16 July 2021
Last week, I reflected on my hope that some of the changes brought about by the pandemic are here to stay. I’ve continued to consider the potential implications of these changes and how we can use them to make a positive impact. While we have spent much of the last year and a half intensely focused on the needs closest to home, we must also remember our important work with and responsibility to the global Jewish community. Even as technology decreased geographic boundaries, it was easy to become hyper-focused on our local community. Our long-standing partnership with JDC (the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee) is one way we extend our assistance to the Jewish community in more far-flung regions of the world.
For those unfamiliar with JDC, this 107-year-old humanitarian assistance organization works to alleviate suffering and strengthen Jewish life in more than 70 countries. The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and federations across North America partner with JDC to ensure our local communities can help meaningfully care for Jews in need around the world.
Like most organizations, including ours, JDC retooled its operations during the pandemic to continue crucial ongoing efforts and respond to new and changing needs. Its support of Jewish communities around the world includes work in the former Soviet Union (FSU), caring for impoverished seniors, poor families, and children with disabilities. JDC ensures those in need can access food, medicine and medical care, home care, as well as social programs to combat isolation and provide intellectual stimulation. Our communal support helps ensure this work continues uninterrupted, even by a global crisis.
JDC also assists with rebuilding Jewish identity and life around the world—including in the FSU, where it was decimated during the Soviet era. Today, it supports youth networks and clubs that sponsor rich Jewish programming; helps build a culture of volunteerism; and is heavily involved in leadership training to foster the next generation of Jewish communal leaders.
Here at Federation, we are so proud of the work JDC is doing around the world and of our partnership with them. Though the pandemic certainly turned much of our focus inward, our community can take pride in knowing we are collectively addressing the needs of our global Jewish community. As the Talmud tell us: Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh. All of Israel is responsible for one another. JDC and its collaborators turn that directive into action.
P.S. Our global connections veer a little closer to home this weekend! We’re excited to welcome the Israel National Baseball Team to Greater Washington on their way to the Tokyo Olympics. Federation is proud to co-sponsor the team’s friendship game with Bethesda Big Train at Shirley Povich Field on Sunday night, July 18th, in front of a sold-out crowd. (The game will begin at 9:13 PM, following the conclusion of Tisha B’Av.) For more information, click here