On Thursday, May 20, the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond held a Virtual Gathering: “Richmond Stands With Israel,” featuring a number of special speakers including leaders of the JDC, Jewish Agency for Israel and Embassy of Israel, as well as some Israeli friends, an RTA student and local Jewish community leaders.
Federation President Ellen Renee Adams welcomed the more than 250 online attendees.
“The last 10 days have been a rollercoaster of emotion and like so many, my heart aches,” Adams said. “Every rocket fired and innocent life lost – Israeli and Arab – hurts to my core. The relentless rocket attacks from terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip have caused millions of adults and children, to live in fear, and race for shelter each time the sirens sounds.”
The Federation leader continued, “Today we gather in solidarity with the people of Israel. Recognizing that we are one Jewish community, regardless of distance; we are family. I am grateful to our partners who have joined us in making this program happen. Richmond is a special place and we are grateful for each of you and the critical role you play in our Jewish world.
“I would like to specifically thank the Embassy of Israel, JDC and Jewish Agency for Israel for all their work over the past days supporting those most impacted in Israel and for their ongoing partnership.”
The other speakers were:
- Mark Sisisky, President, American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee and longtime Richmond leader;
- Reut Rabinovitch, speaking from her home in Israel with a personal story;
- Amy Melnick-Scharf, Chair of the Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Committee;
- Benjamin Krasna, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Israel;
- Michael Siegel, Chairman of the Board, Jewish Agency for Israel;
- Ofir Yasur, a Shishin – young Emissary in Baltimore who grew up in Sderot, near the border with Gaza;
- Orly Lewis, CEO, Weinstein JCC
- Rabbi Hal Schevitz, Chair of Richmond Rabbinic Council
- Dani Plotnick, 7th Grade Student from Rudlin Torah Academy, who read “The Prayer for Israel”
- Daniel Staffenberg, CEO, JCFR, Closing Message.
View a recording of the unique online gathering.
You can help the people of Israel Today
Whenever there are Jews in need, the Jewish Federation is here to help.
Amidst rocket attacks and social unrest, tragic losses of life, and widespread safety concerns throughout Israel, Federation partners have responded during the recent conflict. Our international agencies have focused on their core competencies to meet the needs of those who have been impacted from the extensive fighting Israel witnessed in the weeks in May impacted by Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist rocked attacks.
The needs are ongoing including trauma care for families who were under rocket attack; trauma care for first responders coming off of the Meron disaster and then dealing with the wave of terror a few weeks later; psychological services for new immigrants and for residents and staff of Jewish Agency Absorption Centers; emergency aid to families of those killed and injured from rocket attacks; the delivery of emergency social services to vulnerable populations including those with disabilities, Holocaust survivors and at-risk families unable to work due to school closures and travel safety concerns; and support services for the 7000+ young Jewish adults from around the world currently in Israel for MASA immersive Israel experiences.
Our Federation has joined communities all over the country in a national effort to provide critical support to the most vulnerable and impacted in Israel by launching the Jewish Community Federation of Richmond Israel Emergency Relief Fund.
Note -100% of every dollar raised will be used to support our family in Israel. Your support helps our partners on the ground to address the greatest needs.
Some of these include:
- The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee’s (JDC) additional support to the poorest and most at-risk children and families who were unable to work due to school closures and travel safety concerns.
- Jewish Agency For Israel (JAFI) for extra support to replenish the Victims of Terror Fund that provides immediate cash relief to victims and their families within 24 hours after an attack.
- JAFI to work with the recently arrived Ethiopian Olim who are experiencing great trauma from this violence.
- JAFI to support the MASA students who have just arrived in the country, and
- JAFI to support for the Israel Trauma Coalition, which is mobilizing again along with all the demands they recently faced during the ongoing COVID crisis.
To donate to the Israel Emergency Relief Fund today, visit: https://jewishrichmond.givingfuel.com/jcfrisraelrelieffund