FRS, in its High Holy Day Appeal, chooses to support a number of charities for up to 3 years, in order to make a difference on a particular project. We have now begun a relationship with a new set of charities, as you may have read in the recent Tree of Life.
The following projects are those which the synagogue will be supporting throughout the coming year as part of our social action programme:
Citizens UK, Safe Passage: The wars in Syria and Iraq have created the worst refugee crisis since WW2. Twenty one million people globally are seeking protection. There have been over 250,000 deaths as a result of the fighting. 6.5 million Syrians are internally displaced. There are 4.18 million Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, of which 2.1 million are children. Children have been the face of this conflict – Aylan Kurdi illustrating the danger for those who leave and Omran Daqneesh – the child who sat silently in the ambulance after he was pulled out of the rubble – highlighting the dangers facing children who stay. Eight hundred unaccompanied minors are on Britain’s doorstep, in Calais camps, hoping to find a way to safety.
Seventy years ago Britain opened its doors to 10,000 Jewish children who were also fleeing persecution. It is time to pay that forward and live up to the legacy that came before us. Like then, the options are not perfect – but they can save lives. Of the 800 unaccompanied minors, around 200 are eligible to come to the United Kingdom because of a legal case Citizens UK brought that allows them to be reunited with family in the UK, and another 200 or so under the (Lord) Dubs amendment. These children are facing the threat of the camp being destroyed imminently, so it’s crucial they have lawyers and support to process their case, and councils in the UK who, with your help in campaigning, will allow them to be resettled. It costs us around £2,000 to support each child and as of July 2016 Safe Passage – a project that mixes litigation, parliamentary lobbying and community organising with field level casework to help refugees access safe and legal routes to asylum – has ensured 41 children are safe. FRS will support this project for one year, 2016/17. We will replace it for the following two years with another Citizens project (to be decided in the coming year).
Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice is North London's only children’s hospice. They provide clinical, emotional and practical care and support for children and young people with life-limiting and life-threatening conditions. Their central aim is to enable these children and young people to live life as fully as possible. They also support families during their child’s life and help them face the future with hope throughout bereavement.
FRS will assist Noah’s Ark with their family day events such as sports days, theatre workshops and an annual Summer Ball. These offer accessible activities, enable families to spend quality time together, provide respite for parents and carers, and build a community to reduce isolation. FRS members can also support their local children’s hospice by volunteering in the hospice, presenting on Noah’s Ark services, and taking part in upcoming challenge events.
The Abraham Fund Initiatives (TAFI) is a long-running Arab-Jewish non-profit organisation dedicated to creating a shared and equal society for Israel’s Jewish and Arab citizens. They carry out large scale projects in the fields of education, economic development, equal services and civic participation, and use them to model pragmatic solutions, and advocate for their adoption, at the highest level of policy decision making in Israel. These projects connect the otherwise separate Jewish and Arab populations in Israel, fight growing trends of discrimination and create a more equal, inclusive society. Despite the mandatory study of Hebrew in Arab schools in Israel, a significant proportion of Arab students graduate from high school with poorly developed spoken Hebrew skills. There is direct correlation between an Arab's grasp of Hebrew, and their socio-economic success and integration. A shared language is essential in developing the fragile relations between these two divided communities. Based on the proven model of Shared Education operational in over 60 schools in Northern Ireland and aimed at fostering relations between Protestants and Catholics, TAFI is currently piloting ‘Shared Learning’, a programme which promotes tolerance and mitigates tensions, and raises academic opportunities, by facilitating collaborations between Arab and Jewish schools. In 2016-17 the vision is to expand the project to 30 schools (15 Arab, 15 Jewish). FRS members’ donations will support TAFI’s ‘Spoken Hebrew programme in Arab Elementary Schools’, and ‘Shared Learning’ academic opportunities.
Keshet UK is a Jewish community organisation with a vision of a world where no one has to choose between their Jewish and LGBT identity. By delivering inclusion workshops, providing training and speaking at events, Keshet UK supports Jewish community organisations to become more inclusive of LGBT people. Support from FRS will help Keshet UK develop its activity working with young people in schools (Jewish and mainstream), youth movements and on university campuses. This includes creating learning materials, running workshops for teachers and leaders, and delivering LGBT-inclusion programming directly to people in those settings. Our partnership will also assist Keshet UK’s wider LGBT inclusion work, celebrating diversity in the Reform Movement and reaching out to the wider Jewish Community.
Movement for Reform Judaism - Adult Social Care: Combating Isolation and Loneliness in our communities With 42 communities across the UK and over 30,000 members, Reform Judaism aims to be a vibrant and welcoming environment for everyone. However, with an ageing population, isolation and loneliness is an issue that costs lives and causes unimaginable heartache and misery, not just to the generation struggling daily with the challenges of everyday life but also to their families. Today, 25% of Reform Judaism Members are over the age of 70. These individuals are our founding generation. One of the greatest causes of isolation is the sense of being cut off from the outside world which can easily be solved with access to suitable transportation to allow people to attend synagogue, go shopping, connect with the outside world and to engage with likeminded individuals, which is why we have partnered to help purchase two wheelchair accessible minibuses which will cover all of our UK communities, providing essential access to those who are most vulnerable, enabling them to maintain their Jewish way of living and alleviate the crippling sense of isolation.
The FRS Belarus Project continues to evolve, with young adults and families from FRS taking a leading role in providing support, creative opportunities, training and new friends for our twinned community of Polotsk in Belarus. Young adults from FRS run informal Jewish education sessions in Belarus, enabling them to learn from experience and go on to run their own sessions. The community in Polotsk is now running a project to maintain old and hidden Jewish cemeteries. All of these developments are being made possible because of the support from FRS members. The Belarus Project would like to extend a massive thank you for the ongoing support. It truly is a lifeline and is showing that Jewish community in Belarus can be a reality.
Our Tzedakah Committee continues to respond to worldwide disasters and pleas of help. They also continually assist with charities where we have a connection and work to ensure FRS deliver in areas where we need to react. 10% of all donations received will be held by the Tzedakah Group in order for them to make these important contributions.
You may pay online via Virgin Money, where your donation will be shared over the six charities, unless you request otherwise.