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November 26, 2014 | 4th Kislev 5775

Reform Judaism's Haiti Relief Fund Observes $1 million with Allocations

Allocations made to organizations engaged in rescue work and long-term recovery efforts.

Contact: Sean Thibault, 202.387.2800

NEW YORK, February 14, 2010 - The Union for Reform Judaism's Haiti Relief Fund, set up as a central response for Reform Jews and congregations to donate to disaster relief efforts, has surpassed $1 million in donations, of which nearly $500,000 has already been allotted to qualified relief agencies. The allocations, made to organizations engaged in rescue work and long-term recovery efforts, underscore the severity of the situation in Haiti.

As in the past, the Reform Movement's historically generous disaster relief efforts have mobilized and united congregations throughout the Reform Jewish community. So far, more than 9,000 individual donations have been made to the relief fund; sixty percent have been made through urj.org/haiti. Reform Jewish congregations throughout North America have used the Haiti Relief Fund as part of their communal response to the tragic earthquake.

Rabbi Marla Feldman, Director of Development for the Union for Reform Judaism, noted the Reform Jewish community's overwhelming response to relief efforts. "Reaching $1 million in donations is a testament to the way Reform Jews live out their values by supporting those most vulnerable and in need," she said. "Clergy, congregations, youth groups, and religious schools across the continent helped spread the word to make this relief effort a priority."

As donations flowed in, notes accompanied them. "In the coming months I shall strive to provide additional support through [you]," one donor wrote. "I feel that it is important to provide this help to these unfortunate victims ... In this way, Jews can show their compassion and concern for all of those suffering." Other donors included stories of impromptu congregational fundraisers, young children who donated the contents of their tzedakah boxes, and individuals on fixed-incomes who sent as much as they could and vowed to send more when they were able.

The initial allocations have been made largely to direct service agencies with clinics and relief workers in Haiti. International Medical Corps is the largest recipient so far, receiving more than $230,000 to help establish two clinics – one mobile and the other fixed – in rural areas outside Port-au-Prince. American Jewish World Service will receive $30,000 to fully fund the Socio-Cultural Movement of Haitian Workers' mobile clinic. The Union works cooperatively with the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief to coordinate relief efforts with others raising funds for Haiti, including the Joint Distribution Committee, American Jewish World Service, Mazon and the Jewish Federations of North America.

Additional allocations include Direct Relief International, UNICEF, United Israel Appeal Canada/Isra-Aid, Mercy Corps and others. A full list, including details of funded projects, can be found at urj.org/haiti. Further funding, to be announced in the coming weeks, will focus on supporting long-term recovery efforts.

The Union for Reform Judaism retains no overhead expenses for disaster relief donations, other than direct costs such as credit card fees. Donations can be made in both U.S. and Canadian dollars.

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