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Greater Miami Jewish Federation

Federation News

Hundreds of Miami-Area Youth Enjoy a Jewish Summer Experience Through Federation-Funded Programs

Miami-area youth are busy this summer going to camp, exploring Israel and making a difference through various Greater Miami Jewish Federation-funded programs and agencies. While each sponsoring organization offers a different experience, they all share a passion to instill strong Jewish identities, form connections with Israel and encourage stronger involvement from members of the Jewish community.

More than 160 Miami-Dade County children between the ages of eight and 17 are enjoying Jewish overnight camp thanks to need-based Jewish camp scholarships. Recognizing that Jewish overnight camp is a significant vehicle for Jewish engagement, Federation has allocated $100,000 from the Annual Federation/UJA Campaign each year since 2002 for funding assistance. This year, a supplemental gift raised the total to $126,400, increasing the number of scholarships awarded to children and enabling them to attend a variety of overnight camps from all religious streams, as well as JCC overnight programs and youth group movements.

Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) continues to deepen its connection with teens in our community by sending more than 50 Miami-Dade high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to Israel this summer. Students of AMHSI are currently discovering and embracing their connection to the history, culture and people of Israel by using the country as a “living classroom,” traveling for six weeks through a chronological curriculum of 4,000 years. Since its inception in 1972, AMHSI, with the support of Federation, have enabled more than 20,000 students to build a lifelong bond with the State of Israel.

As part of Federation’s ongoing partnership with Taglit-Birthright Israel, an exclusive, free Birthright experience for Miami and South Florida residents, ages 22 to 26, took place this summer from Sunday, June 2, 2013 to Thursday, June 13, 2013. This trip combined the powerful experience of a 10-day journey in Israel with the opportunity for participants to forge long-lasting and meaningful relationships with other young adults who live in the community. More than 3,000 people from Miami and the surrounding area have taken part in Taglit-Birthright Israel since it launched more than a decade ago. The Annual Federation/UJA Campaign provides a yearly allocation to the Birthright Israel Foundation, helping to make the free trip possible for Miami-Dade County residents ages 18 to 26. Registration for the winter 2013 Birthright trip opens September 10.

Earlier this month, the Miami contingent of The Jewish Federations of North America’s National Young Leadership Mission visited the Jaffa Institute headquarters in Israel. The Jaffa Institute assists severely disadvantaged children and their families in the greater Tel Aviv-Jaffa area. ┬áThe Institute operates two programs supported by Annual Federation/UJA Campaign dollars. The Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s Women's Amutot Initiative funds the "Welfare to Wellbeing" program, where women from the greater Tel Aviv-Jaffa area attend intensive training courses to learn specific skills that will enable them to find employment, cut their dependence on welfare and help break the cycle of poverty. Federation’s Nutritional Support Initiative supports the work of the Institute’s Food Distribution Center's Providing Sustenance to Holocaust Survivors program, which delivers food packages to Holocaust survivors twice a month. After meeting some of the staff and learning about the programs, the Miami group helped pack food boxes for delivery to people in need.

The School of Madrichim (counselors) at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center, a Federation partner agency in North Dade, took more than 60 students to Israel for four weeks after the high school sophomores completed a year-long leadership training program. The program promotes Jewish identity and develops young Jewish leaders so they are able to work with children and teens in our community. Completion of the program enabled the youngsters to put their newly learned leadership skills and appreciation of Judaism to full use during their time in Israel. While in Yerucham, Federation’s partnership city in Israel’s Negev desert region, teens from both communities spent time together and enjoyed activities such as dance, radio and DJ workshops, as well as bike-riding in the desert. The madrichim also visited Pardes Channa-Karkur, a community of 30,000 located between Tel Aviv and Haifa. Since 2005, Federation has been engaged in partnership with the 1,600 Ethiopian-Israeli residents of Pardes Channa.

For more information on Israel trips and programs, please contact Federation’s Israel and Overseas Department at or 786.866.8498. For more information on overnight camp scholarships, please contact Flora Akselrad at or 786.866.8498.

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.

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