On July 23 the JDC Ambassadors Circle held a Global Symposium lunch in New York. Among those who attended the event was Lee Livingston, President of the Jewish Federation of Greater Middlesex County in New Jersey. In his most recent blog post, he reflects upon the experience and JDC's impact on Jewish communities around the world.
A Few Words from Our President
Last week, with a few other members of our community, I had the pleasure to attend a meeting at the American Joint Distribution Committee office in New York. My Rabbi, Bennett Miller, always says that the people who work at the Joint are the, "true heroes of the Jewish people." Everything I have witnessed around the world ceratinly bears truth to that statement. In Cuba I saw how a young couple from Argentina, Ivan and Cynthia, almost single handedly rebuilt the Cuban-Jewish community. In the Ukraine I saw elderly Jews who would starve to death if not for the food distribution work done by the Joint. I saw stroke victims who would never get out of bed if not for visits from the Joint. There are more than 500,000 Jews in the FSU who are reached by services of the Joint.
Everywhere I have been in the world, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the FSU, Israel - the folks of the Joint are working as the on-the-ground representative of us all.
In Israel, the Joint works to improve services and enrich the lives of the country's most vulnerable population. There are 300,000 "at risk" children in Israel. We heard how several "Joint" initiated programs are now run by the government, allowing the Joint to move on to other projects.
Even in such unlikely places as Zimbabwe or Myanmar the Joint has a presence. Wherever there is a Jewish community in distress, regardless of its size, the Joint will respond. The Joint has a presence in 70 countries around the world. Its budget is roughly divided as follows: 40% in the FSU; 40% in Israel, and the remaing 20% in the rest of the world.
Our Federation is proud to support the efforts of the Joint through our Federation/United Jewish Communities system.