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Helping Families Return to Normal: CJP’s Israel in Crisis Fund

December 10, 2013

CJP's recent Israel in Crisis Fund raised more than $335,000 from generous donors. While we are continuing to plan the most effective use of these funds, we sent $100,000 in immediate aid to ensure that those most vulnerable—children, the elderly, and people with disabilities—had their needs met while rocket attacks were ongoing.

Our partners, the American Jewish Distribution Committee (JDC), provided a report (excerpted below) on how your gifts are helping them respond to the needs of families near the strike zone as they begin to heal from trauma.

Israelis Caught in the Conflict

During the eight days of Operation Pillar of Defense, JDC’s team in Israel worked in partnership with government agencies and NGO’s to address the needs of vulnerable Israelis caught in the conflict.

Many of the programs that JDC supports for elderly and disabled Israelis, as well as all schools within a 40-kilometer range of Gaza, closed for the duration of the Operation. CJP support helped JDC to launch a range of programs to help serve Israelis whose everyday routines were thrown into havoc. 

Immediate Aid for the Most Vulnerable

Over the first few days of the conflict, 3,000 emergency kits including a flashlight, a transistor radio, batteries, a first aid kit, a small fleece blanket and bottled water were distributed to the elderly and to people with disabilities who live within seven kilometers of Gaza.

The JDC also turned a local day center "canteen" program for the elderly into a temporary "meals on wheels" program and delivered hot lunch to 500 recipients in their homes.

Schools within 40 kilometers of Gaza were closed, forcing children to spend prolonged periods of time in public shelters. The JDC coordinated more than 1,000 volunteers to run programs for children and provided 500 activity kits that include arts and crafts materials, games and other supplies. An additional 300 specialized activity kits have been distributed to special needs children for use at home.

Respite from the Rockets

Respites help residents have a moment of calm by moving them out of harm’s way and allowing them to disconnect—even for a short while—from the ongoing distress of living in the conflict zone.

300 people with disabilities spent a day of respite outside the conflict zone, thanks to this funding which allowed JDC to cover their transportation costs.

A one-day respite allowed 150 disabled and able-bodied Bedouin children and youth to enjoy a guided tour of the ancient city of Acco, where they went sailing and ate lunch together.

Addressing the Post-Conflict Needs of Israelis in Southern Israel

Programs for children, elderly and disabled Israelis will include resilience and post-trauma workshops for those living in the conflict zone, so they can cope with the traumas they experienced and gain the strength needed to continue their daily lives.

Fortified Community Centers

In addition, JDC seeks to fortify day centers and Centers for Independent Living, so they can continue to operate during future conflicts. JDC is also seeking funding to purchase fortified vehicles to transport the elderly and the disabled to and from the programs.

More Services for People with Disabilities

JDC is also seeking to expand the existing infrastructure of Accessible Communities for the Disabled, for initiatives to support psychiatrically challenged Israelis and for the hearing impaired, as well as for programs that address the needs of developmentally challenged Israelis in times of emergency.

Employment programs and training for people in the affected areas will include consultations for small businesses, a manual for working during emergencies, and scholarships for continuing studies.