The past few weeks have wreaked devastation and catastrophic damage, and caused trauma from Houston to Florida, Puerto Rico to St. Thomas. But hurricane season is far from over, and natural disasters seem to be causing crises with greater frequency and intensity.

 

 

 

Help us help the victims of these disasters.

Our network of local and international partners serves Jewish community members and all in need quickly, effectively, and with personal care. We fund urgently-needed basics like food and medicine, and long-term needs like trauma counseling.

 

One hundred percent of funds raised will be used to help those impacted by catastrophic flooding and damage caused by natural disasters in 2017.

Updates from the Jewish Federations of North America (As of 10/27/17)

 

JFNA’s Emergency Committee, and many of our Federations on the front lines of addressing natural disasters, have had an extraordinarily busy and taxing eight weeks since the start of Hurricane Harvey. We thank all of our Federations and Network communities who have worked to mobilize support and resources through our Jewish Federation system in addressing the many urgent needs arising from these disasters.

 

Following is an update on the work of our system to date:

 

Hurricane Harvey

Seven weeks following the end of the rain, Houston and the other areas affected by Hurricane Harvey are still in fairly early stages of recovery.  With more than 2,000 Jewish homes flooded, and 8 major institutional facilities in the Jewish community sustaining catastrophic damage, the scope of issues facing the Houston Jewish community are enormous.

 

To date approximately $17.9M has been raised through the Jewish Federation system, as follows:

 

  • $6.5M raised by Jewish Federations across North America

  • $9.1M raised by the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston

  • $1.3M contributed by Jewish Foundations (does not include foundation grants to local Federations or the Houston Federation, which are incorporated in the figures above)

  • $1M committed by the Government of Israel

 

Of this amount, over $12M has been allocated through the Houston Federation and the national Emergency Committee process to provide direct relief to flood victims (trauma counseling, case management and financial assistance), to help these individuals and families to stay connected to Jewish life and community, and to address institutional sustainability and repair issues. The focus of the Jewish Federations’ national funding is primarily in the area of relief to flood victims. While the primary focus is on the enormous impact of the flood in Houston, our Emergency Committee has also worked with the small communities in Galveston and Beaumont to assist those communities.

 

JFNA’s Emergency Committee is meeting again during the week of October 30th to consider a significant further allocation of national funds.

 

Hurricanes Irma and Maria

The impact on mainland Florida from Hurricane Irma was less severe than anticipated, especially for the larger concentrations of Jewish population on Florida’s east coast.  While the larger communities in South Florida (Miami, Broward County, South Palm Beach and Palm Beach) were generally able to address the issues in their own communities and extend assistance to other communities, there was heavier impact on some of the smaller communities further north (Collier County, Jacksonville, and St. Augustine). A unique role was fulfilled by Chabad across numerous Florida communities in providing congregate and home-delivered meals to seniors and others affected by prolonged power outages.​

 

The biggest impact of these storms have been felt in the islands off the coast of Florida, within and beyond the US border - Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the Florida Keys, Cuba, and others.  The national Emergency Committee has focused on the US communities affected, while our partner, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, is supporting Cuba and other island nations.  The major focus of our efforts has been in Puerto Rico and St. Thomas, which are both characterized by small Jewish communities deeply affected amidst a sea of misery well-documented in the news media.

 

None of these communities have communal infrastructure beyond individual synagogues and our support has primarily been directly to affected individuals through the various congregations, and supporting the work of IsraAID and the AFYA Foundation, who are providing humanitarian assistance to the Jewish communities and on a significant non-sectarian basis.

