Hurricane Relief Fund
Rather send a check? Please make it payable to JFNA and mail to:
The Jewish Federations of North America
Wall Street Station
PO Box 157
New York, NY 10268
Please indicate which Hurricane Relief Fund you would like your donation to go towards; Harvey, Irma, and/or Maria
Help us help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Maria, and other 2017 hurricane victims.
Our network of local and international partners enables us to respond quickly and effectively. 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 cause by hurricanes in 2017.
Hurricane Irma Relief Fund
A check in the amount of $2,000 was issued to JFNA from the Jewish Federation NEPA’s Emergency Fund and directed to the Hurricane Irma Relief Fund.
While the overall impact of Hurricane Irma on communities will not reach the scale of Houston, emergency resources to help affected communities and families recover will be much needed.
In most of Florida and the neighboring states to the north, Hurricane Irma has had varying degrees of impact. For the most part, the areas with the largest Jewish populations on the east coast were spared significant damage. The most severe damage to homes and communal institutions are in Key West, Miami, Naples, Jacksonville and St. Augustine. $40,000 has been provided by JFNA to Florida Federations for food relief and cash assistance needs.
In addition, there are smaller communities up through Georgia that are reporting the need for some assistance for families and infrastructure. For that reason, JFNA has provided a grant to Temple Beth Tefilloh (Brunswick, GA) to support urgent cash assistance needs.
The long power outages in the week following the storm created a significant short-term health issue, especially for seniors, and several Federations and Chabad engaged in extensive outreach, visiting, and food and water delivery efforts.
The JFNA Emergency Committee provided emergency grants to several local Federations in late September. Other Federations took emergency response actions and the JFNA Emergency Committee will consider further grants to support these efforts as needed.
JFNA is still assessing longer-range needs across the broad number of communities hit by Irma. The truly severe impact from Irma has been in the Florida Keys and U.S. Virgin Islands (St. Thomas) where enormous damage to power grids, airports, shipping ports, water supplies, medical systems and more have brought daily life to a standstill.
In addition, many homes were damaged; some completely ruined. Many people have been evacuated from both locales, but there are small numbers of Jews who will not leave because they are involved professionally in government, medicine or other critical fields.
The lack of communal infrastructure beyond the individual synagogue level in these areas provides additional challenges for the JFNA which is why it is in constant contact with and is supporting these synagogue-based communities in both areas.
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund
A check in the amount of $2,000 was issued to JFNA from the Jewish Federation NEPA’s Emergency Fund and directed to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund.
The past five weeks since the start of Hurricane Harvey have seen the biggest succession of massive natural disasters in North American history. JFNA’s Emergency Committee process has been stretched beyond capacity by the number of events and locales requiring urgent attention.
The devastation across the Houston region generally and in the Jewish communities of southern Texas is on the scale of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. With an estimated 2,000 homes flooded and seven major Jewish community facilities severely damaged, the short, near and long-term needs for the Jewish community are now estimated in excess of $30M only half of which has been raised to date.
As of October 3rd, more than $15 million has been raised. This includes $5.8M raised in Houston, $6M from Federations across North America, $2.2M from national Jewish foundations, and $1M from the Government of Israel.
These funds, from federations, foundations and the Government of Israel, are already being put to work. Of the 51,000 Jews who live in Houston, 71% live in areas affected by flooding. 14% of Jewish day school students and 20% of day school staff have confirmed flooding. Seven major Houston Jewish institutions have suffered catastrophic flood damage including three of the largest synagogues and a day school. Seven Acres, with one of the largest Alzheimer’s care units in the country, experienced complete flooding on its first floor. Residents had to be relocated.
JFNA has deployed three teams of JFNA and Federation professionals to Houston to provide direct assistance to the Federation and the community in mobilizing its massive response to the flooding.
In addition, JFNA is working with the Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies to mobilize similar teams of JFS professionals to support the local Houston JFS with additional staff resources. The small neighboring communities of Galveston and Beaumont/Port Arthur have a number of Jewish families with severely flooded homes as well.
As noted above, as at October 3rd, $15M in funds have been raised to date for Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.
Recipients of these funds have included……..
