Our Partnerships in Israel
Our Miami Jewish community works directly with three Israeli communities: Yerucham and Or Akiva. Each of these cities has its own strengths and challenges, and each represents a different aspect of Federation’s involvement in Israel and our commitment to the people of our spiritual homeland.
For the past 10 years, the Miami Jewish community and the city of Yerucham have had a special partnership under The Jewish Agency’s Partnership 2Gether platform. Located in the Negev desert, and boasting the second largest lake in Israel, Yerucham is a 13-square-mile city founded in 1951 as a transit camp for new immigrants. Today, it is home to a diverse population of approximately 10,000 residents representing a microcosm of Israel’s many cultural and ethnic communities.
The mission of the Miami-Yerucham Partnership is to leverage social, human and financial capital to inspire community engagement and development. By investing in relationships, education, culture and community-building initiatives, the partnership fosters a deeper commitment to Israel and the Jewish people, while enriching the quality of life in our community.
There are currently 120,000 Ethiopians now living in Israel. Many are facing unique challenges due to the difficulties of moving from a relatively primitive society to a highly advaced world. Acculturation difficulties have resulted in a higher incidence of unemployment, poverty, substance abuse and family violence among Ethiopian-Israelis.
Since 2005, the Greater Miami Jewish Federation has been engaged in a partnership with the 1,600 Ethiopian-Israeli residents of Pardes Channa-Karkur, a community of 30,000 people located between Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Federation has been supporting many wonderful programs that have helped the Ethiopian-Israeli people of Pardes Channa-Karkur and is now focusing on integration into general Israeli society. Some of the efforts supported include:
- A Scholastic Assistance Program (SPACE) at the Elisheva Girls High School in Pardes Channa-Karkur. SPACE provides afterschool tutoring, workshops and mentoring in small group settings. Nearly half of the students enrolled in SPACE pass their high school completion exams, compared with just 38 percent students who are not enrolled.
- A Community Garden that gives the elderly residents a social framework that is familiar and welcoming. The elder Ethiopian-Israelis come from an agrarian society so they are knowledgeable gardeners. They take home familiar vegetables and herbs and it gives them purpose and an opportunity to help their family and therefore gain self-respect.
- An art installation in the center of Pardes Channa-Karkur representing various groups in the community
- An Educational Placement Center for Educators from the Ethiopian Israeli Community. This is a new project in collaboration with the Ministry of Education to assist with teacher placement for Ethiopian-Israeli educators.
For more than three decades, Miami’s Jewish community has partnered with residents of Or Akiva, located near Caesarea and the Mediterranean Sea. Today, Jewish Federation helps to provide loans to local entrepreneurs hoping to launch new small businesses. Federation also supports the Or Akiva Volunteer Center, which offers social, community and educational services for all ages.
As a cornerstone of The Jewish Agency’s Partnership together 2000, the Miami-Or Akiva relationship focused on education, immigrant absorption, youth activities, economic development and more. Miami’s Jewish community continues to have a close connection with Or Akiva, as is evident by the 2006 opening of the Futernick Family Child Development Center.
For more information about Miami’s partnership cities, contact us at IsraelOverseas@JewishMiami.org or 786.866.8495.