Israel has been on my mind more than usual these days. Yes, I’m the CEO of a Jewish organization that cares deeply about Israel. And that’s a good thing.
Last month, Jewish Federation & Family Services partnered with the Merage JCC to showcase three Israeli humanitarian organizations in order to learn about the impact each is making – not only in Israel but also around the world.
• Tikkun Olam Makers: TOM, a project of Reut Group in Tel Aviv, connects makers, designers, developers and engineers all around the world with people with disabilities to develop affordable technological solutions for everyday challenges.
• IsraAID is an Israeli-based humanitarian aid agency that responds to emergency crises, providing the support needed to move from destruction to reconstruction, and engages in international development around the world.
• Save a Child’s Heart provides urgently needed pediatric heart surgery and cardiac care for indigent children from developing countries, literally saving children’s lives – regardless of race, religion, sex, color, or financial status – at Israeli medical facilities or on missions around the world.
These humanitarian organizations are wonderful examples of Israel’s strength in science, technology and innovation. However, more importantly, they are examples of Israel bringing the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repair of the world) to life.
Just before Passover, I got to be part of a special celebration for the opening of the Witte Youth Center in Kiryat Malachi, our Israeli sister city. For over 23 years, Orange County has partnered with Kiryat Malachi and the surrounding region of Ashkelon Coast, an economically-challenged area of southern Israel. We’ve strengthened bomb shelters, provided equipment for youth computer training, and renovated a science center. Our community brings teens and young adults from Kiryat Malachi to Orange County to serve as camp counselors and for internships. We also help Orange County youth create b’nai mitzvah projects benefiting Kiryat Malachi.
Jewish Federation & Family Services is committed to bringing Israel to Orange County, and bringing Orange County to Israel. In addition to the projects we support in Israel, we support Israel-related programs here in Orange County, including Birthright Israel, The Rose Project of Jewish Federation & Family Services, and next month’s Celebrate Israel. I hope you will join me at Celebrate Israel on May 7th to get your own taste of Israel right here in Orange County. Presented in partnership with the Merage JCC, there will be something for everyone: seminars and documentaries about Israel, a family-friendly carnival with games and food, and a concert by Israeli superstar David Broza. Learn more HERE.