The Jewish Agency, a major overseas partner agency of Jewish Federations, is talking about a change of paradigm” during the pandemic era. Israel is helping struggling Jewish communities across the Diaspora – instead of the other way around – after initial disbursements from an emergency loan fund helped communities stave off collapse. The Jewish Agency has already provided nearly $10 million in interest-free loans to 23 Jewish communities in Latin America, Europe, the former Soviet Union, New Zealand, and South Africa.
The Jewish Agency for Israel, an organization founded 90 years ago to establish a Jewish state, recently approved four areas of impact: Aliyah (immigration to Israel), ensuring the safety and security of Jewish communities around the world, connecting Jews around the world to Israel and to each other, and representing the voice and influence of the Jewish people in Israel.
Aliyah never stopped during the pandemic and the Jewish Agency is expecting 250,000 Jews to move to Israel over the next 5 years. Such numbers require adaptation and integration from intake in home countries to professional training in Israel. Such high numbers are due to recession, anti-semitism, and the fact that prospective applicants see Israel as a safer place than their home communities.
The Jewish Agency is adapting its resources to continue to connect using technology. Shlichim like Talia in Utah has adapted to this new reality moving cultural events and connections to online platforms. We also notice that due to this environment, Jewish young adults are choosing to spend a gap year in Israel and do an internship. Through Masa, a program of the Jewish Agency, Jews from around the world can spend time in Israel on a long term experience.
As we see a rise in Anti-semitism around the world, the Jewish Agency continues to distribute security grants to vulnerable small Jewish communities around the world. For instance the community Halle, Germany was able to prevent a massacre in October 2019 thanks to grants from the Jewish Agency. Since 2013, the Jewish Agency has distributed over $13 million dollars in grants.
It’s important to keep in mind that all that is described above is thanks to the support of Jewish Federations, the programs would be very different if it was not from the support of Jewish Federations.