The Jewish Federation of Palm Springs and Desert Area has a long and rich history of taking on special “overseas” projects in Israel. It has enhanced this commitment with the dedication of a number of very special endeavors in the Negev region of the country. While the Negev amounts to more than 60% of Israel’s land mass, it is home to no more than 20% of Israel’s population. Our Federation aims to change those numbers.
The Federation was the recipient of a generous bequest of $500,000 from the estate of Henry and Munzika Shweid. It provided the financial resources to dedicate the Desert Agro-Research Center in Ramat Negev, Israel in their memory and honor. The Center serves as a resource not only for agricultural research and the expansion of the regional crops to European markets, but also as a cultural center for the local regional council. It has already become the hub of activity for the area.
Also in the Negev region of Israel just outside of Beer Sheva, our Federation built a Day Care Center in the newly established settlement of Givot Bar, with funds both from the Shweid Estate and the Federation (total of $500,000). This exciting community of young Zionist families, who have come to settle the Negev, is the product of an organization called the OR MOVEMENT. OR comes from the Hebrew word meaning “light” and was established by three young Israeli soldiers who finished their army service and decided to dedicate their lives to building their homeland.
Federation also renewed the grants it provided for two new projects in the Negev region - $250,000 for a project run by the Jewish Agency called First Home in the Homeland and $250,000 to the OR Movement for its Be’er Sheva Old City Renewal Project. The first project helps new immigrants to Israel gain their initial footing in the country. The later project will develop an information and referral center in the heart of the City’s ancient quarter.
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