What is Global Connections?
Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ’s commitment to maintaining the vibrancy and continuity of our people worldwide will be stronger, clearer, and more streamlined as our Israel Center becomes a new department, Global Connections: Israel, Greater MetroWest, and the World. This new structure will focus on our values of Zionism, Peoplehood, and Innovation. It will help us consolidate related activities, identify needs and opportunities in Israel and around the world, and drive our overall agenda. It will also help us continually give the community a clear sense of the depth and breadth of what we do, and how they can get involved in a meaningful way.
Throughout our history, our traditions have taught us that it is the responsibility of our people to remain united in spirit despite the great distance separating us. Our Federation, through its Israel Center, has always been at the forefront of promoting this concept by creating living bridges, awakening a sense of a united peoplehood, and mobilizing support of our fellow Jews in times of crisis.
We have seven partnership communities throughout Israel, a sister community in Ukraine, and a delegation of 10 Shlichim (young emissaries from Israel) to enhance Israel Engagement in our community. Plus we offer an extensive selection of programs to get people of all ages engaged overseas.
The department is being built upon four “platforms,” or subgroups, each focusing on a different aspect of our work. “We are a people living in the four corners of the earth,” says Gary Aidekman, chair of the Diaspora platform. “Critical to our peoplehood are the connections we build with Jews wherever they live.”
The platforms are as follows:
- Jewish Diaspora (Yama) focuses on our overseas connections and taking care of Jews around the world. This group will enrich our partnership with the Jewish community in Cherkassy, Ukraine; further our relationships in Odessa; implement new overseas relationships; and continue to support the work of our international partners, including the Jewish Agency for Israel, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, and others. “Today, amidst rising global anti-Semitism, the choice to remain Jewish in a hostile environment can be exceedingly difficult. Through our Yama platform we will facilitate our Greater MetroWest community’s connection with and support of (spiritual, emotional and financial) our fellow Diaspora communities,” says Carol Simon, deputy chair of Yama.
- Israeli Shared Society (Kedma) supports our vision of a civil society in Israel. This group will promote religious pluralism and Jewish identity projects, support Arab Israelis through shared programming, continue our work in helping the Ethiopian/Israeli population assimilate into mainstream society, support at-risk children, advocate for civil society endeavors throughout Israel, and much more., based on religious pluralism, equal rights for all, peace and security. According to Kedma chair Joyce Goldstien, “Kedma is a platform of understanding, of dialogue, and of working with partners to strengthen Israel… and in today’s world it is sorely needed.”
- Israel Engagement (Tsafona) brings Israel to our own Greater MetroWest community in New Jersey by providing a variety of opportunities to build bridges. We will offer a variety of educational opportunities for all ages to travel to and experience Israel; make available the largest delegation of shlichim (young Israeli emissaries) to our schools, synagogues, colleges, and community centers; hold community-wide celebrations of Israel; and much more. “Tsafona will focus on the critical task of connecting the next generation of our Jewish community to their Israeli roots – giving them a true sense of all that Israel is and stands for. By bringing Israelis here and by sending members of our community there, we are also facilitating important, life-long relationships,” explains chair Stephanie Sherman.
- Negev Operations (Negba) develops our vibrant partnerships within this desert region in the southern part of Israel. “In 1955 David Ben Gurion challenged the people of Israel to develop the Negev and make it flourish,” says platform chair Lori Klinghoffer, “and we have taken that challenge seriously. For the past 20 years, Greater MetroWest has been the lead Federation fulfilling that dream.” Through Negba, we will strengthen our community partnerships in the region, including Ofakim/Merchavim, Arad, and Kibbutz Erez; maintain capital projects to further economic development in the region; monitor social service programs we support; and much more.
The restructuring is completed. The platforms are built. The work to be done is exciting, important, and plentiful. The leadership is in place and has hit the ground running. Now we need caring members of our community to join us in the meaningful work of Global Connections.
If you are interested in Global Connections and would like to learn more about how to get involved, you are welcome to join us at our launch event on Monday, November 2 at 6 p.m. at the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus, 901 Route 10 in Whippany. Click here to register. For more information, contact Stephanie Brand at email@example.com or call (973) 929-3176.