 

As several of our large Federations are working directly with partners in their own communities or international aid organizations with which they have relationships, the financial information that follows reflects only the funds remitted to JFNA:

 

Funds Remitted to date in response to Hurricanes Irma/Maria:  $900,000

 

Allocations:                                                                                                         $530,000

 

Mainland Florida Communities:

  • Jewish Federation of Broward County    - $  20,000

  • Chabad of Broward County                         - $  50,000

  • Collier County Jewish Federation              - $  45,000

  • Jacksonville Jewish Federation                  - $  20,000

  • Pinellas County                                                 - $  25,000

 

Island Communities:

  • Key West congregations                               - $  30,000

  • Puerto Rico congregations                           - $135,000

  • St. Thomas congregations                            - $  75,000

  • IsraAID in Puerto Rico                                    - $  80,000

  • AFYA Foundation                                             - $  50,000

 

In addition to these funds, with the financial support of UJA Federation of New York, JFNA was able to acquire and deliver 212 urgently needed generators to Jewish communities in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and the Keys for distribution to members of the Jewish community and others in need.  Several of our Federations, most notably New York, Miami, Broward, and South Palm Beach have all been engaged in direct relief efforts in the island communities which are not reflected in these numbers.

 

At its meeting next week, JFNA’s Emergency Committee will be considering further allocations.

 

North Bay Fires in California

The most recent focus of disaster relief efforts has been in response to the extensive wildfires in Napa and Sonoma counties in California.  Over the period it took to get the fires contained, a very extensive area was devastated by the fires, resulting in the loss of 7,000.

 

Within the Jewish community, dozens of Jewish homes were destroyed by fire, and URJ’s Camp Newman was also largely destroyed.  The Jewish Federation of San Francisco, The Peninsula, Marin, and Sonoma Counties and the Jewish Federation of the East Bay Jewish Federation partnered together to create the North Bay Wildfire Relief Fund, and have coordinated their relief efforts during and in the immediate aftermath of the fires.  JFNA has not established a separate national fund and encourages all Federations to direct relief funds to the joint fund established by the Bay Area federations. For more information, click here.
 

News from Affected Areas

  • Hurricane Aftermath Wreaks Havoc With High Holidays In Virgin Islands

    (Forward) - The damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the curfew imposed in its aftermath has affected Jewish life during the High Holidays in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a rabbi there told The Washington Post.

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    (Forward) - The damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the curfew imposed in its aftermath has affected Jewish life during the High Holidays in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a rabbi there told The Washington Post.

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    (Forward) - The damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the curfew imposed in its aftermath has affected Jewish life during the High Holidays in the U.S. Virgin Islands, a rabbi the...

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    (Forward) - The damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the curfew imposed in its aftermath has affected Jewish...

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    (Forward) - The damage caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria and the curfew impo...

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  • It’s a one-two punch for the Maryland rabbi who relocated to the Caribbean

    (The Washington Post) - When last I spoke with Rabbi Michael Feshbach — who a few months ago traded the leadership of Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Md., for a historic synagogue in the U.S. Virgin Islands — he had just survived Hurricane Irma.

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    (The Washington Post) - When last I spoke with Rabbi Michael Feshbach — who a few months ago traded the leadership of Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Md., for a historic synagogue in the U.S. Virgin Islands — he had just survived Hurricane Irma.

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    (The Washington Post) - When last I spoke with Rabbi Michael Feshbach — who a few months ago traded the leadership of Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Md., for a historic synagogue in the U...

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    (The Washington Post) - When last I spoke with Rabbi Michael Feshbach — who a few months ago traded the leadership o...

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  • ISRAEL SENDS 70 HOME FRONT COMMAND SOLDIERS TO MEXICO IN QUAKE AFTERMATH

    (The Jerusalem Post) - The delegation's mission is to assist in the mapping and scanning of buildings that were damaged in the quake.

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    (The Jerusalem Post) - The delegation's mission is to assist in the mapping and scanning of buildings that were damaged in the quake.

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    (The Jerusalem Post) - The delegation's mission is to assist in the mapping and scanning of buildings that were damaged in the quake.

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    (The Jerusalem Post) - The delegation's mission is to assist in the mapping and scanning of buildings that were damage...

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    (The Jerusalem Post) - The delegation's mission is to assist in the mapping an...

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  • After Hurricane Maria disrupts Rosh Hashanah, Puerto Rico’s Jews vow...

