Have You Heard of ISRAaid?

Image: ISRAaid volunteers greet refugees landing on the Greek island of Lesvos. Photo by: IFTAH SAVIT/ ISRAAID

Among the many interesting speakers this past week at PARR, we heard from the Consul General of Israel in Los Angeles, David Siegel. I always enjoy the sessions with the Consul General, because not only do we hear from the current holder of that office, we also have a chance to ask questions.

In his address to us, he talked about the fact that the most desperate situation in the Middle East at this moment is Syria and “it is not going away.” Millions of people have been displaced by the complicated civil war there, and millions more are likely to be displaced in the future.

The consul talked about ways that Israelis have been involved in assisting refugeees, and alluded to volunteer opportunities for American Jews, as well. I asked him for more specifics, and here is what I learned:

One way that Israelis have been involved in providing aid to the suffering people of Syria is by staffing refugee operations in Europe through the non-profit, non-governmental organization ISRAaid. From the ISRAaid website: “our teams of professional medics, search & rescue squads, post-trauma experts and community mobilizers, have been first on the front lines of nearly every major humanitarian response in the 21st century” – and that includes the current Syrian refugee crisis.

One way to support ISRAaid is by donation. But if you are a professional (any of the professions mentioned in the paragraph above) you might also consider volunteering with them.

For information about current  ISRAaid projects, you can check out their facebook page. For a sense of what they did in the last year, here’s a video:


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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at http://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

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