UJA Home Volunteer Site

Responding to Global Crises and Building Resilience

We're committed to ensuring safe, thriving Jewish communities around the world — in crisis and every day.

Natural disasters, terror, violence, and hatred shatter millions of lives each year. Since 2007, UJA has invested more than $81 million to bring urgent relief to those on the ground and aid long term recovery. Our essential relationships with hundreds of nonprofits worldwide make us agile and ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice.

Crises we’ve responded to since the new millennium include: the second intifada in Israel, 9/11, Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and Hurricane Sandy here in our own backyard. In the fall of 2017, we led a substantial relief effort in the wake of the hurricanes in Texas, Puerto Rico, and the Caribbean

In fall 2018, following the deadly earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia, UJA’s partners provided emergency medical services, critical supplies, and psychosocial support. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Florence and Michael, we supported nonprofits that helped in the massive clean-up and provided trauma treatment.

In the wake of the Tree of Life massacre in Pittsburgh, UJA took concrete steps to show our solidarity with the shattered Pittsburgh Jewish community and ensure the continued safety of our local institutions.

  • Security: Long a priority, we’re continuing to help network nonprofits navigate the process of accessing federal, state, and city funding to ensure the safety of our synagogues, day schools, JCCs, and other centers of Jewish life. Additionally, we’re offering bridge loans to nonprofits that have received security grants but cannot afford to pay for security enhancements upfront while awaiting reimbursement from the government. We received $1 million in funding from The Paul E. Singer Foundation to support safety reviews and enhanced precautions at Jewish institutions.

  • Counseling: Partners in Caring, a UJA-supported initiative, deployed mental health professionals to area synagogues, day schools, and community centers. Partners in Caring social workers provided short-term counseling, resources and referrals, and assisted with larger awareness and education events.

  • #SolidarityShabbat: Exactly one week after the worst act of anti-Semitism in North American history, we demonstrated our resilience and resolve. In partnership with federations across the country, the American Jewish Committee, and the Anti-Defamation League, we organized #SolidarityShabbat, showing the world we stand up to hate.

Crisis in Israel

On November 12-13, 2018, as rockets rained down on Israel from Gaza, our primary overseas partners — the Jewish Agency for Israel and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee — were able to jump into action, helping vulnerable populations in the areas under attack. Almost immediately, 19 emergency checks were hand-delivered to the families of those whose homes suffered a direct hit — including the family of a Palestinian contractor who was killed in the living room of the Ashkelon apartment he was staying in. In just 24 hours, the Israel Trauma Coalition, an organization created and supported by UJA, treated over 200 people for trauma.

Keeping Communities Strong

We’re also committed to being there before disaster strikes, supporting Jewish communities around the world so that they’re strong, resilient, stable, and equipped to respond to challenges. That means we’re standing up to anti-Semitism and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement on college campuses. In Europe, it means we’re helping small Jewish communities shape their future, empowering leaders, building infrastructure, and giving grassroots activists the tools to grow their dreams. From Paris to Budapest to Moscow — we’re proudly helping create vibrant Jewish communities.

Related Nonprofits and Programs

American Jewish Joint Distribution
Committee (JDC)
Israel Trauma Coalition
Jewish Agency for Israel
(Among many others)