IMPROVING THE MENTAL HEALTH OF OUR COMMUNITY
Our Federation cares deeply about the mental health of our Jewish community, and our teenagers are among those most impacted by these issues. We are seeing increases among teens dealing with eating disorders, amplified anxiety that can manifest in suicidal thinking and action, as well as sleeping difficulties. Educators are seeing emotional regression and challenges in structured school environments. Increasing numbers of teens are also questioning gender identity. Many teens are turning even more to social media for external validation and connection, causing a host of other problems. All of these issues have been further exacerbated by the pandemic. Our Federation’s Los Angeles Jewish Teen Initiative (LAJTI), in partnership with Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles (JBBBSLA), is helping those struggling with the recent launch of Teen Talk App + LAJTI. The program addresses these critical issues by teaching teens about mental health and to provide vital social and emotional support to their peers through the anonymous Teen Talk App developed by JBBBSLA and Teen Line. One of our Teen Talk App advisors shared, “I feel a lot more comfortable texting, and Teen Talk App is anonymous texting. I can help people, which is what I wanted to learn how to do. It’s been one of the best decisions in my life.”
For more information or if you know someone who needs help, contact LAJTI@JewishLA.org.
STRENGTHENING OUR UNBREAKABLE BOND WITH ISRAEL
Our Federation is fortifying our community’s bond with Israel. After a year and half of closed borders, a group of our lay leaders recently completed their first journey back to Israel to strengthen our bonds and improve the lives of our partners there. The group included our President & CEO Jay Sanderson, Chair of the Board Albert Praw, General Campaign Chair Orna Wolens, Past Chair of the Board Les Bider, and Vice Chair of the Board Lynn Bider. Together they visited our partner the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC), where they participated in an ITC emergency simulation around preparedness and response to mitigate the effects of trauma on Israeli citizens. Our delegation’s voices and ideas were powerfully heard as they visited the Knesset and met with Israeli President Yitzhak (Bougie) Herzog and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett who discussed how we can most effectively work together.
ENSURING CHILDREN ACROSS L.A. ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS
Our Federation cares deeply about making the holidays special for every child — especially those whose families may not be able to afford it. That’s why we activated our entire community as we launched our 16th annual Festival of Lights Toy & Book Drive. This program is part of our Community Engagement Initiative’s focus on providing volunteer and service-learning opportunities for our community to be active participants in tikkun olam — repairing the world. Co-sponsored by our Federation’s Sylvia Weisz Women’s Philanthropy, this drive provides new toys and books that bring much needed joy and make a difference in the lives of kids of all ages. This holiday season, the process is entirely virtual as we conceived a way to make it easier for people to send a gift to a child in need.