In less than three weeks, more than $11.2 million has been raised for needs in Israel by the Minneapolis Jewish Federation’s Tikvatenu campaign, surpassing the $10 million goal that had been set. The amount is believed to be the most raised by a Federation of Minneapolis’ size in the country.
“I am so proud of our community,” said MJF CEO Jim Cohen. ”I knew that we were generous, and I knew that we have a history of stepping up when needed. But the speed with which the community responded is truly remarkable. And we’re not done. Our community’s just full of leaders and grateful to each and every one of them.”
Nationwide, the 145 members of Jewish Federations of North America have raised more than $550 million, also surpassing the goal it had set for $500 million. So far, more than 20 percent of the funds have been distributed to more than 60 organizations on the ground assisting with the recovery from the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas, the Iran-backed terrorist organization that controls Gaza.
The largest amount so far has been distributed to the Jewish Agency for Israel’s fund for victims of terror. Organizations doing work with evacuation, housing, respite, and support for frontline communities, emergency services, and health care, each getting more than 15 percent of the allocations so far.
Despite hitting the local goal, Cohen said the campaign will continue, particularly as Israelis on the northern border are being displaced with a potential of more attacks from Hezbollah, another Iran-backed terror organization, coming from Lebanon.
Cohen went to Israel last week on a 36-hour visit, part of a group of 22 Jewish Federation CEOs to get a first-hand view of the situation.
“I saw firsthand how flat-footed the Israeli government is, in dealing with the magnitude of this crisis,” he said. “They were caught off guard not only militarily and from an intelligence point of view, but they were unprepared to deal with the humanitarian issues that resulted within Israel. Without civil society and its partners in the United States – meaning us – there would be a lot of people going without right now.
“There was never a moment when it wasn’t clear to me as to how vital our role is in humanitarian efforts in Israel and the role of civil society. Every donor should really feel incredibly proud that they’re taking part and making sure that our friends and family in Israel have what they need.”
Cohen’s trip with JFNA was the first that brought local Federation CEOs to Israel after the Hamas attack.
“I felt very strongly that, given the commitment that our community has always demonstrated to Israel, that we be represented in Israel as early as possible,” he said. “And that people see that Minneapolis cares deeply about our brothers and sisters in Israel. “It’s our responsibility to do whatever we can.”