United for the Jewish State: How Koret grantees are supporting Israel

United for the Jewish State: How Koret grantees are supporting Israel

We are horrified and saddened by the atrocities in Israel, which are unlike any we have ever seen before. These acts of terror created a humanitarian crisis, displaced hundreds of thousands, and resulted in a dramatic rise in antisemitism globally.

As a Jewish foundation, we stand with our grantees—both in the U.S. and in Israel—who are showing up for Jews and Israel during this time of need.  We are inspired by the courage, resilience and dedication of Israelis who are fighting for their country and, in turn, the Jewish community.

Below are a handful of organizations we are honored to support, and how they are deploying their resources for Israel, its citizens, and Jews worldwide.

Am Yisrael Chai.

IsraAID and NATAN: Providing mental and physical health services at home

IsraAID and NATAN are Israeli humanitarian disaster relief organizations that provide urgent aid and assist in recovery. They are often amongst the first organizations to respond to disasters, most recently both helping with the aftermath of the earthquake in Morocco. Neither ever thought their help would be needed so urgently at home.

IsraAID has focused its efforts on providing the mental health services for displaced families and emergency workers, like they have in Moldova for Ukrainian refugees, at a hotel near the Dead Sea. They operate child friendly spaces where children can play, process, and have the chance to “just be kids” amid the chaos; distributing resilience kits with stress relief activities for children and families. Very importantly, IsraAID’s works with local teams on self-care and stress relief to “help the helpers” and trains local mental health specialists on emergency-specific psychosocial support, so they can best meet the urgent needs of affected people from Israel’s south.  Learn more.

NATAN all volunteer team is providing medical, dental, and psychological aid to survivors of the October 7th attacks. Most recently, it opened a large clinic in a hotel at the Dead Sea, operated together with Israel’s largest HMOs: Clalit Health Service and Maccabi Health Service. It is also working in close collaboration with Israel’s Homefront Command, the Ministry of Health, the local council and the country’s health services. Additionally, NATAN is providing trauma intervention to residents of Ofakim, a city that suffered heavy losses in the attacks. Learn more.

IsraAID operates children and parent-friendly spaces for displaced families staying in evacuation centers that offer stress relief activities and mental health services.

JCRC: Mobilizing the Bay Area and advocating from afar

The Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) is the largest collective voice of the Jewish community across the Bay Area. The attacks in Israel has led it to making  supporting Israel and combating antisemitism its number one priority. JCRC understands that the existence and protection of Israel and its people are paramount to Jewish peoplehood worldwide, and it has deployed its resources towards advocacy, support and community building.

JCRC’s efforts include leading solidarity events, vigils, and gatherings; compiling resources for parents, educators, and employers on how to talk to and support individuals during this time; advocating for Israel and calling out antisemitism in local and state governments and education institutions via grassroots mobilization like petitions; and sharing other resources like helplines and mental health services. Visit its comprehensive list of resources and find out what actions you can take. Learn more.

Organized by JCRC, hundreds of people gathered at Civic Center Plaza in front of San Francisco Hall to demand the Israeli hostages be released by Hamas.

USC Shoah Foundation: Recording history as it happens

USC Shoah Foundation was originally created to record and gather testimonies of Holocaust survivors. Now, it is working to do the same for the victims of the October 7th massacre in southern Israel, the largest massacre of Jews since WWII. The work is part of a new push to focus not only on preserving the history of the Holocaust but on combating contemporary antisemitism.

“The Hamas-led attacks near the border are a clear case of antisemitic terror,” USC Shoah Foundation CEO Robert Williams told eJP. “And we want to try to obtain testimonies now because there’s a strong need to allow the victims to voice their anger and frustration.”

Collecting the testimonies from survivors of the massacres in Israeli towns near the Gaza border and the Tribe of Nova festival will not just preserve their experiences for later study, but also keep the memories of the victims alive for the near future. Learn more.

Lev Echad: Mobilizing communities

Lev Echad is a community crisis aid and nationwide volunteer organization that was established to create a network of volunteers that can be deployed in a professional and organized manner during a state of emergency. When there is no crisis, Lev Echad is a skeleton organization with just a few members. But in an emergency, Lev Echad activates its network of more than four thousand registered volunteers to go into their communities and help provide basic necessities to those in need.

The following is an example of a typical day for Lev Echad. The call center received 164 requests, 159 of which they were able to complete. 42% of these calls were for grocery shopping, 8.3% were for need of transportation, 10.6% for house assistance, 10.5% for assistance needed to help care for children, 5.1% for medication and miscellaneous errands.

The goal of Lev Echad—Hebrew for “one heart”—is to empower anyone, in whatever community they live in, to help out in their own way. Learn more.

Lev Echad volunteers working at an operations center in Kfar Adumim.

Shalom Hartman Institute: helping us navigate through tragedy

The Shalom Hartman Institute is a leading center of Jewish thought and education, serving Israel and North America. It seeks to strengthen Jewish peoplehood and identity, enhance the Jewish and democratic character of Israel, and ensure that Judaism is a compelling force for good in the 21st century, and its work has never been so important as it is in this moment.

Immediately after the attacks on October 7th, Shalom Hartman Institute began publishing content to help both Israeli and North American Jews cope with the horrific events and navigate this new normal.

This includes a special podcast series to help parents and educators navigate complex conversations with young people about war; a virtual event exploring what the Torah can teach us about prioritizing how we help and what our responsibilities are during this time; and an episode of its Identity/Crisis podcast discussing the political strategy of civil organizing and how North American Jews can best support Israel in this moment. Learn more.

Tel Aviv University: Protecting students and opening its doors

The number one priority for Tel Aviv University (TAU) is ensuring the safety of its students. Immediately after the attack, TAU set up psychological hotlines in both Hebrew and English.

It has since expanded these efforts beyond its students to provide all the resources it has at its disposal, which includes providing temporary housing in the dorms for evacuees, sending DNA specialists to help identify victims, offering free dental first aid, fighting fake news in social media, and holding major drives for food, clothing, and medical supplies. Learn more.

ANU Museum of the Jewish People: Supporting their own and offering a cultural refuge

The effects of this war touch every institution in Israel deeply and personally, and hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been called from IDF reserves. Many ANU team members or their immediate family members are on the front lines or otherwise deployed, leaving behind spouses, children, and other family members. To help, ANU is providing emergency support to its team members and their units and helping their families by assessing needs and responding to them as quickly as it can.

Outside of its own community, ANU has created free, online daily programming of tours and lectures open to the public. It is also working to open the museum to host families that evacuated from the south to offer a space for relief, in the hopes that it can provide important cultural services to help begin the healing process of the horrific events. Learn more.

ANU is also leading a “Bring Them Home” video projection campaign, that solicits the participation of organizations with outdoor spaces and buildings worldwide to project photos of the over 200 missing Israelis.