The Union for Reform Judaism’s Hurricane Relief Fund has now collected $447,500 for hurricane relief and has disbursed more than $100,000.
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. The URJ has allocated $42,500 to support Reform congregations, of that, $25,000 was sent to Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, NY, to support their relief efforts as they have become a primary coordination point for hurricane relief. The remaining $17,500 was allocated to congregations with families who are displaced or whose homes were severely damaged.
More than $11,000 has been designated for West End Temple in Neponsit, NY, which 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. Approximately $10,000 was allocated toward the Scholarships for Youth Impacted by Sandy, which aims to remove some of the financial barriers that might keep displaced teens from attending Reform Movement events when they need them most.
The URJ also sent $25,000 to New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), which provides free civil legal services to New Yorkers who cannot afford a private attorney. NYLAG has been helping victims with FEMA applications, public benefits, housing issues, insurance and other immediate legal needs.
Reform congregations all over North America are doing their part to help. Congregation Etz Chaim in Lombard, IL, sent more than 300 pounds of toiletries and personal items for children to Temple Shalom in Aberdeen, NJ. Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in Manhattan has donated 2,500 cans of soup, hundreds of pounds of cleaning supplies, and collected more than $29,000 to aid those in need. Last weekend, hundreds of congregants delivered goods to residents in Coney Island, the Far Rockaways, and Massapequa, NY. If your congregation wants to help, please make specific arrangements and verify needs in advance to avoid duplicating efforts or sending goods that are not needed. Please email me with any questions.
This is our third update about the Reform Movement’s response to the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy. To learn more or to read previous updates, visit the URJ’s Hurricane Relief page.