November 17, 2011 / 20 Cheshvan 5772
Fund Will Strengthen the Connection of Young South American Jews to Israel
Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 16, 2011 - Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive, Natan Sharansky, has announced the establishment of a “Fund for the Jewish Future” that will strengthen the connection between young South American Jews to Israel and the global Jewish community through a variety of experiential programs.
The announcement took place during the meetings of the Agency’s Board of Governors, currently being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and hosted by the local Jewish community. The Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors consists of representatives from Jewish communities throughout the world. This is the first time in a decade that the Board of Governors is meeting outside of Jerusalem, in order to observe the activities of the Jewish Agency in South America.
“The Fund for the Jewish Future” will begin operating in 2012, with the first million dollars already committed. It represents a partnership between the Jewish Agency and local Argentinean philanthropists to provide Israel experience programs to their own community. The fund will focus on local activities for young South American Jews who have visited Israel in the past through Taglit-Birthright, or participated in long term Israel experiences through Masa, and sending young people on “Tikun Olam” and social action missions throughout the world.
Natan Sharansky, Jewish Agency Chairman of the Executive, said, “The Jewish community in Argentina is uniquely Israel-focused and connected. One quarter of the community has already made Aliyah, and for those who remain in Argentina, Israel serves as the glue that keeps the community together and strong. The fund is a new model developed by the Jewish Agency where the local community finances the Israel experiences for the members of their own community.”
The Jewish community in Argentina is a Zionist community of which some 70,000 of its members have made Aliyah since the founding of the State of Israel. Two hundred fifty thousand Jews live in Argentina, today, making it the largest Jewish community in South America. The Jewish Agency operates numerous programs in South America, including the sending of shlichim (emissaries) to the local communities, funding and supporting youth movements, operating Israel experience programs, and facilitating Aliyah. More than 1,000 young people from Argentina participate each year in leadership development programs through Masa, a Jewish Agency flagship program.
Also, during the Board of Governors meetings, the members of the Board held a memorial service for those who perished in the two terrorist attacks that shook the Jewish community in Argentina: the attack on the community building (AMIA) in 1994 in which 85 people were killed and more than 200 wounded, and the attack on the Israeli Embassy in 1992 in which 29 people lost their lives.