Did You Know?

By Jennifer Levine, Senior Director, Israel & Overseas Department

A complaint, (or maybe frustration is a better word), I often hear from our very dedicated and extremely passionate lay leaders is that the general public is not aware of the good work that Federation dollars do in Israel. People don’t know that the 9 million dollars Federation allocates to Israel & Overseas supports dozens of programs and thousands of people all around the world, but especially, in Israel. People do not know that, with an eye to the future, the Gertzman committee very intentionally chose Shared Society as the primary focus area of this year’s grants. (See the article on Photo Is:Real in this month’s newsletter.) Earlier this week, my colleague and friend, Marianne Bloomberg, sent around a link to the article by Israel21c entitled “The 48”.

Solidarity Mission Participants with IDF Reservists Yiftah Leket, Michal Neuman and Nina Yahalomi.

This article introduces the reader to 48 changemakers in Israel. As I was reading through, I was fascinated to find I could connect the dots between Detroit and many, many, many of the people spotlighted.

Yaron chats with Betsy Heuer as he takes the I & O Allocations Committee
out to the beach for a surfboard photo shoot.

To highlight a few:

  • Yaron Waksman, HaGal Sheli: This is a program that Detroit has proudly supported for a very long time. Yaron is a very good friend of ours and he has a soft spot for Detroit who was an earlier champion of their work with troubled teens. We also recently gave them an Israel Emergency Grant for the way they pivoted to work with over 1,000 victims of October 7th.
  • Israel’s Reserve Soldiers – in the days after October 7th, many young Detroiters and, of course, many of our Israeli friends, like former Shlichim Eviatar Baskis, Yiftah Leket and ShinShin Michal Neuman, entered into the IDF Reserves. Federation and Foundation Presidents, Gary Torgow and Michael Berger and CEO Steven Ingber leapt into action as well directing yet unraised emergency dollars to support these units that were up and running immediately without any necessary provisions (boots, jackets, cell phone chargers, bottled water, etc.)
  • Dr. Khalil Bakly – a resident of Nof Hagalil, one of our three Partnership 2Gether municipalities, and also a longtime social and political activist who is advocating for a shared Arab-Jewish life more intently than ever after October 7th.
  • Brothers & Sisters in Arms (now Brothers and Sisters for Israel and Hostages & Missing Families Forum) both of whom received Israel Emergency Funds and whom our solidarity missions visited.
  • Danielle Abraham from ReGrow Israel, Talia Levanon from Israel Trauma Coalition. Joseph Gitler from Leket and Mohammad Darawshe from Gavat Haviva – all organizations that Detroit has supported.

Federation CEO Steven Ingber at Brothers & Sisters for Israel Headquarters

Also worth mentioning, another one of “The 48” is Ella Rose Azaria who is spotlighted for her work as a certified master swimming coach to help Israeli internal refugees cope with trauma and anxiety…is a former Detroiter.

It is our mission to continue to connect these dots for you, our Detroit Jewish community, so that you can learn about where your Israel & Overseas dollars are going and the good work they are accomplishing. As a supporter of JFD, you should be proud of the work that you are contributing to as we strive to take care of needs and build a vibrant Jewish future.