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October 10, 2015 | 27th Tishrei 5776

URJ Hurricane Relief Update - Dec. 6, 2012

Below is a comprehensive update of the
URJ Hurricane Relief Efforts to date.

General: The Union for Reform Judaism's Hurricane Relief Fund has now collected nearly $515,000 for Hurricane Sandy relief and has disbursed more than $155,000.


  • 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 started working with JVOAD - Jewish Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters to maximize resources and ensure that relief efforts are not being duplicated. 
  • The URJ is grateful for several large donations: a $100,000 anonymous grant, $18,000 from the National Association of Temple Administration, $10,000 each from the Benjamin Slome Charitable Foundation, Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York, The Bill and Kirith Prady Foundation, and an anonymous foundation.

    Collected: $513,208
  • General Relief: $488,346
  • Youth Scholarships: $10,281
  • West End Temple: $14,281

Allocated: $155,000

Allocations: The URJ allocates funds in three stages: immediate, mid-term and long-term recovery. Funds will be disbursed slowly to ensure that those severely impacted will receive the long-term support they need.

First round of allocations:

  • $75,000 to support Reform congregations:
    • $5,000 was sent to Woodlands Community Temple to help families replace their lost Judaica.
    • $7,500 was sent to North Shore Synagogue in Syosset, Long Island, to provide three meals a day to displaced families. 
    • $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.
    • $25,000 was sent to West End Temple in Neponsit, Queens for organizational assistance in their rebuilding process over the next year. 
    • The remaining $17,500 was allocated to congregations with families who are displaced or whose homes were severely damaged.
  • $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.
  • $50,000 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.

Special Funds:

Youth Scholarship Fund:This fund helps youth remain connected with their Jewish community at a time when their belongings and physical structure may be damaged or lost by removing financial barriers that could keep displaced youth from their communities when they need it most.The Women of Reform Judaism contributed $10,000 to this fund.

West End Temple: West End Temple suffered significant damage from Hurricane Sandy. The URJ has been collecting funds on behalf of West End Temple until they have electricity and their online system is functional.

  • More than $14,000 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.
  • The Men of Reform Judaism's Reform on Campus grantees donated $500 in the form of Target gift cards to West End Temple.

Congregations take action: Reform congregations all over North America are doing their part to help. If your congregation is doing something special to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, please let us know by sending an email to

  • 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.
  • 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
  • Temple Shalom in Naples, FL, is coordinating with Temple Sinai in Massapequa, NY, to sponsor a Shabbat dinner for all the congregation's families.
  • Congregation Beth Elohim has coordinated hundreds of volunteers to deliver food, clothing, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies and more to residents in affected areas and at evacuation shelters. Yesterday, volunteers successfully aided in the evacuation of 40 elderly residents in high rise buildings without heat or power just before the latest storm hit the Northeast. They are hiring a part-time staff member to coordinate their volunteer efforts.
  • Monmouth Reform Temple is collecting gift card donations for Lowes, Home Depot, Target, and Kmart to help local residents suffering in the wake of the storm.
  • Moses Montefiore Congregation in Bloomington, IL, cooked, packaged and froze complete meals for families. Eight boxes of food was shipped overnight to Temple Am Echad in Lynbrook, NY, and was distributed to families in need.
  • Temple Sinai of Roslyn opened its doors to the local communities to "Re-charge at Temple Sinai", the temple organized a holiday event for costumed children anxious for candy and some semblance of normalcy on Halloween. And when the temple’s nursery school opened, far in advance of public schools in the area, nursery school children’s siblings and other family members were welcomed. They also held a donation drive on Veteran’s Day with over 50 volunteers and donations from local businesses.
  • The staff at the URJ's New York City office has collected more than 163 pounds of food and supplies and have volunteered with Nechama to help out in hard-hit areas.

For more information, visit the URJ Hurricane Sandy webpage.

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