Supporting Overseas Communities

The Jewish Federation of San Diego County is part of a global network that supports Jewish community recovery and revitalization, while igniting a strong sense of Jewish peoplehood in Israel and over 60 countries.  The enduring partnership between Federation, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), has led to the strongest Jewish human services network in the world.


To illustrate this partnership, we are spotlighting specific work being done in the Jewish communities of Saint Petersburg, Russia, and Sofia, Bulgaria and how we connect it back to San Diego

Saint Petersburg

Caring for Seniors: Welfare Center through the JDC Hesed Program 

Hesed is Hebrew for compassion. For tens of thousands of destitute elderly Jews across the former Soviet Union (FSU), each day is a bitter struggle for survival and they are in need of great compassion. We help provide it. Protein sources and critical medicines are unaffordable luxuries; the choice between going to bed hungry or shivering cold is the unthinkable reality. Nominal pensions and rising inflation plunges these elderly well below the poverty line, with no family or social safety net to break their fall. Despite having survived decades of Communist repression and Nazi terror, their last years are being spent as some of the poorest Jews in the world.

The Jewish Agency Day and Overnight camps 

Just like many Jewish youth around the globe, every year Jewish youngsters from St Petersburg and Northwest Russia get to experience The Jewish Agency Day and Overnight camps both during the summer and winter breaks, where they get to experience an immersive introduction to Jewish heritage, Jewish community, and Israel. Many campers return to camp over and over again, becoming highly motivated to stay connected and join the Jewish Agency’s and partner organization’s follow-up activities and youth clubs, eventually embarking on paths to become Jewish leaders poised to take responsibility for their Jewish future.


Gan Balagan 

is a Jewish kindergarten in Sofia, Bulgaria, with 65 children enrolled. Within the steadily reviving Jewish community of Sofia, Gan Balagan is creating a stepping stone for Jewish identity by placing children, often from families with little or no connection to Judaism, in a Jewish setting, in which they learn together, celebrate Jewish holidays and festivals, and form the bedrock of a stronger Jewish community. Funding for Gan Balagan subsidizes children's entry into the kindergarten, supports the training and education of teachers, and provides quality programming year-round. In this way, Gan Balagan benefits not only the children, but also creates a cadre of well-trained Jewish educators in the community.

San Diego

Global Partnership Program (GPP)

San Diego Federation’s strong belief in fostering people-to-people relationships with the global Jewish communities, led us to debut a unique Global Partnership Program between San Diego, CA; Sha’ar HaNegev, Israel; Sofia, Bulgaria, and St. Petersburg, Russia. The GPP brings together teens and program facilitators from each of the communities above monthly to explore how Jewishness is celebrated in each one of the locations, strengthen the sense of Jewish peoplehood, and develop lifelong relationships.