Hurricane Sandy: A URJ Relief Update

This is our second update about the Reform Movement’s response to the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy. To learn more or to read the previous update, visit the URJ’s Hurricane Relief page.

The Union for Reform Judaism’s Hurricane Relief Fund has now collected $326,000 for Hurricane Relief, including recent donations of $18,000 from the National Association of Temple Administrators and $10,000 from the Women of Reform Judaism’s YES Fund toward the Scholarships for Youth Impacted by Sandy fund, which aims to remove some of the financial barriers that might keep displaced teens from attending Reform Movement events when they need them most.

More than $8,000 has been designated for West End Temple, a Reform congregation in Neponsit, NY, that suffered significant damage from Hurricane Sandy. The URJ will be collecting funds on behalf of West End Temple until they have electricity and their online system is functional.

URJ distributed $25,000 to NECHAMA, the Jewish Response to Disaster, to build additional response capacity by scaling up human capital and their inventory of tools, equipment, supplies and vehicles on the ground.  NECHAMA personnel arrived in New Jersey less than 18 hours after Hurricane Sandy made landfall, worked through the nor’easter and deployed their entire staff to manage volunteers, assist individuals and  organizations with clean up and preparation for rebuilding. The URJ has also partnered with NECHAMA to collect contact information for those who are able to volunteer for the recovery efforts. To add your name to the list, please visit urj.org/sandy.

In addition to collecting funds and referring volunteers, the URJ’s Congregational Network Staff has been reaching out to all congregations affected by the storm and advising congregational leaders on how to best help individual congregants and continue providing services to congregants despite damaged synagogue facilities.

Many Reform congregations from outside the affected region have mobilized to help those in distress. Temple Oheb Shalom in Baltimore, MD, has dispatched six trucks filled with food, clothing, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, pet supplies, and more to Staten Island, Freeport, Tom’s River, Upper Nyack and Oceanside. And Temple Shalom in Naples, FL, is coordinating with Temple Sinai in Massapequa, NY, to sponsor a Shabbat dinner for all the congregation’s families.