The Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton’s Annual Campaign revolves around fundraising to support and carry out our mission of caring for those in need, strengthening Jewish life, and creating connections among Jews-acting locally, in Israel, and around the world. Our impact is felt locally through the vibrant programming and events that happen within our Jewish community, as well as the critical services we sustain. And while the majority of our campaign dollars stay local, a percentage of our annual campaign supports our mission overseas and connects us to the broader Jewish community, Klal Yisroel.
Our Federation connects with other Jewish communities through Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). JFNA acts as the umbrella organization for all Jewish Federations within the United States and Canada. Outside of North America, the Federation system relies on three main organizations to carry out our mission around the world.
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) acts as our humanitarian assistance organization, and works in more than 70 countries and in Israel to improve the well-being of vulnerable Jews living in hardship, provide disaster relief, and create meaningful connections to Jewish life.
World ORT acts as our education and vocational training organization, providing skills, knowledge, and training to build economic sufficiency in needy communities.
Lastly, the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) was instrumental in creating the State of Israel, and today works to connect Jews around the world with Israel, and Israel with Jewish communities around the world.
These four organizations work together to create and sustain Jewish life around the globe, and our Annual Campaign helps support their work. It is a vast system, with many moving parts, and it’s easy to lose sight of the very real impact that our campaign dollars have. Every day, in every Jewish community, the campaign dollars that we raise locally make life better for Jews living in Israel, Latin America, and the Former Soviet Union, along with myriad other places.
Growing up in a poor neighborhood in south Tel Aviv, 23-year-old Shai Pinhasi worked hard to get to college.
Now, as a participant in Federation partner The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Choosing Tomorrow scholarship and service initiative, he has developed the Thinking Far program for fifth-graders.
During four sessions at his old school and another one nearby, Shai and other mentors help the vulnerable students take practical steps toward achieving their dreams, from graduating high school to choosing a career.
“I was inspired to create Thinking Far by members of my own family who have not realized their personal potential for success, because of regional influences,” he said.
“I think it’s very important that Choosing Tomorrow provides training and support for generating social change, and a chance for students to initiate their own projects in their own neighborhoods.”
When 8-year-old Itzik first met Shimrit, his mentor, he was so shy he could barely look her in the eye. But after three years of working closely with her, Itzik’s confidence grew tremendously. He’s now active in school, and much more willing to reach out to family and new friends.
Shimrit was paired with Itzik through Youth Futures, a flagship program of The Jewish Agency for Israel, a Federation partner agency. Youth Futures’ staff provides community-based mentoring for at-risk pre-teens and adolescents across Israel. During the 2012-13 school year, 400 mentors worked with 12,000 students and their families in 35 communities.
The need for Youth Futures is high in Sderot, where Itzik lives. The desert city is a target of frequent rocket attacks from neighboring Gaza, and many residents suffer from PTSD. Sderot also has large immigrant populations, particularly from North Africa and Russia. Many adults work long hours in factories for low pay, meaning less time at home.
That’s where Youth Futures comes in. Each mentor meets with 15 individual families each week to discuss ongoing familial, economic and social issues. They also help with personal finance, parenting and relationship skills. “Our mentors are there in addition to their parents,” says Noa Barkley Asher, local director of the program.
Itzik may still be shy and soft-spoken but, Shimrit attests, he has transformed. Itzik describes Shimrit as being “like a sister.” Last year, he says, “I had trouble making friends. Shimrit helped me, and this year I’m having an easier time.”
With Federation support, the Jewish Agency is extending Youth Futures into new initiatives in schools and building even more supportive networks for Israeli children and their families. “It takes time but I can see it,” says Asher. “If we give these kids the right attention, they blossom.”
When he was just 16, Gregory Margolin joined the Red Army in the Ukraine as his family fled the Nazis. When, at 86, a rebel missile destroyed his house in eastern Ukraine and killed his daughter, he knew his family had to flee again—this time, to Israel.
Since fighting broke out in the Ukraine in 2014, thousands of Jews have made aliyah with the assistance of Federation partner The Jewish Agency for Israel. From providing pre-aliyah counseling and securing travel arrangements in Ukraine to temporary housing, Hebrew lessons and social services once in Israel, The Jewish Agency helped ease the elderly veteran’s delicate transition every step of the way.
Gregory and his family now live in safety with his niece’s family in Ramla. Thanks to Federation, they and so many other Jews affected by conflict now live in safety, comfort and dignity.
JAFI focuses on four main objectives to help achieve this goal: connecting young Jews to Israel and their Jewish identity, connecting young Israelis to the Jewish people and their Jewish identity, Aliyah and absorption (Israeli immigration), and supporting vulnerable populations in Israel.
All are supported by funds raised by Jewish Federation Annual Campaigns. JAFI programs help us care for those in need by helping over half a million underserved Israelis gain access to education and housing. Nearly 5,000 at risk children and teens have received guidance from mentors through JAFI’s Youth Futures initiative, and 47,500 Israelis have benefited from a project that addresses the acute shortage of subsidized public housing.
As Jews, we have a responsibility to care for one another. The Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton cares for our local community, as well as our global community. Every contribution you make to the Annual Campaign has an impact on Jewish life in Dayton, in Israel, and around the world.
For more information on how your campaign donations help our community and Jewish communities across the world, please contact Juliet Glaser, Campaign Director, at (937) 401-1558 or firstname.lastname@example.org.