Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Jewish Federations Support Victims of Recent Tornadoes

As communities begin to assess the impact of the powerful tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest and South last week, The Jewish Federations of North America is directing support to those affected by the deadly storms.

The Jewish Community of Louisville has opened a Tornado Relief fund to help aid victims in the disaster areas. Jewish Federations should direct donors to send checks to JCL Tornado Relief, 3600 Dutchmans Lane, Louisville, KY 40205 or donate online by selecting the Tornado Relief Fund. Please indicate Tornado Relief Fund on all checks.

Although no Jewish communities were directly impacted by the tornadoes, and no Jewish institutions were damaged, many Jews are eager to help those who were affected. “Our hearts go out to our neighbors in Southern Indiana who are suffering tremendously in the wake of last week’s powerful storms,” said Stu Silberman, president and CEO of the Jewish Community of Louisville. “We are honored to play a role in helping restore lives by coordinating relief efforts from Jewish communities around the country.”

The Louisville Federation is in close proximity to some of the communities ravaged by the more than 40 deadly tornadoes that hit 10 states last Friday. According to press reports, the storms resulted in 40 deaths in five states, and hundreds of injuries. Many people lost their homes and need shelter and food.

“Henryville and Marysville, Ind. are just a few miles from Louisville, and our entire community is impacted by the suffering of neighbors so close to us,” said Silberman. “The Jewish Community of Louisville has been, and will always be, a part of any effort to help those less fortunate in our community.”
The Jewish Community of Louisville has partnered with the local United Way on relief efforts, as well as the Dare to Care Food Bank, which is providing food and personal hygiene products to families impacted by the storms. The Louisville Federation will also coordinate volunteer efforts to help assist tornado cleanup in nearby communities.

The JFNA Emergency Committee remains in close contact with the Louisville Federation and other disaster relief partners and continues to assess the situation. "JFNA sends our support to those affected by last week's storms," said Cheryl Fishbein, JFNA's Emergency Committee chair. "We applaud the Jewish Community of Louisville for leading the Jewish Federation efforts to provide emergency relief to those in need, and remain committed to helping these devastated communities rebuild and recover."

The Emergency Committee this week met with longtime partner NECHAMA, the Jewish disaster response organization. NECHAMA will begin a disaster-response cleanup operation in the Henryville and Marysville areas – where more than 500 homes have been damaged – this week.

JFNA is also working closely with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster and the Jewish Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. In addition, the National Association of Jewish Chaplains will deploy disaster chaplains in areas hit by the tornadoes. JFNA will continue to monitor the situation, and provide reports to Federations as necessary.

JFNA and Jewish Federations are committed to care for victims of global natural disasters, and have emergency relief plans in place to aid those in need. Last year, Jewish Federations raised thousands of dollars for those affected by widespread storms around the U.S., and more than $1 million for victims of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan. Other recent fundraising efforts included $30 million to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina, and $10 million in the aftermath of the southern Asia tsunami in 2004.


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