As simultaneous natural disasters continue to impact different regional areas of North America, the URJ has been reaching out to the local leadership of Reform-affiliated congregations for their reports and updates.
Following Hurricane Laura, it’s clear that communities throughout Louisiana and Texas have suffered significant damage, and their needs for assistance will continue for some time. We know that our two congregations in the direct path of Laura have suffered damage, as have their congregants. We are in touch with them.
Thus far, wildfire season has led to some necessary evacuations, damage, and dangerous air quality in parts of California. The anticipation is that the 2020 fire season could continue for months to come. From what we know, all of our synagogue structures in Northern California are fine. Many congregants have been evacuated from home. A handful have lost their homes.
All this becomes even more complex at a time when communities are managing through the pandemic and preparing for the High Holidays – but there are some ways you can help right now.
How You Can Help
We are in close contact with our partners in this work, and we encourage anyone who is able to make a donation to support relief work to do so through the following:
- NECHAMA: A Jewish Response to Disaster has established a fund for hurricane-affected areas.
- JFCS Wildfire and Emergency Fund from Jewish Family and Children’s Services provides financial, practical, and emotional support to those who need it.
- The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region has launched an Emergency Fire Relief Fund to assist the victims, with 100% of the funds donated going directly to help those in need.
While we've been asked, “What about donations of food or clothing?” the best advice from those directly involved in working with the flood victims is that donations to relief organizations are preferable, as it is difficult and inefficient to match up victims’ needs with specific donations. Instead, these agencies are asking for direct financial support.
As needs become clearer, we will continue to share updated resources and opportunities to help. For ongoing updates, please follow the URJ on Facebook and Twitter and consult the Disaster Response group in The Tent. To communicate with the URJ about any local needs or specific response questions, please email DisasterResponse@urj.org.
We pray for the safety of everyone impacted, now and in the future.