Below is a comprehensive update of the URJ Hurricane Relief
Efforts to date.
Union for Reform Judaism's Hurricane Relief Fund has now collected
$782,795 for Hurricane Sandy relief and has disbursed more than $427,000.
General Relief: $742,711
Youth Scholarships: $10,681
West End Temple in Neponsit, NY: $29,403
URJ's Congregational Network Staff continues to work with all congregations
affected by the storm and advising congregational leaders on how to best
help individual congregants and continue providing services to congregants.
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.
The remaining $19,500 was allocated to
congregations with families who are displaced or whose homes were
$60,000 to Friends of Rockaway (FoR), a neighborhood
council in Queens, NY that formed after Hurricane Sandy. FoR hires
unemployed Rockaway residents to properly gut homes that were
destroyed by the hurricane. Michael Sinensky, co-founder of Friends of
the Rockaway, recognized the Reform Movement's help and said,
"We're rebuilding with our own people and it's an amazing thing.
People are recognizing the fact that we are one of the only local
groups in Rockaway not only doing relief, but rebuilding."
$50,000 to Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, NY,
which has been providing meals and organizing volunteers since
Hurricane Sandy (primarily in Coney Island and the Rockaways); provide
a hub for a diverse group of people from across religious, socioeconomic
and geographic backgrounds to help those most in need; and to
establish a permanent five-day a week feeding program at the Ocean
School in Eastern Far Rockaway.
$50,000 to New York
Legal Assistance Group, 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, and
training lawyers unfamiliar with this kind of work to help their
$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 snowstorm that occurred the following week and deployed
their entire staff to manage volunteers, assist inpiduals and
organizations with clean up and preparation for rebuilding.
$25,000 to Broad Channel Athletic Club, a community
center which existed before the storm that provided extracurricular
activities such as a teen club after school and in the summer, sports
leagues, and other services to the Broad Channel, Neponsit, and
Rockaway communities. Our grant supports the rebuilding of the
community center which was damaged during Hurricane Sandy.
$25,000 to Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group
(LTRG), which serves Ocean County, NJ, where Sandy had massive and
widespread impact; they will be coordinating necessary services and
resources (including donated labor/materials) to address client needs
- physical, social, economic and spiritual - and will work together to
advocate with community partners through the LTRG to overcome barriers
which might otherwise inhibit recovery.
$25,000 to Monmouth County LTRG, which serves Monmouth
County, NJ, where more than 1,500 families and individuals remain
displaced and another 1,000 inhabit homes unfit for living due to a
lack of heat, hot water, or a growth of mold on the premises. Like the
Ocean County Long Term Recovery Group, Monmouth County will coordinate
services and resources to help address the long-term needs of
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 in Neponsit,
NY, 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.
Reform congregations all over North America are doing their part to help
Replacement Project: Twenty families whose homes or
belongings were swept away in Hurricane Sandy have some comfort coming
their way, thanks to a partnership with Woodlands Community Temple (White Plains, NY),
the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) and the URJ.
Shortly after the Hurricane, URJ congregations in Hurricane Sandy
affected areas assessed which of their families had lost significant
possessions and Woodlands was asked to coordinate a project to replace
Jewish ritual objects to these families, such as Kiddush cups, Shabbat
candlesticks, menorahs and Jewish books for the home. The Judaica
Replacement Project at Woodlands is modeled after a program run by WRJ to
assist families after Hurricane Katrina. WRJ put out an appeal across the
country to their Sisterhoods and member Judaica Shops to donate ritual
items. With incredible generosity, temples across America and Canada sent
items to Woodlands to help families rebuild their Jewish world.
Through a grant from the URJ Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund, books and
CDs are being purchased to include in the packages.