One of the core areas of focus for the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix is Israel. Whether this is funding programs and services in Israel through our incredible partners the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) and Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), helping to bring people to Israel or providing local programs and services through our core impact area of Israel advocacy. We want to help everyone explore and understand Israel with all of its complexities and challenges. We want to celebrate Israel for its amazing success. Engaging around Israel, after all, is not just about the tragedies, risks and threats, but also about the beauty of both the land and the people. It’s about connecting to our Jewish homeland.
Locally, we have partnered with the Israeli American Council to deliver Israel-related programs and events. At the recent national conference in Washington, DC, IAC CEO Shoham Nicolet highlighted our federation and community in his speech for engaging our local Israelis with our Jewish community. The federation is thrilled to expand our partnership with the launch of a regional IAC office here in Phoenix to bring increased resources and programming into our community. A recent example is the Etanim program, which launched last month. It brings together Israeli-American and Jewish-American high school students and mentors them in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation and Israel.
The federation is honored to bring Israel’s Ambassador to the United Stated Ron Dermer here for a very special presentation on Nov. 3. He will speak on current events and the challenges and opportunities facing Israel. He also provides an Israeli perspective on US-Israel relations. Incredibly, Ambassador Dermer is not the only key Israeli leader the federation will bring to the Valley. On March 1, 2017, the federation will present Mega Israel, featuring former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
The federation also works to bring Israel to the Arizona State University campus through our support of Hillel and Jewish Arizonans on Campus (JAC) and the federation-funded Israel education position. Federation NowGen also connects Israel to our community’s young Jewish adults through federation funding and collaborative partnerships, including Moishe House, JNFuture, the federation-supported JDC Entwine program and our own programming.
We believe strongly that being a partner and convener of community organizations focusing on support of, engagement with and love of Israel is critical. We are your federation and we are committed to building vibrancy in our local community and creating a passion for Israel. It is through our community’s generosity that we are able to support, engage, enlighten and enrich the communities we serve. Thank you.
Stuart Wachs is president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix.