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The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA)[1], is an American Jewish umbrella organization representing 157 Jewish Federations and the Network of Independent Communities[2], 400 smaller Jewish communities across North America. The JFNA was formed from the 1999 merger of the United Jewish Appeal, the Council of Jewish Federations, and United Israel Appeal, Inc. The organization was known as the United Jewish Communities (UJC) until 2009, when it chose to adopt a new name and logo to "create a stronger continental brand and market positioning for the Federation system".[3]

The Jewish Federations of North America represents and serves one of the world's largest and most effective networks of social service providers and programs, enacting the federations’ pledge to "live generously," by securing support for life-saving and life-enhancing humanitarian assistance programs in the United States, Israel and 60 other countries. It is the second largest philanthropic network in North America (second to United Way of America).

Through a multi-dimensional approach to outreach and programming, The Jewish Federations of North America strengthens the connection and contributes to greater understanding between Israel and the American Jewish community. On September 30, 2009, Jerry Silverman began a five-year term as president/CEO upon the expiration of the term of Howard Rieger. Silverman previously held the CEO position at the Foundation for Jewish Camp. The organization's top volunteer leader is Kathy Manning, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Federations of North America. Manning is the first woman to hold this position.

While the Federation movement advocates for Israel to the U.S. federal government and is a major player in advocating before the United States Congress and the executive branch, for the domestic policy priorities of the American Jewish community, it remains a nonpartisan/bipartisan organization unaligned with any particular political party in the United States or abroad. Jewish Federation advocacy in Washington, D.C. is conducted by its Washington office, currently led by William Daroff. [1]

The Jewish Federations of North America promotes effective philanthropy, hands-on volunteerism, shared commitment, and collective action.

Timeline

Stephen Hoffman becomes President replacing Stephen Solender

  • 2002 - UJC and the Federations of North America launch the Israel Emergency Campaign in response to Palestinian political violence. They raise hundreds of millions of dollars for critically-needed security, medical equipment, and financial assitanice and trauma relief for terror victims.
  • 2003 - For the second time, the UJC General Assembly is held in Jerusalem.

MASA is launched to encourage Jewish youth to spend a semester or a year in Israel and help them build a life-long relationship with Israel and a firm commitment to Jewish life. Partnering in this groundbreaking project are the Government of Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel, UJC / The Federations of North America and Keren Hayesod around the world.

  • 2004 - UJC and the Federations of North America undertake Operation Promise, an ambitious effort to raise millions of dollars to bring Ethiopian Jews to Israel, help mainstream the Ethiopian-Israeli community, feed poor, elderly Jews in the former Soviet Union and strengthen Jewish identity among young Jews there. Howard Rieger becomes President replacing Stephen Hoffman.
  • 2006 - In response to the war in Lebanon, UJC and the Federations of North America launch a second Israel Emergency Campaign, which provides trauma counseling, enrichment programs, and economic assistance to Israeli children and adults affected by the war. IEC continues to help vulnerable Israelis, including those on the front lines against Kassam rockets launched from Gaza.

UJC helps found Sheatufim: The Israel Center for Civil Society, which works to strengthen the social vitality of Israel by developing and advancing a civil society that is pluralistic, proactive, influential, professional and collaborative. Other founding partners are Zionism 2000, the Sacta-Rashi Foundation and the Gandyr Foundation.

  • 2007 - With more than 1,500 rockets from Hamas-controlled Gaza striking the Sderot region in 2007, UJC increases Israel Emergency Campaign funding to enhance social services and other aid, largely via JDC and the Jewish Agency. IEC efforts are also transforming the community capacity of northern cities and towns impacted by the Second Lebanon War to better respond to emergencies.
  • 2008 - IEC assistance to the Sderot region grows in response to an intensified barrage of rockets from Gaza. UJC launches 'Voices from Sderot' blog ([2]) to share the perspectives of Israelis living on the Gaza perimeter.

UJC holds its General Assembly in Jerusalem. President Howard Rieger announces retirement.

  • 2009 - UJC changes name to The Jewish Federations of North America, which it prefers not to shorten to JFNA. New President/CEO Jerry Silverman takes office. The annual General Assembly, held this year in Washington, attracts both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Barack Obama, though President Obama sends Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in his place so Obama can attend a ceremony for the victims and survivors of the massacre in Ft. Hood, Texas. At GA, Ari Teman of JCorps is named Jewish Community Hero of the Year for 2009 after online voting process that attracts 570,000 votes, and deliberative process by judge panel.

Notes

  1. ^ Haviv Rettig Gur (October 29 2009). "Diaspora Affairs: Pushing the envelope". The Jerusalem Post. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1256799045802&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull. Retrieved 24 December 2009. 
  2. ^ "Network of Independent Communities". The Jewish Federations of North America. January 5 2010. http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?ID=157084. Retrieved January 5 2010. 
  3. ^ "UJC Announces New Name and Logo". The Jewish Federations of North America. October 8 2009. http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=207876. Retrieved 24 December 2009. 

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