A return on investment: Baby Help in Argentina goes intergenerational
Rosana Jacofsky, a long-time teacher at the Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) Baby Help day care program in Buenos Aires, Argentina dedicates the majority of her time to children with physical and psychological difficulties. “We are constantly reminded that love can break through any barrier,” she says.
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Bright futures for disadvantaged kids in Israel
ATID is the Hebrew word for future. And Atidim (futures) is the name of a breakthrough project designed to build a better, stronger Israel by enabling capable and talented young people from underprivileged communities to acquire higher education in order to share in Israel's growth. Created by the Israel Defense Forces more than a decade ago, Atidim has since become one of Israel's most valuable educational and social initiatives. Read more.


A young athlete finds a supportive home away from home
Elizabeth, 16, has had a tough time dealing with her parents’ divorce, among other family problems. Born to immigrants from Ukraine and raised in Ashkelon, a city in the south of Israel, Elizabeth is a talented athlete who runs track, but has always struggled with schoolwork. She was homesick when she first came to Hadassah Neurim, a boarding school that is one of four youth villages managed by The Jewish Agency for Israel and funded by Federation Annual Campaign dollars. Read more.

"Smart" Ways You are Helping Students Learn
Engaging students in the learning process is a challenge anywhere. In Israel, for schools and communities on the periphery—with limited resources, crowded classrooms and large immigrant populations—the challenge is being met head on with Kadima Mada (Science Journey), a World ORT program. Read more.


Passionate, Profound and Proud to Call Himself a Jew—Pavel Ilyashov
As a young boy in Minsk, Belarus, Pavel Ilyashov would look out the window of his apartment building and daydream about what he would become when he grew up: a heavy equipment driver. He was enthralled by the massive machines moving dirt, lifting steel girders and constructing new buildings. The daydream was just that, however. Read more.


Federation Shabbaton Scholar-in-Residence Shoel Silver Guides Discussion on Jewish Unity
Shoel Silver is the Chair of the Unity of the Jewish People Committee of the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI). Shoel was the Scholar in Residence for the first Federation Shabbaton this past February which brought together Jews of all streams and backgrounds to discuss inclusiveness and unity among Jews living in Israel. Read more.


Haitian Salsa Champion Gets Second Chance to Dance
Gheorghes Exantus spent three days under the rubble of his home following the earthquake that shook Haiti last January. With his feet and hand pinned under cement blocks, he had no idea if he would live, much less walk again. Read more.


Pearl H. Glassman Embodies Tzedakah
Pearl H. Glassman may be the perfect example of how anyone can become the embodiment of Tzedakah.  During a laugh-filled conversation and guided tour of her beloved home at Beth Sholom Terrace, the energetic 97-year-old left no question as to her commitment to the ideal of Jewish giving. Read more.


Elderly Woman Finds Community and Hope
A frail 73-year-old woman living in Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, Zhanna Bessmertnaya struggles today to survive on a monthly pension of $82. “We’ve all lived such hard lives here,” she says. Read more.


The Studebaker Family
Richard Studebaker was like many other young adults in this Jewish Community. He enrolled his son Sid at the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater (HAT), supported the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, went on a Tel Aviv mission with the Young Adult Division of the UJFT in 2006, and regularly attended Temple Israel. He never thought he’d find himself in need of financial assistance. Then his life changed dramatically in February, 2010: he had a stroke. Read more.


Batya: Helping herself. Helping Israel
Batya was just four years old when she made aliyah from Ethiopia with her family during Operation Solomon. From absorption center in Tzfat—where she remembers little aside from the first snowfall she ever experienced—they moved to a "caravan" (a pre-fab house, similar to a mobile home) in Be'erotayim, a small community in Central Israel. Read more.


Joe Harowitz and the JCC - A Lasting Relationship
He volunteered in the 1940s at the Jewish War Veterans’ Service club. He spent countless hours volunteering for the Jewish community throughout his adult life, most notably Temple Israel and the JCC in Norfolk. At 91 he is one of the most active members of the JCC Seniors club at the Simon Family JCC. Read more.


Jason Hoffman: Mission to Israel a Reaffirmation of Building Community Together
“I was taught by my parents to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I was taught to stand up for what I believe in and be proud of who I am,” says Jason Hoffman, YAD cabinet chair and a recent participant in the UJFT’s Tom Hofheimer Young Leadership Mission to Israel. “But I really didn’t get it and feel it and know why I should play an active part of this Jewish Community and the Federation until a few years ago.” Read more.


