How to Help Communities Affected by the California Wildfires

Inside Leadership

How to Help Communities Affected by the California Wildfires

Silhouette of firefighters facing a blaze

The recent California wildfires have reportedly claimed at least 50 lives, 48 of them in the massive blaze known as the Camp Fire – the deadliest and most destructive fire in the state’s history. The URJ has been and continues to be in touch with our congregations in affected areas, and we stand ready to provide whatever support we can.

As additional details become clear about how our community can best aid our California congregations, we will share that information here.

At this time, we know that Temple Adat Elohim in Thousand Oaks, CA, has been affected by the fires, as has Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, CA. Rabbi Paul Kipnes, spiritual leader of Congregation Or Ami, writes,

With the sage advice from colleagues who went through the Santa Rosa fires, Houston floods and Parkland shootings, we are organizing and supporting our communities.

As for how to help, we have realized we cannot be distributors of things, as there are others that can do that better, and unless done right, one ends up with an overload of too much stuff. we’ve discovered that we can help people best as follows…”

Want to help? Here are the best ways to support these affected communities:

1. Support Congregation Or Ami directly.

Congregation Or Ami’s Fire Response Fund, which is already helping those worst hit by the fires. Visit

2. Send gift cards to those in need.

The congregations will distribute donations to those with the greatest need.

Congregation Or Ami has requested gift cards to Target, Home Depot, Ralph’s Grocery, and Trader Joe’s. They can be sent to:

Congregation Or Ami
26115 Mureau Rd, Ste. B
Calabasas, CA 91302

Temple Adat Elohim has requested gift cards to Target, Walmart, Vons, Ralph’s Grocery, Whole Foods, Shell, Chevron, and ArcoUnion. They can be sent to:

Temple Adat Elohim
2420 E. Hillcrest Dr.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

3. Donate to the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

The Jewish Federations of North America has created a directed fund to support individuals and institutions impacted by the fires. One hundred percent of the donations will go directly to those who need it. To donate, visit

Our prayers go out to all those who have been impacted by these devastating fires.

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Kate Bigam Kaput is the assistant director of messaging and branding for the Union for Reform Judaism and, in this role, serves as a content manager and editor for A prolific essayist and lifestyle blogger, Kate's writing has been featured in The Washington PostEsquire, Woman's Day, Cleveland Magazine,, Jewish Women Archive, and more. Kate, who grew up at Temple Beth Shalom in Hudson, OH, holds a degree in magazine journalism and lives in Cleveland, OH, with her husband.

Kate Bigam Kaput

Published: 11/14/2018

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