Across Israel, Meir Panim responds to the growing needs of the country’s 1.75 million impoverished residents through various food and social service programs.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington established a legal defense fund for Jews being held wrongfully because of their Jewishness and will assist Alan Gross, who is in prison in Cuba.
Financial contributions will be used to help cover the legal defense of Jews in the United States and throughout the world who the council believes have been wrongfully charged or imprisoned.
Funds also will be used to cover costs associated with advocating for the prisoners.
The council cited the Jewish value of Pidyon Shvuyim, or redeeming the captive, in a statement announcing the new fund.
The tax-deductible charitable contributions cannot be earmarked for a particular person.
The first funds will be used to help Gross, who has been jailed in Cuba since December 2009 and is serving a 15-year sentence for “crimes against the state.”
According to the Gross family and the U.S. State Department, the Maryland man was in Cuba on a U.S. Agency for International Development contract to help connect the country’s 1,500-strong Jewish community with other Jewish communities via the Internet.
The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington has been advocating on Gross’ behalf, organizing vigils and spearheading legislation to help free Gross.
A U.S. congressional delegation this week arrived in Cuba to press for his release.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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