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Greater Miami Jewish Federation

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Miami’s Partnership Communities Touched by the Crisis and Helped by You

This summer, many Israelis experienced the terror of rocket attacks for the very first time as a result of Hamas’ ability to fire rockets deeper into Israel from Gaza. Even Yerucham, Miami’s partnership city in the Negev Desert, was not immune; several Red Alert sirens sounded there, sending residents scrambling to the community’s few usable shelters.

“The crisis has been extremely upsetting to the community of Yerucham, which does not have the collective memory of cities that have undergone rocket fire for years,” said Rena Genn, Director of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s Israel Office. “Living so far from Gaza, people never imagined in their wildest dreams that terrorist rockets would literally hit so close to home.”

Concerned about the long-term effects of the shocking events, Yerucham opened a hotline and emergency counseling center that was available 24 hours a day, six days a week, to assist terrified residents. “The idea was to provide immediate intervention to help people cope today and prevent possible long-term issues for those affected – and for Israeli society as a whole,” said Genn. Because of its relatively safe location, Yerucham also provided much-needed respite for children from Beersheva and Netivot, both of which were under constant fire. Yerucham’s teen center operated a day-long summer camp for these children five days a week for nearly four weeks. Support for the camp is being provided through the Israel Emergency Fund.


Children enjoyed a break from rocket fire this summer at day camps in Yerucham.

Meanwhile in Pardes Channa-Karkur, other friends of Miami’s Jewish community experienced rocket attacks for the first time this summer. Many of the older Ethiopian-Israelis and newer immigrants who live in Pardes Channa-Karkur are not sufficiently proficient in Hebrew to understand news broadcasts and instructions from Israel’s Home Front Command. They also did not know how to find out about their sons serving in the IDF in Gaza.

Fortunately, Fidel – a Federation-funded organization that, among other activities, runs two youth centers for at-risk Ethiopian-Israeli teens in Pardes Channa-Karkur – was able to help. Fidel created a national hotline in Amharic and Tigrit, offering immediate relief to Ethiopian-Israelis through professional trauma counseling, informational services and more. The Israel Emergency Fund is now providing financial support to Fidel for its much-needed initiative.

To make a donation to the Israel Emergency Fund, click here.

To find out more about the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s partnerships in Israel and our ongoing work around the world, contact Dahlia Bendavid, Israel and Overseas Department Director, at dbendavid@gmjf.org or 786.866.8445.

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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