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The United Jewish Communities held a conference this week in Miami to promote its Negev Work Group, an outfit devoted to settling Israel’s Negev desert, according to the Jerusalem Post.
The group heard about Negev Work Group project ideas that are to be piloted imminently. A program that is to be adopted by the UJC-coordinated Otzma volunteer program, and MASA, a government and Jewish Agency program for 18-30 year olds, for example, will see 50 North American college graduates teaching English in Arad, Yeroham and Dimona in September.
Despite the harsh economic climate, Blumer said she was pleased with the conference turnout, with 60 people attending, instead of the projected 25. She also underlined that the conference went "beyond the dollars," "It would be wonderful if there were more dollars, but I think it’s a question of working together… Most of our Federations involved in partnerships have invested dollars over the years and this has been continuing. Whether there will be more on the table, who can tell now. Certainly, we all have our commitments there and I think we honor them very seriously."
Although no specific outcomes had been outlined due to each Federation operating independently, according to Blumer, the idea of partnership ran deep throughout the event, and the UJC hopes to build on it.