This year, your Charleston Jewish Federation has decided to become more involved in “home-grown” organizations in Israel that further social and educational goals. This year we allocated funds to six diverse organizations. Find below a description of the organization and the specific program we will participate in financially this year. We are currently seeking volunteers for Hiddush and Hamidrasha. If one of these programs sparks your interest, please contact Erin Boynton to learn more or become a liaison between our community and the organization.
HaMidrasha, Drachim Foundation- Educational Center for Jewish-Zionist-Pioneering Leadership Training:
About us: Drachim is the educational platform for the training of pioneering Zionist Jewish leaders, founded by HaMidrasha at Oranim, the educational center for the renewal of Jewish life in Israel. Drachim, through HeChalutz, offers a wide variety of educational programs for young adults 18–35 years old. Our programs encourage participants to be engaged citizens and become leaders in the IDF, the civil service, the school system, municipal government, the nonprofit sector, and a variety of other influential and socially engaged positions, as well as to put vision into practice as members of communities that provide a common launching point for meaningful action and social life that produce change.
CJF Sponsored Program: “Seeds of Partnership” program is designed to be a leadership program for young Jewish and Arab adults, who wish to influence the Israeli society towards social change, by increasing the tolerance and the equal opportunities that are available for Jewish and Arab citizens, by empowering disadvantaged populations in these sectors and within the pluralistic and public space. Participants will work together to combat racism and discrimination and promote a just and equal society, via a Jewish-Arab partnership.
Our vision for this program is to train a solid group of young Jewish and Arab leaders, who will eventually demonstrate leadership abilities and practice them through social arenas such as the public sector, in politics, the education system and in the civil society.
About us: Hiddush is committed to the advancement of “freedom of religion and conscience” and “full social and political equality without distinction based on religion”, as promised in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. Hiddush believes that fully realizing the promise of religious freedom and pluralism will strengthen Israel both as a democracy and as a Jewish state that will bolster Jewish Peoplehood and Israel/Diaspora relationships.
CJF Sponsored Program: The work of the Legal Department, which is led by a full-time attorney with the assistance and consultation of Hiddush’ CEO, (he, himself is well-known and well-regarded for his decades-long legal advocacy) will continue to address issues that impact, not only individuals and organizations, but the entirety of Israeli society. Using the legal tools available, the Department will litigate, negotiate when litigation is not necessary, and gather information for public advocacy through Freedom of Information petitions. As has been done over the years, the department will prepare opinions to be presented to Knesset and government committees. Using legal expertise, information will also be shared in the media and in public forums. It is important to note, that, in many of our efforts, we join with other organizations, which strengthens the presentation of their advocacy.
About us: Our mission is to support people affected by humanitarian crisis. We partner with local communities around the world to provide urgent aid, assist recovery, and reduce the risk of future disasters. Founded in 2001, IsraAID is an Israel-based international non-governmental organization. Since its inception, IsraAID has worked in emergency and long-term development settings in 50+ countries. Drawing on an extensive roster of leading Israeli and international experts, the organization is in a unique position to design and implement high-quality, cost-effective and innovative programming that fully reflects the immediate and long-term needs of populations affected by disasters worldwide.
CJF Sponsored Program: IsraAID’s team on Lesbos continues to provide support for refugees living in camps, and is ramping up its efforts amid the drastic shift in need—especially in the winter months. IsraAID works with our local Greek partners on the ground, to provide urgent support and education servies to residents of the largest refugee camp on the island, Moria Camp. Through this partnership, IsraAID provides a suite of psychosocial and educational programs in a safe, communal space just steps away from the chaos and violence within the refugee camp
About us: ITIM is committed to increasing participation in Jewish life by making Israel’s religious establishment respectful of, and responsive to, the diverse Jewish needs of the Jewish people.
In recent years, Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, Interior Ministry, and other government authorities headed by ultra-Orthodox political leaders have taken exclusionary and, at times, discriminatory approaches to the question, “Who is a Jew?” They have increasingly required citizens—particularly immigrants from the former Soviet Union—to meet unrealistic requirements to prove their Jewish identities so they can marry in State-sanctioned weddings, have undertaken unwarranted investigations into their Jewish identities (approximately 5,000 each year), have required DNA testing to prove their Jewish identities, and more. ITIM has been working diligently to curb these activities through increased public awareness, public policy reforms, and legal activities.
CJF Sponsored Program: Funds from the Charleston Jewish Federation will be sued to support our legal work in this area. Federation support enables us to provide legal representation to eight families facing State rabbinical court Jewish identity investigations, and another eight families whose official Jewish status the Interior Ministry is threatening to revoke. In addition, it enables our legal team to provide procedural assistance to ten callers to our Assistance Center hotline who are facing Jewish identity investigations or Jewish status revocations, and who will benefit from modest legal intervention before the rabbinical courts. This work would defend the civil rights and restore the pride and dignity of immigrants and their families, and would set important precedents for limiting these civil rights violations in the future.
About us: Based on values of openness, inclusion, and egalitarianism, and imbued with traditional practice and Jewish values, the Masorti Movement works towards creating and providing opportunities for Jews to live Jewish lives in Israel unhindered, and on their own terms, within the framework of Conservative/Masorti Judaism
CJF Sponsored Program: Jewish enrichment, training, and practice for Bar or Bat Mitzvah students are seldom designed for children with disabilities, either physical or intellectual. Masorti's Adraba Center for People with Disabilities operates Israel’s only national B'nei Mitzvah program for children with disabilities in 40 Special Education Schools throughout the country, offering a meaningful educational process during the Bar/Bat Mitzvah year. Over the last 23 years, more than 4,800 B’nei and B’not Mitzvah students in Special Education schools, and their families, have celebrated Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies through this program. The Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies take place in the Masorti congregation where the school is located. In addition, we offer support services for parents participating in the program regarding the Bar/Bat Mitzvah process and its meaning for both their children and themselves.
About us: ORT’s mission is to work for the advancement of Jewish people through training and education; to provide communities wherever they are, with the skills and knowledge necessary to cope with the complexities and uncertainties of their environment; to foster economic self-sufficiency, mobility and a sense of identity through use of state-of-the-art technology. Through International Cooperation programs, ORT supports nonsectarian economic and social development in under-developed parts of the world, with vocational training and the provision of technical assistance.
CJF Sponsored Program: Kfar Silver Youth Village was founded 60 years ago in southern Israel to serve as an educational and agricultural home for children who had just made Aliyah and were still arriving from the Diaspora, after the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Kfar Silver Youth Village provides a high level of education and social support to Israel’s most at-risk students—ensuring they receive the necessary support to reach their full potential. A majority of students come to Kfar Silver from low socio-economic backgrounds and single parent households, and many struggle with emotional and mental health challenges. These students take part in the highly regarded Naale program, designed to ensure successful integration into school with classes taught in students’ native languages. A small number of Bedouins from the Negev also live in the Village.
World ORT Kadima Mada’s educational and support services are transforming the lives of Kfar Silver students. The staff work closely with students, empowering them to recognize their abilities and strengths and become contributing members of Israeli society.