    (Jewish Journal) - Rabbi Norman Patz stood on a 13th-floor balcony overlooking the flooded streets, stripped trees and downed power lines of the Condado neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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    (Jewish Journal) - Rabbi Norman Patz stood on a 13th-floor balcony overlooking the flooded streets, stripped trees and downed power lines of the Condado neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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    (Jewish Journal) - Rabbi Norman Patz stood on a 13th-floor balcony overlooking the flooded streets, stripped trees and downed power lines of the Condado neighborhood of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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    (Jewish Journal) - Rabbi Norman Patz stood on a 13th-floor balcony overlooking the flooded streets, stripped trees and...

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    (Jewish Journal) - Rabbi Norman Patz stood on a 13th-floor balcony overlooking...

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  • Jews and Palestinians work side-by-side to rebuild home hit by Hurricane

    (The Times of Israel) - New Jersey Jewish volunteers say the storm brought about an opportunity for bridge building, fulfilling American vision of melting pot

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    (The Times of Israel) - New Jersey Jewish volunteers say the storm brought about an opportunity for bridge building, fulfilling American vision of melting pot

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    (The Times of Israel) - New Jersey Jewish volunteers say the storm brought about an opportunity for bridge building, fulfilling American vision of melting pot

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    (The Times of Israel) - New Jersey Jewish volunteers say the storm brought about an opportunity for bridge building, f...

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    (The Times of Israel) - New Jersey Jewish volunteers say the storm brought abo...

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  • Joint Distribution Committee still responding to crises Jewishly

    (The Jewish Advocate) — In this year of crippling natural disasters, we are comforted knowing the American Joint Distribution Committee still provides humanitarian relief to and on behalf of Jews around the world, as it has done for over a century.

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    (The Jewish Advocate) — In this year of crippling natural disasters, we are comforted knowing the American Joint Distribution Committee still provides humanitarian relief to and on behalf of Jews around the world, as it has done for over a century.

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    (The Jewish Advocate) — In this year of crippling natural disasters, we are comforted knowing the American Joint Distribution Committee still provides humanitarian relief to and on behal...

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  • JDC responds to Mexican earthquake, continues hurricane relief efforts

    (Arizona Jewish Post) - The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is responding to the devastating 7.1 earthquake in Central Mexico, immediately supporting the search, rescue, and emergency aid efforts of CADENA, its Mexican Jewish humanitarian partner, in hard-hit Mexico City.

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    (Arizona Jewish Post) - The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is responding to the devastating 7.1 earthquake in Central Mexico, immediately supporting the search, rescue, and emergency aid efforts of CADENA, its Mexican Jewish humanitarian partner, in hard-hit Mexico City.

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    (Arizona Jewish Post) - The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is responding to the devastating 7.1 earthquake in Central Mexico, immediately supporting the search, rescue, and e...

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    (Arizona Jewish Post) - The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is responding to the devastating 7.1 earthqua...

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    (Arizona Jewish Post) - The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee is re...

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    (Arizona Jewish Post) - The American Jewish Join...

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  • When Kosher Food Ran Short In Houston After Hurricane Harvey, Dallas...

    (KERA News) — Hurricane Harvey flooded homes, bakeries and grocery stores across Houston, forcing many Jewish families who keep kosher to survive on crackers from the corner store.

    So North Texas kosher caterers took action, and set off for Houston bearing brisket and much more.

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    (KERA News) — Hurricane Harvey flooded homes, bakeries and grocery stores across Houston, forcing many Jewish families who keep kosher to survive on crackers from the corner store.

    So North Texas kosher caterers took action, and set off for Houston bearing brisket and much more.

    Read More

    (KERA News) — Hurricane Harvey flooded homes, bakeries and grocery stores across Houston, forcing many Jewish families who keep kosher to survive on crackers from the corner store.

    So...

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    (KERA News) — Hurricane Harvey flooded homes, bakeries and grocery stores across Houston, forcing many Jewish famili...

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    (KERA News) — Hurricane Harvey flooded homes, bakeries and grocery stores ac...

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    (KERA News) — Hurricane Harvey flooded homes, ...

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