Dear Congregation Beth Israel members and friends,
Late last week, I met with a group of northern Berkshire clergy to talk about our community’s needs in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. (We’d planned the meeting as the storm was brewing, remembering the devastation left by Tropical Storm Irene last year.) When we met, it quickly became clear that for the most part, we in northern Berkshire are fine.
I’m grateful that our region was spared — and my heart goes out to those whose lives have been disrupted, damaged, or destroyed by the storm. Several of you have asked me what we can do and how we can help those who are suffering. In my understanding, the best way to help is to donate money to a reputable organization whom we trust to use funds responsibly and well. Here are a few options:
- The Jewish Federations of North America has opened the JFNA Hurricane Relief Fund to contribute to recovery and rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Donors are urged to contribute through the online donation form at http://JFeds.org/SandyRelief. Or, text RELIEF to 51818 on a mobile device to pledge a donation. Donors may also send checks to the national mailbox at The Jewish Federations of North America, Wall Street Station, PO Box 148, New York, NY 10268. Please indicate “JFNA Hurricane Relief Fund” on all checks or in the designation box online.
- The American Red Cross also has a hurricane relief fund: American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy. “The Red Cross continues to focus on reaching as many people as possible who need our help. Your help is urgently needed to continue to support relief efforts. Getting supplies and meals and water into affected areas is the top priority… Please donate today. Financial donations make the greatest and most immediate impact, helping the Red Cross provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance to those affected by disasters like Hurricane Sandy.”
- The Masbia Soup Kitchen has been providing meals at shelters throughout New York City. You can donate money to their efforts here.
- Donate blood. As CNN notes (How to help after the superstorm), the Red Cross had to cancel about 300 blood drives because of the storm; even if you’re not able to donate funds, you could reach out to the Red Cross and schedule a blood donation.
- Occupy Sandy Hacks Amazon’s Wedding Registry (In a Good Way!) “Those displaced by the storm, the group realized, need blankets. They need flashlights. They need hygiene products. They need a bunch of things that are orderable — with that famous one-click efficiency — through Amazon. Now, anyone who uses Amazon can buy them those things, and have them shipped to the area hardest hit by the storm. Victims need stuff; people want to give them stuff; Occupy Sandy, via Amazon, is bringing them together.”
Thank you for caring and for wanting to help those in need. When we extend ourselves and give tzedakah, we open channels through which blessing can flow.