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"JReady" to help diaspora deal with COVID-19 crisis

The Jewish Agency has launched "JReady" an emergency network meant to help Jewish communities around the world handle the continuing coronavirus crisis and increase overall emergency preparedness and rehabilitation. The program will provide a tool kit to help handle the experiences of the pandemic and address crises, including the uptick in antisemitic hate crimes.

JReady was launched at the opening plenary of the Jewish Agency's virtual Board of Governors meeting, with the participation of hundreds of Jewish community leaders. The program was also presented during The Day After Global Jewish Forum.

Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog and CEO Amira Ahronoviz established JReady in response to the damage the pandemic has caused to the Jewish communities around the world, including the deaths of thousands of Jews and the economic crisis affecting many institutions.JReady’s advisory committee is headed by former Member of Knesset Ayelet Nahmias Verbin and includes prominent figures such as Haim Bibas, Mayor of Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut who also serves as head of the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel and the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Prof. Eli Waxman, who headed Israel’s National Security Council’s Committee on Combating the Pandemic.

"This is a most challenging and innovative venture," said Verbin. "In recent months we have proven the need for sharing information and expertise, especially in communities hard hit by the pandemic. JReady has been busy training emergency managers in South Africa, improving readiness for extreme fires in Australia and bringing in experts who will help address economic problems in Italy and Costa Rica. The critical interfaces for building resilience exist and JReady will work with Jewish communities to further strengthen their preparedness, including for future crises.”

JReady is already assisting Jewish communities in Italy, South Africa and Peru amid the pandemic. The program will work to assist in the response to future crises by sharing information, experience and technological capabilities accumulated in Israel and global communities. The program is also working to train local organizations and professionals in emergency preparedness, trauma and rehabilitation.

A new digital platform will allow Jewish communities to use knowledge and experience accumulated by the Agency, including best practices, dedicated courses for community emergency managers, webinars and training with professionals, volunteer management, a chat forum with experts from Israel and around the world and access to advanced research and technologies, such as an Israeli app for food distribution to those in need and a Belgian methodology to alleviate loneliness among the elderly.

JReady will connect professionals in Israel and around the world, including heads of local authorities, principals, nursing home administrators, among others.

The Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod, the Diaspora Affairs Ministry and other government ministries, the Federation of Local Authorities in Israel, the National Emergency Authority at the Defense Ministry, the IDF Home Front Command, Tel Aviv University and civil society organizations took part in building JReady.

"Our sages taught us that all Jews are responsible for one another," said Herzog. "The Jewish Agency is harnessing Israeli know-how and expertise to realize this important Jewish value and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Jewish communities around the world. JReady provides an additional layer in the Jewish Agency's security network, which has been operating for many years within Jewish communities all over the world in a variety of emergency situations."