The Jewish Federations of North America is a collection of American Jewish organizations. Today the organization represents 151 Jewish Federations and 300 different Jewish communities throughout North America. This post looks at the history and philosophy of the Jewish Federations of North America as well as the many ways the organization has positively impacted the world.
The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) formed when the United Jewish Appeal (UJA), Council of Jewish Federations, and the United Israel Appeal merged. The UJA, which formed in 1939, was an umbrella organization that was similar to the current JFNA. In 1999 the UJA decided to combine with the Council of Jewish Federations and United Israel Appeal. As a result of the merger, the organization is able to raise more than $900 million each year with its Annual Campaign.
Making A Difference
The JFNA has a variety of programs aimed at helping others throughout the entire world. Below are three examples of how the organization makes a difference.
- Crisis Relief – The JFNA pledges to help communities deal with different crises all over the world. In 2014 the organization raised $55 million to provide support for Israeli citizens living in conflict zones. That same year Russian military intervention affected the lives of many elderly Jews and children living in the Ukraine. The JFNA provided aid and helped the Ukrainians with a desire to move to Israel.
- Jewish Life – Helping connect Jews of all ages is an important aspect of the JFNA’s work. Some of its programs include summer camps for teens, PJ Library books for young children, and senior companionship programs at local community centers. These and similar programs help strengthen Jewish communities.
- Jewish Leadership – Leadership skills are essential to success in today’s world. The JFNA offers different volunteer opportunities so that people of all ages have the opportunity to develop their leadership ability. In addition to volunteer opportunities, JFNA also offers workshops and conferences where leaders can develop their existing skills and learn new ones.
How You Can Get Involved
Donating to your local community is one of the easiest ways to get involved with the JFNA. If you really want to make a difference, though, you should consider donating your time through volunteering. Your local Jewish Federation likely has a number of activities that you can get involved in. Visit this page to find your local Federation. The JFNA also offers programs that specifically focus on women philanthropists, including the Lions of Judah Conference that takes place every two years.