United Nations Association of the USA Demining Initiatives, Africa and Lebanon
Millions of people the world over are affected either directly or indirectly by landmines. The International Committee of the Red Cross estimates that landmines kill or maim approximately 26,000 people annually, including 8,000 to 10,000 children. In addition to the obvious threat to human life, minefields hinder development—by preventing use of the land for farming or grazing or construction—in the approximately 70 countries in which they have been found.
Removal of landmines is of utmost importance; however, this is impeded by the cost of clearing a minefield, which ranges from thousands to millions of dollars. “Landmine survivors worldwide long for a day when the weapon that scarred our bodies and killed our loved ones is forever abolished from the face of the earth,” wrote Jerry White and Ken Rutherford, co-founders of an organization called the Landmine Survivors Network.
In 1998, Targum Shlishi participated in and helped to support a UNA-USA Landmine Clearance Inspection Tour of Africa. The tour, which included Mozambique, Angola, Eritrea, and Ethiopia, consisted of fact-finding meetings with key local decision makers and investigation of the landmine situation and challenges to demining.
The trip yielded significant results, including the development of a series of programs aimed at accelerating demining efforts. Targum Shlishi has donated funding for one of these new programs, the K-9 Demining Corps. Administered by the Marshall Legacy Institute, the program supplies teams of explosive-sniffing dogs, which are extremely effective in detecting the weapons. The dog team that Targum Shlishi supported was sent to southern Lebanon in early 2001 to assist in demining efforts there.
“We greatly appreciate the support of Targum Shlishi, through which invaluable public/private partnerships were created to find innovative solutions to long-standing problems with critical issues, such as reducing the threat of landmines, UN Peacekeeping operations, and other international affairs,” said Ralph Cwerman, senior advisor for the Landmine Clearance Inspection Tour and president of the Humpty Dumpty Institute.
The Aleph Institute, Surfside, Florida
The 20-year-old Aleph Institute is a national organization that provides important social services to families in crisis and individuals in institutional environments, such as prison and the military, regardless of religious affiliation. Aleph also addresses issues related to the criminal justice system and implements initiatives that center on faith-based rehabilitation and preventive ethics education.
Aleph has created several programs that aim to provide alternatives to incarceration and that rehabilitate inmates and assist their families. Among these are the “Spiritual Freedom” Passover Program, in which Aleph ships Passover food and ritual-observance materials to over 3,500 incarcerated Jews and their families who could not otherwise obtain these goods. Targum Shlishi has helped support this program on numerous occasions. In addition, Targum Shlishi has supported the Aleph Institute’s program of sending packages to overseas armed forces for Purim. It also supported Aleph’s initial outreach program to the military.
Aleph’s Center for Halacha and American Law develops educational materials on Torah ethics and values that are distributed in classrooms and to the general public. Targum Shlishi sponsored Articles on Torah Ethics and Values, a collection of articles on ethics that were reprinted from the Jewish Observer.
“Targum Shlishi has long been an important supporter of various Aleph projects, including those addressing ethical education,” noted Isaac M. Jaroslawicz, Executive Director of the Aleph Institute.
United Nations Association of the USA, peacekeeping mission to Russia
Targum Shlishi’s director, Aryeh Rubin, took part in a peacekeeping mission to Russia to explore the US role in United Nations’ peacekeeping operations and to look into regional peacekeeping operations. The trip began in Moscow with a meeting with representatives of Russia’s foreign ministry to discuss Russia’s performance in peacekeeping operations. Other regions explored included Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and the Republic of Georgia. The tour then traveled to Abkhazia to explore the landmine situation there. Targum Shlishi supported the efforts of the UNA-USA.
The Shul of Bal Harbour, mortgage campaign and general support, Miami
The Shul of Bal Harbour under the guidance of Rabbi Sholom Lipskar is an innovative synagogue with a welcoming atmosphere and an emphasis on Jewish education for all ages. Targum Shlishi has supported The Shul in numerous ways. In addition to supporting the mortgage campaign for several years, Targum Shlishi purchased five seats in The Shul, donated funds for computers, and donated funds for general expenses for the Hebrew month of Adar. In addition, Targum Shlishi has initiated well-received joint programs with The Shul (see “Peace of Mind Program,” “The Shul of Bal Harbor, Spanish Edition of Bulletin,” and “Holocaust Lecture Series for Jewish High School Students”).
Aid to Argentinean Jewry, The Greater Miami Jewish Federation
Targum Shlishi has donated funding to help Argentinean Jewry as the country faces a devastating economic, social, and political crisis that is continually worsening. As of late 2002, the financial crisis had affected all 200,000 Argentine Jews, not only the 26,000 below the poverty line. Other issues facing the Jewish community (and the population at large) are job instability, a lack of public safety, and lack of access to health care. Many Argentine Jews see no future for themselves in the country and are emigrating to Israel; it is estimated that 5,000 Argentine Jews emigrated to Israel in 2002 (up from 800 in 2000). In the country as a whole, 100,000 members of the 37 million population emigrated in 2001.