Connecting Baltimore with Israel


Since before the founding of Israel, The Associated channeled Baltimore’s generosity and involvement with Israel through advocacy, fundraising, missions and innovative collaborations. Together, the community raised millions of dollars and instituted numerous programs to help Israel grow and prosper, often in the face of war and adversity. The close bonds created with the Israeli people benefit both communities.

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THE EARLY YEARS

With the 1948 founding of the State of Israel, The Associated’s Jewish Welfare Fund raised over $3.2 million in a drive to bring Holocaust survivors and oppressed Jews from Arab lands by the thousands to the newly independent Jewish homeland.

Displaced Persons camp in Salzburg, Austria, with unidentified young boy in the foreground
1980 Walk for Israel

BALTIMORE RESPONDS

In 1967, with the outbreak of the Six-Day War, Baltimoreans mounted an emergency campaign, netting $4 million, the most in two days. Fundraising meetings were jammed. Teenagers washed cars, and in every synagogue, rabbis devoted their sermons to the cause. Just six years later, the Yom Kippur War again mobilized the community. The Associated spearheaded the effort: raising $15 million.

To celebrate Israel’s 30th anniversary in 1978, The Associated kicked off the first Walk for Israel, an 11-mile stroll. A year later, 3,000 participants brought in more than $90,000.

PARTNERSHIPS

In 1979, Project Renewal matched Baltimore with Ir Ganim, a depressed area of immigrant families near Jerusalem. “The project was more than just giving money — it was helping a community in Israel rebuild itself using the knowledge The Associated had from caring and building the Baltimore Jewish community for so many years,” said one leader.

In 2003, the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership was established. Since the beginning, more than 1,000 Baltimoreans visited this seaside town each year. Friendships and connections between Israelis and Diller teens, volunteers, Birthright students and more, are created each year.

Young adults hiking on birthright
Two young Shinshinim ladies at JCC Sukkah City

CONNECTING TO ISRAEL TODAY

Building connections between Israelis and Baltimore Jews is at the heart of developing meaningful and long-term connection to Israel. Since 2000, shinshinim, 18-year-old Israeli emissaries, have spent a year in Baltimore, educating the local community about Israel and Israeli culture, while Israel Campus Fellows do the same on college campuses. As one host family recalled after hosting a shinshinim, “We no longer see the country as this place, 6,000 miles away, but we see it as a place where we have life-long friends.”

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