Wednesday, February 20, 2019

JDAIM: Meet two immigrants to Israel devoting themselves to those with special needs

During February, Jewish Disabilty Awareness Inclusion Month (JDAIM), and all year round, Jewish National Fund proudly supports efforts to make sure people with special needs and disabilities are fully included in Israeli society.

Beth Steinberg 

Photo: Jared Bernstein 
Beth Steinberg is one of the co-founders and directors of Shutaf Inclusion Programs in Jerusalem. Shutaf, which was founded with another olah from the US, Miriam Avraham, offers innovative and inclusive informal-education programs for children, teens, and young people, with and without disabilities. 

More than 300 participants of all abilities enjoy year-round activities including Camp Shutaf Passover and Camp Shutaf Summer day camps; Young Leadership Program for Teens and Young Adults; 21+ activities for older participants, ages 21-30; Inclusion Education; Parent and family gatherings. Shutaf is a place of complete acceptance and inclusion for all participants of all abilities, and from all cultural backgrounds. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

JDAIM Dvar Torah: Ancient examples of including those with disabilities

During February, Jewish Disabilty Awareness Inclusion Month (JDAIM), and all year round, Jewish National Fund proudly supports efforts to make sure people with special needs and disabilities are fully included in Israeli society.

By Yossi Kahana

Jewish Disabilities Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion Month is a unified effort among Jewish organizations worldwide to raise awareness and foster inclusion of people with disabilities and those who love them. 

JDAIM is observed each February. But the truth is, while it brings the issues of disability inclusion to the forefront, inclusion is something we must focus on all year long. In our quest to include every member of our community, we would do well to pay attention to the following ancient examples of accommodation.

The Torah begins by telling us we are all created in God's image. If everyone is created in the image of God, we have the responsibility to make sure that every single person -- even those who differently abled -- has equal opportunity to participate and feel accepted.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

JDAIM: Israeli man with Asperger's proudly takes on IDF, 'real world'

During February, Jewish Disability Awareness Inclusion Month (JDAIM), and all year round, Jewish National Fund proudly supports efforts to make sure people with special needs and disabilities are fully included in Israeli society.

Hey, everyone. My name is Cori Ashkenazy, and I'm here to tell you my story. It's a unique story, one that I look forward to sharing.

It's the story of my life on the spectrum, my personal journey as a high-functioning individual with Asperger's, and how I was able to deal with my challenges and integrate successfully into the workforce, army, and society, or as they like to say, the "real world."

My journey was fraught with challenges, difficulties and many an obstacle. Yet it was -- and still is -- a journey I believe has the power to inspire others and serve as a model for anyone, from any sector or society, in Israel and around the world.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Meet three inspiring young women Zionists working to protect Israel

In honor of Tu BiShvat, which is January 21, we're profiling three amazing women who proudly serve the land and people of Israel through Hashomer Hachadash, which assists farmers and ranchers faced with challenges in protecting and securing their land. 
Esther and husband, Raz

My name is Esther, and I am 24 years old, married to Raz and living in a community in the northern region of Israel. I grew up most of my life in Manchester, England, in a Zionist home and as an active member of the Bnei Akiva youth movement. 

I always had a deep connection to Israel, and felt as if it was a home away from home. After high school, I decided to take a gap year in a seminary based on a kibbutz in the north. I took part in a program to get the real "Israel experience." 

I thoroughly enjoyed my gap year and bonded with many Israeli girls on the program, which opened my eyes to what I was looking for in terms of my future. I suddenly found it difficult to accept that I was supposed to go back to England and start university, while the Israeli girls on my program were about to get drafted and give two years of their lives defending our country. 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Building Israel and battling terrorism, one tree at a time

Rosaline and Alan Barron, both doctors from Newton, Mass., encourage planting trees
in Israel for Tu BiShvat. 
Alan and Rosaline Barron are kicking off their new JNF-sponsored mission right before the Jewish festival of Tu BiShvat, the "New Year for Trees." It's  time of renewal, and a celebration of nature and the environment. They are encouraging others to do the same. This article originally appeared here

By Marina Brodetsky

For years, Dr. Rosaline Barron woke up every day and asked herself the same question: “What have I done for Israel today?”

Now the recently retired gastroenterologist of Newton, Mass., has an answer -- and it's the same one every day. She's committed to planting a tree in Israel every day for the rest of her life through Jewish National Fund, continuing to help build the land of Israel.

"I can’t yet be there to live and work, but I can commit to Israel with the gift to JNF of planting one tree every day. It’s really a gift to myself,” she said. “By doing this small thing, my husband and I have participated in the ongoing journey to take care of building the land of Israel."

A child of Holocaust survivors, Barron remembers always having a Jewish National Fund Blue Box, or pushke, in the home that served as an inseparable link between Diaspora Jewry and the people of Israel. She and her husband, Alan, a retired internist, honeymooned in Israel and have returned many times, visiting the well-known sites, spending time with family, and yes, planting trees.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

JNF receives Charity Navigator's Highest Rating for 7th Consecutive Year

In a country with 1.5 million American charities, Charity Navigator, America’s leading independent charity evaluator, this month bestowed its seventh consecutive 4-star rating on Jewish National Fund (JNF-USA) for the organization’s strong financial health and a perfect score of 100.00 for commitment to accountability and transparency, placing it in the top 5% in the country.

A Chanukah message of miracles

These remarks were originally delivered  by Steven London, President of the Jewish National Fund in Boston, at the Jewish National Fund Breakfast in Boston on December 3rd. 

At the beginning of this program, we all stood and sang two national anthems, the Star Spangled Banner and Hatikvah.  Hatikvah is a song of hope -- the Jewish people’s 2,000 year old hope to return to the land of Israel.  

Last night, we started our Chanukah celebration. Chanukah is about a miracle.  When the Maccabees reclaimed  our Temple in Jerusalem. And the oil we found for our Menorah  burned for eight days, not just one.  Eight crazy days, as Adam Sandler sings in his Chanukah song.