A Single Mother in Jerusalem Finds her Gifts
Six years ago, Yael was a young divorcee with two toddlers and no income. She could not keep a job longer than a couple of months. At the employment office, a woman recommended that Yael look into a program called Strive. Read more.

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Discovering and embracing Jewish ancestry in Ukraine
Born and raised in Cherkassy, Ukraine, Alex did not grow up with a strong sense of Jewish identity, although he was aware that he came from a Jewish family. “My parents never told me about the traditions,” he says. Rather, it was his grandparents who informed him that he was Jewish. Read more.

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Embracing Judaism Through PJ Library
When Lauren, who is Jewish, married Mike, who is not, they agreed that they would raise their children in a Jewish household. Still, when their daughter Madeline was born, Lauren was worried. Read more.

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Food, Poetry and Memories Bring Elderly Ukrainians Together
Sarah’s guests, like Sarah herself, are elderly Ukrainian Jews. They sit elbow to elbow at her table, filling the dining room in her single-person apartment. They dress formally, with precise hairstyles and threadbare suits, but the mood is convivial. Although they are mostly in their 80s, they are sturdy and they eat heartily. Read more.

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A young American enjoys the fruits of his labor in Israel
Devin is perched on a hilltop overlooking an organic farm outside of Mount Modi’in. Trim and fit, in shorts and work sneakers, he squints in the bright sunlight. The setting is idyllic: rolling hilltops covered in flowers and grazing animals, valleys interspersed with diverse crops and canvas yurts. Some of the residents here are young Israelis who have come to do a year of service before beginning their army duties; others, like Devin, are recent college graduates from North America, exploring their connection to the land of Israel. Read more.

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Ancient Traditions Meet New Technology
El’ad, about 16 miles from Tel Aviv, is an island of apartment buildings sandwiched between two national forests. What distinguishes it from other planned Israeli cities is its population: the overwhelming majority is Haredi (ultra-Orthodox), a group that has traditionally had difficulty finding affordable living spaces for their large families. To accommodate them, housing here has room for more children, and schools are located closer to residential areas. Buildings are planned so that each apartment has an outdoor space for a sukkah. Read more.


Mina: Small Gifts Have a Big Impact on Her Life
Mina, 85, has lived alone in her apartment in Kiev for 44 years. Her only family, two cousins who live in Israel and California, call her but do not visit often. Yet Mina does not lack companionship, due to her involvement with Chesed. Read more.


 

Jesse: Forging his own connection to Judaism
Jesse describes his pre-teenage self as “the model conservative Jewish young man.” He and his family observed the holidays, went to synagogue, and kept kosher. He and his siblings also attended a Jewish day school until high school. As a teenager, however, he began to slip away from his parents’ ways of feeling Jewish, which mostly revolved around tradition. He stopped keeping kosher. By the time he got to college, he considered himself more of a secular Jew. Read more.


 

Jordan: An Opportunity of a Lifetime.
As Jordan Hytken walks to his job in Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, he thinks about his godparents, who were Holocaust survivors, and his grandfather, who fought in the U.S. Navy during World War II. "To be able to work here is not just an honor for me, but also a way of honoring them," he says. "Everyday I think to myself about how lucky I am to be working here." Read more.


 

Helping People Connect in Meaningful Ways
In 1945, Molly Topper was liberated from Auschwitz. “I was very young when I was taken to the concentration camps. I lost my family, I lost my friends.”

From there she went from refugee camp to refugee camp, lived in Italy for three years and then in Israel for ten years. “It was not an easy life, but thank God we were free.” Read more.


 

A Little Good Can Go a Long Way
Raising a disabled child is never easy, but few people have faced as much adversity as Artem Kenzler, who lives in Rustavi, Georgia, and takes care of his 17-year-old son, also named Artem. He works when he can to support himself and his son, who has Down Syndrome. The two of them have lived alone since a fire destroyed their home and their family. Read more.


 

The Strength of Family. The Support of Community.
Scott and Toni Faerber built a model Jewish family together. Day school, summer camp, family-oriented weekends — "We worked hard and played hard," says Scott. He ran a couple of successful businesses, based, he says "on customer service and a hands-on passion for business." He and Toni successfully imparted their Jewish values to their three children: Zachary, 15, Noah, 12 and Emma, 9. Read more.


 

Nechama: The Woman Whose Work Transformed Her.
Nechama has a husband and six children, and now, thanks to STRIVE, she also has a job. Her parents immigrated to Israel from Iran and settled in Hebron, where she was born. As a teenager, her family moved to Jerusalem where she finished her studies. When she was 22, she met her husband, who was serving in the army at the time. They were married shortly afterwards. Read more.


 

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