Federations Allocate $3M for Masa to Bring more Young Adults from the FSU

Funds are part of Federations’ Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund that raised $84.2 million in 2022 

Responding to an increase in applications for Masa Israel Journey, Jewish Federations of North America allocated $3 million to enable an additional 1,000 young Jewish adults from FSU countries to take part in a transformative long-term experience in Israel.  Participants, who were on a waiting list pending budgetary approval, hail from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. They will join 1,550 participants from these countries already approved to take part in the experience.

The allocation was made by Jewish Federations’ Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund, with a generous grant from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation.  The $3 million will be matched by the Government of Israel, for a total of $6 million that will be allocated to Masa for this purpose.

"The opportunity to bring these young people to Israel from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus goes directly to the heart of who we are as a Jewish people. Our Jewish Federations did not hesitate, immediately raising the necessary emergency funds for Masa to expand its capacity during this difficult period," said Chair of the Jewish Federations of North America Julie Platt. "Moments such as these make me truly proud of the global support network that Jewish Federations have built to respond to the needs of Jewish communities, not just in North America, but in Israel and across the globe."

Masa Israel Journey was created 19 years ago together with The Jewish Agency for Israel and the Government of Israel in order to increase the number of young Jews taking part in long-term experiences in Israel. To that end, Masa has encouraged the development and creation of 200+ programs to attract young people to Israel. For those young people who see Israel as their future home, Masa offers programs that focus exclusively on Aliyah preparatory assistance, including language, professional development and other skills that facilitate an easy and successful integration into Israeli society.

“When we learned of the additional young Jews from Russia and the FSU who wanted to join Masa, there was no question we had to do everything to make it happen. I am tremendously moved by the immediate response of our partners at Jewish Federations and the Mandel Foundation,” said Jewish Agency Chairman of the Board Mark Wilf. “Masa is the flagship program for young Jews to connect with Israel and I am grateful we are able to offer them this wonderful opportunity.”

“Fostering Jewish leadership is a core mission of the Mandel Foundation and I’m delighted that, together with the Jewish Federations of North America, we are able to help additional young Russian and FSU Jews participate on the meaningful Masa Israel Journey program which will undoubtedly enrich both their futures and that of the State of Israel,” said Steve Hoffman of the Mandel Foundation.

In addition to the allocation for Masa, Jewish Federations made a recent allocation of $7 million for emergency winter relief for over 22,000 Ukrainian Jews through their core partner JDC (The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee), and to support the high costs of Russian Aliyah to Israel.  Over the past year, over 54,000 new immigrants arrived in Israel from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus with the aid of Jewish Federations’ core partner, The Jewish Agency for Israel.

In 2022, Jewish Federations raised a collective $84.2 million for Ukraine aid. Funds have been directed to their core partners JDC, The Jewish Agency and World ORT, as well as to over 50 NGOs providing humanitarian aid and relief to refugees in Ukraine and neighboring countries. Funding has supported emergency operational costs, temporary housing and transportation costs, security, humanitarian support and trauma and medical relief, and immigration and absorption in Israel. 

In addition to providing humanitarian aid for refugees, Jewish Federations successfully advocate for expanded refugee rights and resettlement in the US and operate a $1 million Ukrainian Resettlement Grant Initiative with matching funds from the Shapiro Foundation. Jewish Federations also lead a Global Volunteer Hub and have placed over 100 Russian-speaking Jewish volunteers from the US and Canada in placements in Europe to support refugee relief efforts. 

Jewish Federations’ multi-pronged support of Ukrainian refugees is the result of a system-wide, decades-long investment in supporting vulnerable populations around the globe and building flourishing Jewish communities both domestically and abroad. 


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