Category: Programs & Services

  • PACT in Netanya

    Detroit, Netanya and JDC: Working Together to Strengthen the Local Ethiopian-Israeli Community

    In September 2001, the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit entered into a new partnership relationship with JDC and the city of Netanya in an effort to improve the educational opportunities of the local Ethiopian-Israeli community. Parents and Children Together (PACT) is a comprehensive, strategic, city-wide intervention program in Netanya that seeks to provide comprehensive educational projects and services for Ethiopian-Israeli pre-schoolers by focusing not only on the child, but also on the family, the community and the local professionals who shape these early years. In addition to working closely with the local municipality and other non-profit organizations, the Ethiopian-Israeli community in Netanya plays a central role in planning and implementing the innovative, community-based approach, which PACT embodies. PACT seeks to reach each and every one of the over 1,100 Ethiopian-Israeli children (birth to six) in the city and provides them with the necessary literacy skills, support, and enrichment experiences to prepare them to enter first grade on an equal level with their veteran Israeli peers. Beyond a simple funding relationship, PACT and the other programs will directly involve professional and lay members of the Detroit community in an ongoing and intensive manner through professional exchanges, mission visits, and committee involvement with lay and professional leaders in Netanya.

    PACT Programs

    Included among the programs initiated and sponsored by the PACT partnership in Netanya are:
    • Placement in pre-school frameworks for each and every Ethiopian-Israeli child
    • Direct home-intervention assistance for the most distressed families
    • Promoting better nutrition, health care, and parenting skills
    • Professional training for early childhood educators from the community
    • A wide-range of cultural and social enrichment activities for the child and family including music classes, science stations, summer day camps, field trips, holiday celebrations, and scholarships for extra-curricular programs.
    Some of the PACT programs include:
    Literacy Enrichment in Classrooms
    PACT provides for literacy specialists to work in small groups and on an individual basis in local kindergarten classrooms to help Ethiopian-Israeli students to develop the emergent literacy skills necessary for entering first grade. Creative activities focus on the developmental aspects of written and oral communication.
    Adult Literacy Programs
    As part of the community programs that PACT supports, Ethiopian parents will participate in creative Hebrew classes that emphasize basic conversational, reading and writing skills, learning about Israeli society and cultural norms and raising awareness about what their children are learning in their preschool and kindergarten frameworks.
    New Kat-Gan Pre-School Framework
    PACT is opening new “Mini-Kindergartens” for 1 ½ to 3 year olds who were not previously participating in any other day setting. The 5-day-a-week program provides an enriching and stimulating educational environment for the children, while at the same time, enabling their mothers to participate in other PACT programs like Hebrew literacy, parenting groups and more.
    Ethiopian Educational Liaisons
    PACT is enabling for Ethiopian-Educational liaisons to work in the local kindergarten classrooms. The liaisons serve as the contact person and cultural bridge between the Ethiopian parents and the Kindergarten teachers. The liaisons also expose and educate the teachers and students about Ethiopian culture and monitor that the needs of each Ethiopian child are being met appropriately. PACT also provides the liaisons with regular, ongoing professional training to enhance their skills and develop the appropriate methods to carry out their complex, but essential role.
    Community Enrichment Centers
    PACT provides an accessible, neighborhood-based afternoon activity center that provides educational, cultural, and social enrichment for Ethiopian-Israeli children and their parents. Ethiopian-Israeli instructors and counselors organize regularly scheduled structured, creative, interactive programs and recreational activities including arts and crafts, music and movement, games, and theater.

  • Partnership 2000

    The Michigan/Central Galilee Partnership 2000 encourages and fosters enduring relationships between Jewish communities in Michigan and the Central Galilee. Federation's leadership works closely with representatives of municipal authorities and a strong network of volunteers to develop activities of mutual interest and benefit.