- the Houston Federation thereby enabling it to provide emergency cash assistance, short-term relocation costs for schools displaced by the flooding, educational scholarships, replacement of equipment for the JCC’s seniors programs, costs to ensure High Holiday services for flooded congregations, capitalization of a new flood-related free loan program, and an initial JFNA emergency grant for the Federation to deploy as needed. (Note: These funds are in addition to $2M in restricted funds allocated to day school scholarships and capital repair needs. Significant additional funds are also in the process of being deployed by JFNA but have not yet been formally approved.)
- the Beaumont/Port Arthur and Galveston Jewish communities which were provided with funds to be administered through their local congregations and/or Houston JFS, and
- Nechama for their emergency response efforts in Houston and the surrounding region. Nechama is a volunteer American Jewish organization that provides natural disaster preparedness, response, and recovery services nationwide.
The draft breakdown of anticipated costs to date is as follows:
AID TO FAMILIES ($5.3M)
In the first few days after the hurricane, displaced and affected families urgently needed emergency cash assistance grants to help with transportation, clothing, food, supplies, and temporary housing. Camps opened to provide beds and a safe place for children. Later, grants and loans will be given to help rebuild homes and compensate for other financial hardships.
REBUILDING INFRASTRUCTURE ($9M
Seven major facilities that form the backbone of the Houston Jewish community were devastated. These critical institutions are needed to educate children, engage teens, care for the elderly, and sustain a vibrant Jewish spiri
SUPPORTING SCHOOLS ($1.3M)
Hundreds of day school families are impacted by flooding and struggling to meet basic needs. Maintaining a commitment to Jewish education is out of their reach without substantial scholarship support.
MAINTAINING JEWISH LIFE ($4.5M)
The Evelyn Rubenstein JCC’s operating revenue loss threatens the sustainability of this crucial Houstonian Jewish hub, which once supported a vast campus with multiple facilities and an impressive array of programs.
BOLSTERING RECOVERY ($3M)
Hundreds of thousands of people have been impacted. It will take an effort that reaches across all boundaries to help everyone get back on their feet.
OFFERING TRAUMA SUPPORT ($800K)
Families that have been flooded out of their homes – some two or three times in less than three years – require assistance from expert therapists.
RESTORING SYNAGOGUES ($3.4M)
Three of the largest synagogues in Houston incurred catastrophic damage, and many others are flooded and have leached toxins. Thousands of congregants had no place to go for the High Holidays and other religious and life cycle events.
ACTIVATING VOLUNTEERS ($250K)
Volunteers from Houston and around the world have come to remove debris and offer comfort.
INCREASING CAPACITY ($25K)
Rotating teams of experienced Federation staff from around the country are providing holistic and integrated support for Jewish community institutions and their leaders.
Hurricane Maria Relief Fund
Hurricane Maria has had a crushing impact on several island nations and in Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rican Jewish community is about 1,500 people. It has two synagogues and a Chabad presence. The entire power grid for the island may be out for 4-6 months and the challenges ahead for the Jewish community there and for the general population are enormous.
As reports from these island communities identified a critical need for generators, JFNA has purchased 212 generators in Florida (at a cost of $142,000) with funds provided by the UJA Federation of New York.
It is also working actively with local leadership in Puerto Rico and St. Thomas to bring assistance to the island as quickly as possible. It has provided $125,000 to several Puerto Rico and St. Thomas Jewish congregations for urgent cash assistance needs in their respective communities (as noted above), and, in addition, it has provided $50,000 to the Afya Foundation* to support the shipping to two containers with $200,000 of donated medical, emergency and construction supplies for Puerto Rico and St. Thomas.
It is also working with leadership from the South Palm Beach Federation in coordinating logistics to move 80,000 pounds of donated food and other urgent supplies to the islands.
IsraAid has a team operating in Puerto Rico as well. It is working directly with the Jewish community there as well as with the JDC. Together, they have been coordinating emergency responses in several island nations outside the U.S. that have been affected (Cuba, British Virgin Islands, etc.). In response, JFNA has provided $80,000 to IsraAid to support this deployment in Puerto Rico for providing emergency assistance and trauma counseling.
*The Afya Foundation collects and delivers critically-needed surplus medical supplies, hospital equipment, and humanitarian provisions for acute and ongoing health crises worldwide especially in developing countries in Africa and the Caribbean.