In a profound shift from the status quo, 18 Israeli funders have come together to donate $100,000 to a project purchasing and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) to North American Jewish human services agencies responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Israelis, a combination of individual philanthropists and foundations, are members of Jewish Funders Network-Israel, which has grown over the past 11 years to become a community of Israeli funders who aim to expand their impact through partnerships and strategic giving. As members of the international network of JFN they are fostering a new relationship between Israeli and Jewish funders.
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The 18 Israelis are giving the money to Pledge to Protect to help procure much-needed equipment for Jewish nursing homes, hospices, home care and other social service providers. A partnership of the Jewish Funders Network, Jewish Federations of North America and Kahal/The North American Volunteer Network, Pledge to Protect has disbursed more than three million masks, two million gloves and one million isolation gowns to 200 facilities across North America.
In this open letter to Pledge to Protect’s partners, they explained why they are making this gift:
May 19, 2020
Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh B’ Zeh (Babylonian Talmud, Shevuot 39b)
It’s one of the fundamental principles that has shaped Israel’s relationship with Jews around the world.
As Israelis, we have been heartened to see how throughout the years and in our darkest hours, North American Jewry have been there for us.
This support from you, our North American Jewish brothers and sisters, has been a lifeline and a blessing. We also feel blessed that through this partnership Israel has grown. The unique bond has fostered entrepreneurship and a strong economy, and with the support of organizations such as JFN Israel we have become a more independent and mature community of Israeli philanthropists.
Now, for the first time since Israel’s founding, North American Jews and Israelis are affected simultaneously by the same crisis: COVID-19. The pandemic is a great equalizer: We’re all spending way too much time inside our homes, and, for many, in hospitals. We are all also worried about the economic and social impacts, both locally and globally.
At this point, the situation is considerably worse in the United States than it is in Israel, especially in many of the major metropolitan areas where most North American Jews live, with none harder hit than New York City. We see how some of your community’s greatest strengths – close-knit communities, services for the most vulnerable populations – have unfortunately become paths through which this pandemic has spread. Making matters worse, in North America hundreds of nursing homes, eldercare facilities, hospice centers and other Jewish healthcare and human service providers are suffering from a severe shortage of personal protective equipment, like masks and gowns.
As Israelis we could not stand by idly while we saw how the Covid-19 crisis is affecting you, our family and community. As a result, 18 of us came together and raised $100,000 for Pledge to Protect, the joint effort to purchase personal protective equipment for Jewish social service providers, including nursing homes.
Ours is a humble contribution. It’s a tiny percentage of what is needed and it pales in comparison to the amount of money that flows in the other direction from the United States and Canada to Israel.
But with our contribution, we hope we are making a statement. We think about you. We care about you. We are in this together.
Alex Greenbaum and Yoav Weinberg (Tel Aviv) (Organizers of this fundraising effort)
Jason Arison (Tel Aviv)
Abbi and Meir Adest (Modiin)
Avia and Daniel Farber (Jerusalem)
Gandyr Foundation (Herzliya)
Leelah and Joseph Gitler (Ra'anana)
Daniel Goldman (Beit Shemesh)
Tamar and Jonathan Koschitzky (Ra'anana)
Miki Lion (Tel Aviv)
Maor Foundation (Jerusalem)
Eti and Avi Naor (Savyon)
Dafna Meitar Nechmad (Tel-Aviv)
Terry Newman (Tel Aviv)
Ibrahim Nsasra (Lakiya)
Rabbi Susan Silverman and Yosef Abramowitz (Jerusalem)
Nancy and Ofer Strichman (Kiryat Tivon)
Sasha and Yoni Weiss (Ra’anana)