    Partnership 2000 provides a variety of programs in the following areas:

    People To People

    Young Leadership
    The Young Leadership program is a parallel leadership development program for men and women between the ages of 27 to 45 from Michigan and the Central Galilee. These groups are comprised of individuals who have demonstrated leadership ability and have shown a desire to learn and do more for their Jewish communities. The program includes interactions with community lay leadership, hands-on training and development of leadership skills, participation in national and regional leadership conferences, exchanges, and joint projects between the Michigan and Central Galilee groups.
    Professional Exchanges
    One unique aspect of Michigan's partnership with the Central Galilee is its opportunities for the two communities to learn and grow together within specific fields of expertise. Professional exchanges, such as the Educator's, Women's and Hospice exchanges, have provided successful avenues to accomplish this goal. For example, the Educator's Exchange of March 2002 brought seven educators from the Region to Michigan to create and further develop educational programs with a select group of metro Detroit counterparts for implementation both here in Michigan and in the Central Galilee. With this highly successful visit, a reverse trip is planned where the Michigan participants will travel to the Region and follow up on the projects developed during the Israelis' visit.
    YAD Mission Extensions in the Region
    For the Detroit participants of the annual national Young Adult Mission to Israel, this extension allows participants to travel throughout the Region and become acquainted with the many Partnership 2000 programs, as well as personally connect, interact, and volunteer with the men, women, and children of the Central Galilee.

    Jewish Identity

    Joint Reading Project
    Initiated by both teacher assignments and students' desire to communicate with a similar peer group in another country, the Joint Reading Project has created linkages between teachers and students from the Jewish Academy of Metropolitan Detroit and the Ort Rogozin High School in Migdal HaEmek in the Central Galilee. Pairing the two schools requires preparation and collaboration by the teachers and administrators. Most importantly, the Project allows the students to learn from the same texts and material in the same time frame and then dialogue about them in creative ways, such as via joint projects, mail, phone conversations, e-mail, and videoconferencing.
    Beit Midrash
    The Partnership 2000 Joint Beit Midrash is comprised of the Central Galilee Beit Midrash and the Michigan Beit Midrash. These two groups share a similar study plan, which has focused in previous years on the Jewish holidays, prayer, and current issues of concern to both communities. The Joint Beit Midrash provides another meaningful way to nurture significant personal and group relationships between the Central Galilee and Michigan communities, while fostering Jewish identity and communal involvement.
    Land of Our Heritage
    Jointly developed by Partnership 2000 and the Dirshu Institute of Jewish Education, the Land of Our Heritage educational program aims to provide participants with a greater understanding of the historical and political history of the Land of Israel, specifically the nature of the Jewish claim to the land, the challenges it has faced through the centuries, and the current Israeli-Arab conflict. One component of the six-part series focuses on the Central Galilee and the unique role the region has played in ancient times and its significance to the modern Jewish state. Supplemented with extensive written and audio-visual material, the program is an important tool for those involved in education, Jewish activism, politics and advocacy.

    Women's Programs

    Women's Department
    Follow your heart. It will lead you to our door. Serving as a vital link between Jewish family life and community life, Federation’s Women’s Department is committed to welcoming and empowering women of all ages and stages of life. As one of the most trusted and effective philanthropic organizations in the world, we work to deliver help to those in need and to fulfill the dreams of a vibrant Jewish community, here at home in Detroit, in Israel and around the world.
    The Adele Mondry Women's Center
    The Mondry Women's Center in Nazareth Illit sponsors educational programming relating to women's issues and regional concerns. Topics have included empowerment, equality, creative expression and co-existence amongst Arab and Jewish women. A recent topic of concern promoted awareness of women's health through lectures, conferences, leadership programs, and a support hotline. Target populations in the region include new immigrants, the elderly, and professionals.
    Support for Female Abuse Victims
    Developed in conjunction with the Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit and funded by the Washtenaw County Jewish Federation in Ann Arbor, the Support for Female Abuse Victims program is comprised of a regional network of women volunteers in the Central Galilee who assist female abuse victims break away from the circle of violence. By lending an attentive ear, providing support and counseling, and mediating assistance from governmental support services, the volunteers work towards helping the victims better deal with the physical and mental challenges that result from their abusive situations. The volunteers are also able to help the abused women deal with the resulting social, economic, and cultural impacts; issues that are often beyond the scope of the state-sponsored services.

