Rescue & Non-Sectarian Relief

JFNA, the Jewish Federations, and their overseas beneficiaries work with a broad set of national and international institutes that span the world to provide relief, rescue, and reconstruction. The Federation system is dedicated to inspiring community members to secure the financial and human resources necessary to achieve the mission of caring for those in need, without discrimination. That includes supporting victims of natural disasters and assisting refugees from war-torn countries.


Federation donors provide assistance to victims of natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes through JFNA rescue and relief mailboxes.


The Federation-supported JFNA Kosovo Relief Fund which raised $3.5 million provided humanitarian relief for Kosovar refugees, helped repair and reopen 15 elementary schools, and distributed posters warning children about the dangers of landmines. Through the Jewish Agency for Israel. JFNA provided resettlement and relief, including 11 planeloads of goods: 100 tons of medicine, blankets, tents, clothing and other basics.


In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee with support from Federations rescued more than 2,100 Jews, Muslims and Christians from war-torn Sarajevo. Thousands of food packages and 60% of the available medications were distributed free of charge on a non-sectarian basis by the Federation-supported Sarajevo Jewish community. In Albania, Federation support enabled one of the few winterized refugee camps to house the conflict's most vulnerable refugees, and provided bedding and mattresses to 23,000 refugees, recreational kits for over 10,000 children, and arranged for the services of physicians and nurses.


In Ethiopia, the JDC, with funds provided by the Federation system, provided full-scale medical, social and educational services to 15,000 Jews in Addis Ababa, maintaining their health and morale until they were airlifted to Israel by JAFI’s 1999 Operation Solomon. In 1999, JAFI brought 2,300 more Ethiopian Jews, 1,400 from Quara, to Israel, all supported by Jewish Federations.


In the former Soviet Union, over 205,000 needy elderly are receiving some kind of assistance from the Federations of North America through JDC. In 1999, JDC delivered more than 960,000 food packages, provided four million hot meals, supplied 44,000 clients with fuel, clothing and blankets, loaned more than 26,000 pieces of medical equipment, and mobilized nearly 10,500 welfare volunteers.


In Morocco, through JDC, the UJA Federation Annual Campaign of Jewish Federations of North America provides food, clothing, shelter, health care, and Jewish cultural and recreational activities to the most vulnerable of Morocco’s Jews.


In 1999, 411 young Jews from war-ravaged Yugoslavia participated in a two-week pilot trip to Israel developed by JAFI, with funds from Federations. Participants were invited to remain in Israel while exploring study opportunities and immigration options. 135 chose to stay.