|The JDC-Brookdale Institute was established as an independent non-profit organization in 1974 with a grant from the Brookdale Foundation and as a partnership between the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (AJJDC) and the Government of Israel.
In 2004, this partnership was expanded to include the Cleveland-based David and Inez Myers Foundation and in recognition the Institute was renamed the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute.
The Institute's original focus was on addressing the challenges of an aging society. This has included the needs of the rapidly increasing numbers of disabled elderly, with a focus on the development of community services to allow the disabled elderly to remain in their homes and the planning, implementation and monitoring of the Community Long-term Insurance Law, effective since 1988. Other central issues have included the employment of older workers; the retirement age and an adequate pension system; and promoting healthier and more active lifestyles.
The contributions that the Institute made in the field of aging in Israel led to the expansion of its program into additional areas high on the national agenda.
In 1988, at the request of the Government of Israel and in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health, the Institute established the center for health policy research in order to contribute to ongoing reforms in the health care system and to help health care providers improve efficiency and effectiveness. The Institute was very involved in helping develop the National Health Insurance Law that was passed in the mid 90s and since, has been monitoring its implementation. In 2004, the Institute received a generous endowment gift from Carol and Irv Smokler. In recognition of this gift, the health policy center was renamed the Smokler Center for Health Policy Research.
The Center for Research on Immigrant Absorption was established with the dramatic increase in the levels of immigration to Israel in the early 1990s. Institute studies have contributed to the country’s ability to successfully integrate immigrants into society, especially in the areas of education and employment. There has been a particular focus on the large number of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and on the special challenges faced by Ethiopian immigrants.
The Center for Research on Disabilities and Special Populations was established in 1994 to help the social service system ensure the well-being of its disabled citizens and their integration and contribution to society. The Center's research program focuses on employment and housing, promoting opportunities for disabled children and enhancing the rehabilitation and inclusion of the mentally ill. A major focus has been on the planning, implementation and monitoring of the Special Education Law that was passed in 1988, and subsequent expansions.
In 1995, the Center for Children and Youth was established at the Institute to promote the well-being of children and youth. The center addresses issues concerning early childhood, special needs of children and youth in immigrant and Arab communities, and promotes better opportunities for disadvantaged and marginal youth as well as greater integration and achievement of weak students in the education system. In 2004, the Institute received a generous endowment gift from Alfred and Gail Engelberg. In recognition of this gift, the center was renamed the Engelberg Center for Children and Youth.
The Institute has also developed a series of cross-cutting programs that relate to issues that are relevant to all its divisions. These programs work in close cooperation with the Institute’s various research centers, utilizing their knowledge and expertise, and include:
Quality Assurance in the Social Services
: This program seeks to improve the quality of care in residential and community services through the development of objective, systematic and uniform methods of regulation.
Manpower Evaluation and Social Planning
: This program assists in the development and implementation of training programs for professional leadership in the public sector; provides a better understanding of the quality of services provided by professionals, paraprofessionals, and volunteers serving populations at risk; and helps decision makers at the local level create a more systematic approach to determining needs and priorities regarding the development of services for populations at risk.
Employment and Poverty
: This program provides a better understanding of the patterns of employment and earnings, as well as the levels of dependency and poverty among of disadvantaged groups in Israel and supports major reforms aimed at creating more independence and ending the cycle of poverty.
Learning from Success and Ongoing Learning in Human Service Organizations
: The Institute works closely with various government ministries to introduce and advance organizational learning processes and to introduce them into services. An extensive program has been implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Social Affairs and a major new initiative has been launched in partnership with the Ministry of Education.
Arab Population in Israel
: This program identifies the social, educational, health and employment needs of Arab-Israelis, and how the system is addressing these needs. Institute studies include those that focus exclusively on this population group or, equally important, national studies in which Arab-Israelis are represented as a subgroup, thereby providing a comparative perspective within Israel’s general population.
Middle East Cooperation and Exchange
: This program, a partnership of the Institute, JDC-Israel and JDC-IDP, develops and implements cooperative activities in the Middle East such as professional-to-professional seminars, research and technical assistance. The current focuses are on the health and well-being of children and youth; the disabled and their rehabilitation; and the empowerment of women in the health field.
Cooperation and Exchange among Jewish Communities
: The Institute continues to be a major resource to the Jewish world. It works with North American Jewish federations, the UJC and other Diaspora organizations in their activities in Israel, conducts professional exchanges and collaborative research and conducts research in communities outside of Israel (such as the FSU).
International Cooperation and Exchange
: The Institute participates in international professional exchange programs, collaborative research projects and multi-national conferences with leading universities, institutes and organizations worldwide. Of special note is the role of the Institute as a Collaborating Center of the World Health Organization.