    Social Welfare

    Israel Emergency Fund
    In light of the current situation in Israel, the Jewish Community of Metropolitan Detroit has designated funds raised through the Israel Emergency Campaign to assist with social welfare needs in our Partnership 2000 Region. Food baskets, after school programs, and supplementing security throughout the Region are some of the ways the Detroit community is making sure that the immediate needs in our Region are met.
    Integration of Olim
    By involving new immigrants and veteran Israelis in community activities that promote a supportive environment, this project emphasizes tolerance and acceptance of others through weekly integrative activities and tutorial programs. Implemented in schools and community centers in Nazareth Illitand Migdal Emek, , activities are open to the public and work to enhance community self-esteem, consolidation, and integration.
    The Milton and Lois Shiffman Home Hospice of the Valleys
    Developed by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit's Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network, and coordinated by Kupot Holim Klalit, the Milton and Lois Shiffman Home Hospice of the Valleys provides or home hospice service needs (medical, nursing and social work) for terminally ill patients and their families in the Central Galilee (Arab, Jewish and Christian).
    Hafuch al Hafuch
    Located in Migdal HaEmek, the Hafuch al Hafuch program funded by the Jewish Federation of Grand Rapids, provides troubled and at-risk youth with a safe, friendly, and informative environment to escape from the fears and anxieties of current daily life in Israel. The Center trains both its youth and adult staff members and volunteers in guidance and counseling, as well as in mediation with parents or other social welfare services, when necessary. Youth volunteers coordinate events, holiday parties, educational seminars and the Hafuch al Hafuch newsletter. Cultural liaisons, olim who are already integrated in Israeli society, serve as key role models and counselors for new immigrant teenagers, as they can empathize with the difficulties the youth face and offer them support and friendship.

    Jewish/Arab Coexistence

    Creative Coexistence Leadership
    By pairing each of the three municipalities of the Partnership 2000 Region with three neighboring Arab cities, 60 young people are actively involved in workshops to reinforce national and bi-national identity and to plan and implement joint community projects.
    Notes of Harmony
    Music students and teachers participate in school music programs and music centers in both Jewish and Arab towns and cities in the Central Galilee. The program offers the Jewish and Arab music students the opportunity to enrich their individual musical experiences by studying, practicing and performing music together. Additionally, the project provides a forum for the music instructors to share resources and enhance skills through a variety of workshops, focusing on choirs, string ensembles, wind instrument ensembles, and ensembles that integrate oriental (Arabic), classical, and folk music. This program fosters an environment of interaction and understanding.
    Strings of Peace
    The program spearheaded by the Music Center at the Jezreel Valley Center for the Arts and Culture, brings Jewish and Arab children together to play violin. Meeting weekly, together with their parents, children from Kibbutz Sarid and the Arab village of Manshiat Zebda, both in the Jezreel Valley, participate in individual as well as group violin lessons. The music sessions provide the children with an opportunity to learn violin basics, sing in Hebrew and Arabic, perform concerts, and participate in other activities that attempt to build closer relationships based on friendship, understanding, mutual trust, and music.

  • Federation Pilots English Proficiency Program in Israel

    Today in Israel proficiency in English is crucial for academic achievement, opportunity for higher education and success in job placement. Also, the one area identified as the most problematic in terms of academic achievement for children of low socio-economic groupings is the study of English. Support of English Language Instruction is envisioned as a means to open the door to professional educational exchanges as well as to new volunteer opportunities for the community, both in Detroit and in Israel. For these reasons the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit is taking a proactive role in piloting an English proficiency program in the Partnership 2000 Region of the Central Galliee. The program trains teachers in teaching methods not currently offered by the Ministry of Education, assists principals in improving their English skills, and measures the achievements of students in grades 5 - 8. In addition, informal programs that will connect our local community to this effort are being planned (an English-speaking summer camp is being considered). The Michigan Partnership 2000 Steering Committee is traveling to Israel May 6-10 for program meetings and to visit projects funded by JFMD. One of these projects will be the English Program, where progress made in the first year of the program will be assessed.