employment center to help place Ethiopian Israeli teachers.

Loan Funds

The Greater Miami Jewish Federation is supporting several loan fund programs that help aspiring entrepreneurs and spur local economies in Israel. These include:

Ness Negev Business Loan Fund
This fund was established to assist small businesses in the Negev, with the broader aim of creating jobs and accelerating economic activity in Israel's southern region. By providing resources for economic development, regional growth, and the creation of critical new jobs, the fund was designed to provide burgeoning entrepreneurs with initial capital and professional mentoring to help them realize their business vision, bringing prosperity and vision to the underdeveloped Israeli Negev.

Some examples of the Ness Loan Fund at work:

Helping a couple establish a food business

Helping a young woman open a gift shop specializing in balloons

Helping a young man renovate his paint store and purchase business equipment

Helping two brothers purchase a pool manufacturing plant

The Negev Funding Coalition

Federation is helping make Israel's Negev region a more fulfilling place to live for current and future residents. As one of seven member-communities (Delaware, Greater Metrowest NJ, Miami, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia and Toronto) comprising The Jewish Federations of North America Negev Funding Coalition (NFC), the Greater Miami Jewish Federation supports important programs in the area in the fields of healthcare, culture, education, infrastructure and employment. Negev Now, an NFC initiative focused on creative placemaking — projects that make the region more attractive for current and potential residents and visitors — and wellness, is a critical step in this journey, as the region prepares for an influx of IDF, counter-terrorism and intelligence bases in the coming years.

Richard Bernstein, of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation, is the Immediate Past Chair of the Negev Funding Coalition. He can be seen describing its past activities here.

Elderly Welfare Programs in the Former Soviet Union

More than 200,000 elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union (FSU) struggle for daily survival, unable to afford even the most basic necessities, such as food, rent or heating fuel. Many of them have lost their pensions, their savings and even their homes. Most of them have no living relatives to turn to.

The Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s overseas partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, has set up Hesed (welfare) Centers across the vast regions of the FSU to help these frail seniors. The Centers provide food packages, hot meals or food cards to those who are hungry. They also provide medicines and medical care for the sick, and items such as heating fuel and blankets to ensure survival and comfort during frigid winters.

Seniors who are well enough to visit the Centers can participate in group activities and celebrations to avoid loneliness. Those who cannot make it to the Centers are visited as often as possible by caring, compassionate volunteers. There are nine Volunteer Centers in 25 locations across the FSU, with the aim of cultivating increased local involvement that leads to stronger local communities. This past year, more than 1,600 volunteers were active in helping their communities.

Religious Diversity

Many forms of Orthodox and non-Orthodox Judaism are thriving in Israel. There is enormous diversity of Jewish life including all major denominations. In addition, a “renewal” movement provides an indigenous Israeli approach to spiritual expression with an array of grassroots programs and initiatives. The Religious Streams and other organizations are working on building more religious diversity into Israeli society. There are broader efforts to offer programs to strengthen the Jewish identity of Israelis.

Our Federation supports iRep, a consortium of ten Federations, as well as six family foundations, aiming to strengthen Israeli civil society and encourage respect for diverse Jewish expressions in Israel, with a focus on marriage equality in Israel. iRep supports organizations that work to educate and build awareness to advance meaningful change to the religion-state status quo. Marriage is a key issue for providing diverse Jewish expressions and has important implications.

Argentina

Numbering around 241,000 people, the Argentinean Jewish population, with a sizeable middle class, historically has been self-sufficient. Beginning with the 2001-2002 economic crises, the majority of the Jewish population became impoverished literally overnight. After a brief period of economic growth, the 2008 financial crisis brought about more monetary concerns, but the community was better prepared, having established community organizations to meet the welfare needs of the Jewish population. Today, poverty and struggle persist - in part, due to high inflation and unemployment.

With the help of our Federation’s overseas partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, community programs are being implemented in the provinces outside of Greater Buenos Aires, including Baby Help, Mezonot, and Bait. These programs provide essential humanitarian support to young families and children, help families receive financial assistance for food, and help individuals stay in their home.

For more information, contact us at IsraelOverseas@JewishMiami.org or 786.866.8495.

The Mission of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation is to mobilize human and financial resources to care for those in need, strengthen
Jewish life and advance the unity, values and shared purpose of the Jewish people in Miami, in Israel and around the world.

Click here to read our Diversity and Inclusion Statement.

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