Today's visit to Afula to learn about the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) program’s Springboard and Neurim, for Ethiopian teens and their families was thought-provoking, enlightening and uplifting. First, it made me focus on the different role the military plays in the US and Israel and how the culture of each country is affected. That led to the realization of the special significance of the JDC Neurim program. It is not just a "save a soul "activity, which could be accomplished with other types of tzedakah. Rather, this is a means of putting the imprimatur of the state of Israel on the Ethiopian teenager who would otherwise have been an outcast in society. It normalizes the teenager by allowing him or her to succeed in the great Israeli equalizer, the Israel Defense Force (IDF). The program provides support and gives them a chance to maximize their skills and talents. Federation's support for this program has made me even more proud to be a Federation supporter.
Rhea Schwartz, Heart to Heart mission participant
Please click here to learn about the Etgarim program from mission participant Leslie Kaplan.