The concept of tikkun olam (repairing the world) is central to the North American Jewish community's social activism. Federations have forged public and private partnerships with federal, state and local governments to care for the most vulnerable people in our society -- the homeless, the abused, the sick and the frail.
Federations and more than 145 affiliated Jewish family services agencies sponsor programs that deal with domestic violence and provide crisis intervention to Jewish and non-Jewish families and mental health services to children, adolescents and families, according to the Association of Jewish Family & Children's Agencies. JFNA, representing the Federation system, speaks out forcefully when issues affecting government support for community social services are jeopardized. Funding to support families and children, older adults and persons with disabilities under Title XX was reduced, and JFNA is vigorously lobbying to reinstate funding.
JFNA works to ensure that Jewish institutions throughout the country are safe and secure. JFNA joined with the Anti-Defamation League to broadcast a security briefing to Federation agencies and supply security handbooks to more than 1,500 institutions.
JFNA educates policy makers and communities about how "charitable choice" initiatives would violate the Constitutional doctrine of separation of church and state.
The Federation system operates more than 100 low-income housing facilities and provides housing assistance and services to more than 12,000 low-income elderly people, primarily through the federal government Section 202 housing program, according to the Association of Jewish Aging Services.
Jewish Federation-affiliated skilled nursing and senior housing facilities, hospitals, and other services provide kosher meals, counseling, religious services, Passover Seders, and other important religious and cultural practices to their residents and/or clients.
With support from Federations, JDC created Operation Social Development to cultivate philanthropy within the Israeli business sector. This initiative resulted in the distribution of almost 10,000 computers to disadvantaged Israeli families, benefiting more than 30,000 children.
The Jewish Service Corps of JDC supported by the Federation system, provides volunteers a one-year opportunity to take part in the life of a Jewish community abroad. Volunteers in Romania, Poland, India, and the former Soviet Union work primarily in the areas of formal and informal Jewish education and community development.
With funds from the Federation system, JAFI provides a warm, supportive residential home for 500 of Israel's most severely disadvantaged 12- to 15-year-olds. Within two to three years, 100% of the students are mainstreamed into regular high schools.