Impact Stories:

Your Support Puts Volunteers in the Fields

After the Oct. 7 terrorist attack in Israel, it’s likely few people thought about agriculture.

JFNA Emergency Funds
allocated to HaShomer HaChadash
Volunteers Mobilized
to work abandoned farmland

Israelis and their supporters from Pittsburgh immediately focused on recovering hostages and ensuring safety. Even in wartime, however, food is essential. So rebuilding kibbutzim (collective farms) that were destroyed was another critical security issue that was addressed. Even in wartime, however, food is essential. In the aftermath of Oct. 7, many farmers had to abandon fields near the border because of rocket shelling, damage from the Hamas attack or other dangers related to the war. More than 100,000 Israelis remain displaced, creating labor shortages. Israelis faced food-related problems—the potential for skyrocketing prices, money problems at farms and the cascading effects such as food insecurity—at a time many people were already struggling.

At the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, we believe that everyone in our global community experiencing hardships deserves to live with dignity. No one should have to worry about whether they will have access to food, especially during wartime.

HaShomer HaChadash, with the support of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, stepped up to help. This nonprofit works to create the next generation of farmers in Israel. Based on the Zionistic farming ideals of mutual accountability and civilian courage, the organization strives not only to provide food from the land but also to protect the vulnerable farms from attacks—a goal which became paramount after the Hamas invasion.

Pittsburghers on a solidarity mission to Israel recently toured the farms to see the hard work that HaShomer HaChadash has accomplished in a few short months thanks to donors in Pittsburgh and around the U.S. and Canada. They also worked alongside volunteers to pick tomatoes on one of these farms.

With your contributions to the Israel Emergency Relief Fund and our Community Campaign, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh enabled the mobilization of 100,000 volunteers to work the farmland abandoned near the Gaza Strip. Federation has proudly funded HaShomer HaChadash for seven years through Campaign donations; and, thanks to you, we will continue to support the great work they do. This just a small part of a vast Jewish Federation effort across the U.S. and Canada to build a safer, more inclusive world for all Israelis following this terrorist attack.

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