Updated: Oct 9
Yesterday, November 7, 2023, on the Jewish holiday of Simchat Torah in Israel, at around 6:00am, hundreds of Hamas Palestinian terrorists infiltrated Israel from Gaza, by sea, air and land, tearing down border fences and entering Israeli towns in the region in vehicles and on foot. (See our update here).
The Tallahassee Jewish Federation and all members of the Jewish Federations of North America stand in total and complete solidarity with Israel. JFNA and local federations are working closely with our partners on the ground and have opened an emergency fund to support these efforts.
Donation through Tallahassee Jewish Federation here.
Here is an overview of how your dollars will help:
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC): JDC immediately activated their emergency response team and protocols across Israel. In the south of the country, they have widespread, existing operations and programs providing support to those in the line of fire, including elderly, people with disabilities, children and families at risk, and other vulnerable populations adversely impacted during this war and in past conflicts. They will conduct ongoing assessments of emerging needs and deploy interventions to address them. About fifty JDC staff live in the Southern region, including ten on the border.
The Jewish Agency for Israel: The Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror (FVOT) is the first responder in the recovery process of families and individuals who have been impacted by acts of terror and violence, providing immediate grants to assist victims, as needed, within 48 hours of an attack. The Agency estimates that it will need to provide at least 350 short term grants and 750 long term grants.
There are currently 3,856 new olim living in twelve Jewish Agency absorption centers in the region under rocket threat. The overwhelming majority are new olim from Ethiopia, Ukraine and Russia. Yesterday, a rocket landed close enough to the Barnea Absorption center that damage was done to the building and one of the apartments had to be evacuated (that same absorption center had a rocket fall in its parking lot in May of 2021). The Jewish Agency plans to take 2,000 olim from those absorption centers for a five-day respite period to allow residents to sleep through the night without fear of running all night and day to shelters. For those olim who do not want to leave their homes, the Jewish Agency will provide respite activities within the absorption centers for children and teenagers.
There are currently 2,700 residents of Amigour elderly care facilities in Israel's South, in sheltered housing units which makes it possible for them to remain in their homes during rocket attacks from Gaza. However, because of the age of the residents, they must remain in their homes to be close to shelters and cannot leave to procure groceries and other household items. Amigour is providing all of the basic necessities directly to its residents.
The Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC): Residents of Southern Israel including ITC Resilience center teams have been following the directives of the Home Front Command and remain in their homes. As a result, trauma services are being provided remotely including through hot lines, with therapists taking calls.
ITC says they are preparing for hundreds of families dealing with funerals and thousands of wounded.
Communication problems, with lines down, is exacerbating the problem with people scrambling to find information about their loved ones. With a national call up of reserves, many wives and children have been left alone to cope with the situation. A center has been opened in Ramle to deal with victim’s identifications, and police are calling on families with missing family members to go to their local police stations with photos and DNA samples of their missing relatives.
ITC says they are witnessing tremendous distress among First Responders, and emergency volunteer teams especially in areas where infiltrations occurred. In addition, numerous paramedics have been killed or injured.
World ORT: Most students at the Kfar Silver Youth Village were home for the holiday and were not in the region. ORT was able to evacuate the village’s remaining Na’ale students and shinshinim and staff to the country’s north. A small number of staff remain in the village to care for the animals.