Saturday evening, when Shabbat ended, the first news I heard was the terrible devastation of an earthquake in Nepal. The next information was that the IDF was immediately preparing medical teams and emergency supplies to assist in relief work. As always, Israel is either first, or one of the first nations, to provide help and one of the last to remain on the ground until their work is done.
It's at times like this, that our shared commitment to Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, finds its deepest expression. In the past, Federations have worked through our partners to provide immediate relief and long-term assistance to victims of natural and manmade disasters around the globe, including the Philippines, Haiti, Japan, and South Asia after the Indian Ocean Tsunami and continue to operate programs designed to rebuild infrastructure and community life in disaster-stricken regions.
That is what Israel does as its part in tikkun olam. What we can do is what Jews have always done during crisis.... we can contribute tzedekah.
The Israeli airplanes have already landed and they have set up the first operational hospital. They are already helping Israeli backpackers, evacuating parents and their newborns, and trying to clear the way to move debris and rescue all those who may be buried under rubble. More than 260 doctors, medical personnel and Israeli soldiers are working to save the lives of the wounded and search and rescue teams are hard at work. The Israeli Embassy and the Chabad house have become safe havens for hundreds of Jews and other travelers to Nepal.
We are grateful for all those who are helping in Nepal after this gigantic tremblor. Thousands have died; thousands more have been injured and many are still missing. We join with people around the world in conveying our condolences for the losses to the Nepalese people and in praying for the well-being of the injured.
Now it is our turn to respond with the same alacrity that the IDF and JDC have.
We thank you in advance...
Sydney A. Perry
CEO, Jewish Federation
President, Jewish Federation