These agricultural volunteers are clearly enjoying their tasks. Photo courtesy of HaShomer HaChadash Photo courtesy of HaShomer HaChadash
HaShomer HaChadash

The donations of North American Jews to Jewish organizations have been the highest in 50 years and are essential for helping Israel emerge from its national crisis. 

By Shula Rosen

Since October 7th, philanthropy has supplemented government funding required to support industries, communities, and individuals affected by the war, and US donors have provided at least $800 million so far.

The donations of North American Jews to Jewish organizations have been the highest in 50 years and are essential for helping Israel emerge from its national crisis.

Israel Emergency Allocations Committee is an umbrella organization of the Jewish Federations of North America and includes representatives of many groups.

The Committee has 18 employees in Israel who review applications and accept them based on how well they fit into at least one of four categories: lifeline or emergency needs; mental health and trauma; economic aid; and community resilience and rebuilding.

Jeff Schoenfeld, who is the head of the Israel Emergency Allocations Committee, acknowledged that the committee is successfully filling in funding gaps left by government allocations.

Schoenfeld told JTA, “It’s very clear that American Jewish philanthropy has been the entire human support system for Israel since Oct. 7.”

One of the crucial areas of funding is replacing farm equipment destroyed by Hamas during its invasion of Southern Israel, and since planting season is in April, time is of the essence.

The estimated cost of farm equipment is $25 million, of which half will come from insurance and the other half will be covered by the Israel Emergency Allocations Committee.

Schoenfeld said, “There is no greater call on government resources than supporting agriculture, which is the primary business in these communities in the south.”

The Israeli government is funding the needs of residents who live up to seven kilometers from the border with Gaza, and US philanthropy is supporting those who live eight, nine, or ten kilometers from the border.

In addition, the Committee is picking up costs left from Ministry of Health funding for soldiers who face trauma after the war and are looking for ways to integrate back into society as well as the many thousands of Israelis who have been displaced from their homes.

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