Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis of Valley Beth Shalom challenged the Jewish people, their Rabbis, and their synagogues to give real meaning to the promise made following the Holocaust to not remain silent in the face of genocide. In response, Jewish World Watch (JWW) was established in October 2004. This organization is a coalition of Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist, and Reform synagogues throughout Southern California dedicated to education and activism within their community, as well as caring for the victims of genocide and other human rights abuses.
JWW has educated the community through thousands of speaking engagements to synagogues, churches, schools, and community groups, and developed curricula now being used in dozens of high schools and middle schools that teach students the skills necessary to become effective activists. In their efforts to advocate for effective genocide prevention policies, JWW has organized a number of initiatives like rallies, vigils, and postcard and email campaigns. They recently hosted their third annual Walk for Darfur/Walk to End Genocide. “With more than 2,000 walkers, we actively engaged the community and made a strong statement to the media and to our leaders that we will continue to demand immediate action to stop the genocide in Darfur, Sudan and to address the atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” reports JWW Executive Director Tzivia Schwartz-Getzung.
JWW has also worked hard to directly help those impacted by genocide. Massive fundraising efforts have resulted in over $3 million used in Sudan, Chad, the Central African Republic, and Israel to build, supply, and staff schools and to construct maternity wards, health clinics, and water wells. Their Solar Cooker Project trains and employs women to manufacture and use the cookers, which not only helps the economy and environment but also allows the women and children to stay in the relative safety of their refugee camps instead of foraging for firewood beyond the patrolled camps.
JWW is continually looking to expand their educational outreach and increase their aid efforts. As Tzivia explains, “We will continue to educate our community so that no one can claim ignorance. We will work with our leaders and representatives so that they know the urgency of the situation. We will continue to support the refugees so that they are kept alive, safe, and healthy until they can return to their homelands without worrying what tomorrow brings.”
For more information please visit www.jewishworldwatch.org